Love yourself Warriors!

By Siana Ramos, Reporter

High school is a very chaotic, stressful, and confusing time for a lot of people. We are all feeling and experiencing new things, discovering different sides of ourselves, finding out what we like and what we don’t, and it can be extremely overwhelming. It’s very easy, especially at this point in our lives, to feel unworthy, unimportant, alone, or just not good enough. Our Cleveland Warriors are all such powerful, creative, smart, capable, lovable, and strong human beings and I think we all need to be reminded of that. And we all deserve to walk around our beautiful halls being totally and completely in love with ourselves. So, my fellow Warriors, I ask you to please, give yourself permission to love yourself.

I asked some of our Warriors why they think self love is important and this is what they said:

“I think self love is so important for everyone to have, especially at this age, because it’s essentially the foundation for your future relationships. If you love who you are, you are able to put out your true self, which then allows for people who really appreciate who you are to come into your life,” said senior Lily Carlson.

“Why do I think self love is so important? Well, I think it sets the tone for any relationship you may have with other people,” said junior Natalie Meekins. “How can you be expected to love someone else when you don’t love yourself? We doubt ourselves and think negatively so often, but we don’t realize how much of a toll it takes on our own bodies. You wouldn’t speak that way to your best friends, so why do it to yourself?”

“Every moment of our lives and every interaction we have with other people is about how we feel about ourselves first. We can’t be happy, we can’t be fulfilled, until we respect ourselves,” said health and T.O.K. teacher Gaye Chapman. “If we don’t respect ourselves, we don’t respect other people. If there’s self love then you have love to give.”

Loving yourself is one of the most powerful things you can do. We are all already so incredible and when we can look at ourselves like that and see how amazing we are, we can open ourselves up to even more incredible possibilities. However, self love is an extremely personal and difficult journey. It usually starts with understanding that you are important. Your happiness, thoughts, feelings, and life matter. What happens to you matters. You are worth it, and you deserve love, support, safety and happiness.

One of the biggest things falling in love with myself has help me overcome is worrying about whether or not I’m good enough. A very common feeling amongst people, especially people our age, is the feeling that you are not good enough. We tend to get really down on ourselves when someone doesn’t like something about us, especially if that someone is someone we love. We think we need to change ourselves so that we will be good enough for them. I was in a really dysfunctional friendship for a while and I worried way too much about what my friend thought of me. It was very hard for me to stay in touch with my authentic self and to do things I liked because I wanted to only be what my friend liked. I worried more about my friend loving me more than myself loving me. Now, after beginning the journey of self love and letting go of that relationship, I am free. I don’t worry about what anyone’s going to think of me because I accept myself. A huge part of falling in love with yourself can be understanding that you do not have to be “good enough” for anyone. You are already good enough. Maya Angelou once said, “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” This quote helps me a lot on my own journey of self love because it’s such a powerful thing to remind myself. I do not have anything to prove to anyone. I am enough.

If someone has a negative opinion about you or doesn’t accept you, it is because of their own limiting thoughts and insecurities. It has nothing to do with you, so you don’t need to keep internalizing other people’s issues. They just don’t know how to handle your power. Says Author and transgender rights activist Janet Mock, “Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power—not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist.”

Loving yourself can mean understanding that you are allowed to accept yourself even if someone else doesn’t. You are allowed to be you in the realest, truest, and most authentic way and you are allowed to cut anyone off who tries to keep you from doing so.

It’s important to remember that you deserve the same love and care you would give to your best friend because you are your best friend. You deserve the same kindness and compassion you would give to anyone else if they needed it. A quote from Buddha goes as follows, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

The way you feel about yourself is a huge part of the relationships you have with other people; it’s very hard to have a healthy relationship with someone else if you do not have one with yourself.

When you are in a close relationship with someone, romantic or not, it’s very easy to become dependent on them if you do not love yourself. You start to depend on them to make you feel worthy, beautiful, happy, and whatever else. That is so dangerous because you can’t put your life in someone else’s hands like that. You can’t base how you feel about yourself off what someone else thinks. Your worth is not defined by anyone else. But it feels like it is when you love someone so much more than you love yourself. The most important love you will ever have is the love you have for yourself

Even though falling in love with yourself is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself, it is also one of the hardest. This is because it usually means having to face yourself, be honest with yourself, make big decisions, feel and let go of a lot of pain, and so much more. For me, it meant having to let go of toxic people, toxic ways of thinking, dealing with triggers, feeling a lot of different intense emotions and putting myself first. And it doesn’t all happen at once. Loving yourself takes a lot of time and energy and even when you get to that place where you can feel the love you have for yourself, it isn’t over. It is a lifelong journey. You are always growing, changing, and learning. Loving yourself doesn’t mean never feeling bad. Your feelings about yourself will fluctuate throughout your life but loving yourself is a huge part of being able to experience those ups and downs while still taking care of yourself and being kind to yourself.

Self love can feel different and be shown in different ways but for me, I knew I was on the right track when I realized how much more free I am than I used to be. Even just being able to make new friends on my own was a huge sign of freedom and self love for me because that was something I didn’t used to feel confident doing. It always shocks me. It fills me up with love and warmth at random times like when I’m walking in the halls, riding in the car with my friends, or standing in my kitchen, I can feel how much more comfortable I am within myself. I love who I am, I am proud of who I am, and I accept who I am.

Loving yourself means a lot of different things for a lot of different people and the journey of self love is unique to everyone. But no matter who you are, you have deep, strong, power within you. You are filled with love and strength and you are capable of doing anything and everything you want to do. Falling in love with yourself is a huge part of connecting to that power and putting it into everything you do, creating a life of pure crund and passion.

Loving yourself is truly a difficult thing but if you are reading this please know that you can do it. You deserve to be completely and totally in love with who you are. You deserve good things, you are important, and you are worth it. You have the right to take up space and you have the right to live a free and authentic life. You are allowed to love yourself. It takes a lot of work but I promise you are worth it. Gwen Frost, a class of 2015 Cleveland graduate once wrote, “At the end of the day all you’ve got is you, so it wouldn’t hurt to fall in love with the person you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.”