What have you done for yourself today? Some of you may be confused by this question, and think that it is promoting selfish behavior. But the truth is it is very important to take time to do things that help you love and accept yourself. I am not talking about loving yourself to the point of narcissism—that is a completely different thing. However, many people—some even on this campus—have little knowledge of what it means to love and accept oneself.

If there is one thing college has taught each and every one of us, it is this: you cannot make other people happy until you make yourself happy. Making yourself happy includes learning to love yourself—your flaws, your talents, and everything in between. It is impossible to be good at everything, however, it is possible to beat yourself up over things that are out of your control. On a campus with so many talented and driven students, it is easy to get into the mentality of comparing your weaknesses to others strengths. But you, yes you, have something that you are going to give to this world.

You will find that once you learn to love who you are, the people you love will be happier too. You are as important as anyone else; your thoughts and feelings are valid. For some, this may be difficult to grasp because of how you grew up or other factors. You may have grown up placing others’ priorities above your own—thinking their happiness is more important than yours—but, this is not the case at all. If you want to be happy, you have to love yourself before you can make anyone else happy. This is something that takes a long time to realize; it took me a long time to climb over this barrier myself.

Here are some things to remember:

  1. Take care of yourself. You need to make sure that you treat yourself the way you would treat those around you, meaning if you don’t feel right doing something—don’t do it! Yeah, you may disappoint someone, but it is their choice to feel that way. If they care enough about you, they’ll understand.
  2. Consider what you need. People do not need to get all of you, all the time! It is okay to say no, so you can go to the gym, finish your work, take a nap, etc. Take care of your needs first. You are only helpful to people when you are on top of your game. This is not selfish.
  3. Accept yourself. There are many good things about you, but you also have flaws. Accept your flaws, try to improve them. For instance, one of my flaws: I stress out and can be moody. My solution: I know that I am like this, when I am stressing/feeling moody I take time to myself. Even with your flaws, you have many, many good things going for you. After all, you did get into a good school. You must have something good going on.

So now that you know more about learning to love yourself, the question still remains: what have you done for yourself today?

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