Self-love is a topic that I, and many women around me, have struggled with their whole life. With the expectation’s society puts on us to uphold an image of graciousness, beauty, and poise; it is easy to lose yourself in the process of conformity. There was a time in my life where I was a shell of a person. I was so focused on making others happy and impressing those around me that I had no sense of self-worth, identity, and especially love. Throughout the years; I have been working tirelessly to love myself in every way shape and form. To begin with that process, I started by removing myself from unhealthy influences. This included my emotionally abusive relationship, unfollowing “fit” accounts that promoted extreme dieting and weight loss, and eventually unfollowing anyone who wasn’t 100% themselves. Whether this involved editing pictures with photoshop or posting about beliefs they didn’t actually live through. At first it was going well. I was feeling better about my body and began to eat on a regular basis. The one factor I hadn’t considered however, was the influences in my physical life. Living in a beach town where there are hundreds and thousands of girls with tiny waists and dreamy bodies, I quickly fell back into the cycle of comparing myself to girls around me. I would be selective of the pictures I posted over the summer in fear someone would think I was fat because I had a little extra meat on my love handles, I would wear high waisted pants or shorts to give the illusion that I was skinnier than I actually was. This cycle went on for about a year until I reached a breaking point. I realized I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing to my body. It was affecting every aspect of my life. I wasn’t eating so that made me irritable towards friends and family, I lost muscle mass making me a weaker athlete, and I lost any sort of true happiness in myself and resorted to other sources of “happiness” to try and fill the void. It took time, but I was able to start eating more. It took time, but I was able to wear what I wanted. It took time, but I was able to go to the beach and rock my bikini with confidence. This all began by setting forth my mantra of self-love. Every morning, I would look in the mirror and out loud (Yes! Out loud!) would say “I am not perfect, but I am me. I am beautiful, I am strong, I am capable, and I can do this.” I have said this to myself every morning for the past three years. This change has improved my mental health tenfold. I became a happier person, and I chose to laugh and smile more than cry and frown. I became a more compassionate person, helping my friends see their worth and how they can move on. Self-love is something that cannot be achieved over night. But you are capable, you are beautiful, you are strong, and you can get there.