Putting myself first
Exploring what self-love means to students
“To me, self-love is a mix of being very accepting of myself, while also being forgiving,” senior Krupa Shanware said. “I think more than anything, [it’s] about not judging yourself for who you are.”
Shanware believes that earlier in high school, her understanding of what self-love meant to her was misconstrued, as she thought of it as just looking good to seem more confident on the outside. However, her understanding of self-love eventually evolved.
Forced to spend more time by herself during quarantine, Shanware says she was able to be more aware of her subconscious thoughts about herself. Once she realized she was being her own worst critic, she started working to reverse that mindset.
“So far, my journey has been [about] finding peace within myself and knowing who I am,” Shanware said. “For me, it’s [about having] 100% acceptance and loving myself in every stage of my life, regardless of if it’s when I’m anxious, sad or when I’m [feeling] on top of the world.”
Social media was previously a root cause of Shanware’s negative self-talk, but she says that with her new mindset, she’s realized that social media often depicts a glamourized version of life and that her social media statistics don’t determine her self-worth.
“With social media, you’re constantly thinking about likes, comments [and] all [of] those numbers,” Shanware said. “It’s really difficult to not let that impact how you see yourself or how you view yourself among other people. So another thing that I’ve been trying to unlearn is [to not] look at the number of likes on your post or compare other [peoples’] bodies to your own because none of those things should impact the way I see myself.”
For sophomore Lotus Wu, being on social media has been a similar negative experience. Wu says that as she dove deeper into using social media, she too fell down the loophole of comparing herself to others.
“I try to remind myself that everyone is different in their own ways and that social media [can be] really fake at times,” Wu said.
However, with the recent popularity of short-form content where creators are more raw and authentic with their lives, Wu believes that social media has been starting to encourage more self-love.
“Now, a lot of influencers show their true selves instead of the edited or photoshopped versions of themselves,” Wu said. “I think [social media’s] improving slowly and a lot of people are coming out of that comfort zone and trying to show their original selves, which has been helping everyone be more confident with themself.”
Alongside viewing more positive content on social media platforms, Wu practices self-love in various ways. She enjoys listening to music, writing things down in a journal or simply talking to one of her friends, which she says is one of the most effective forms of self-love.
“Talking about your thoughts to a friend is a really important form of self-love, because not only can you express yourself to other people, but you can also have their advice,” Wu said.
Practicing self-love varies from person to person, and sophomore Joshua Ang believes that his main form of self-love is through playing soccer. Ang believes that playing soccer has provided him with a sense of security, as he knows that no matter what, he can always turn to the sport to distract him from anything else going on in his life. Ang says that as he started to take soccer more seriously, he could see how that impacted other aspects of his life.
“As I started to play soccer competitively, I gained more confidence in my skills [and] my confidence outside of the game also increased,” Ang said. “Soccer has shown me that I am capable of excelling at something, and that’s really helped me have more self-love.”
While soccer has always been in Ang’s life, practicing self-love has been something new for junior Pranay Gangaram. Similar to Shanware, he believes that his previous understanding of what self-love meant to him was inaccurate. Instead of viewing it as an appreciation of oneself, he used it as an excuse to be self-centered.
“When I was younger I cared about myself a lot more, but as I grew up, my parents have taught me the difference between loving myself and being selfish,” Gangaram said.
Now, Gangaram views self-love as a positive way of thinking. As his mindset has changed, he believes his relationships with others, as well as with himself, have significantly improved.
“Self-love to me [now] is taking care of yourself and making sure that you put yourself in front of others, while not being selfish,” Gangaram said. “It’s more of self-care, and also not focusing too much on the bad parts of yourself because even if you mess up once, you don’t need to fixate on that.”