No, I don't want to do that.

Yes, I'm going to try this instead.

I'm going to learn how to _____.

I'm making these changes in my life to make myself a better person.

Because I want to.

Because I deserve better than this.

In the last few days, I've decided to make a radical decision. After 20 years of self-sabotaging, self-sacrificing, and overall making other people happy at my own expense, I've decided it's finally time to learn how to love myself.

This decision came out of the blue the other day and, while it'd probably be better to implement these changes one at a time, I've decided to dive into the deep end and start loving myself at every step along the way.

Yesterday this meant buying fruit, going to the gym, and letting myself fall asleep when I was tired.

Today it involved waking up early so I'd have extra time in the morning and wouldn't be rushing to class, eating breakfast, and letting myself watch a show in the afternoon when I had an hour-long break between class and work.

Some days it means letting go of a toxic relationship, reaching out to a friend I haven't talked to in a while, or letting myself eat my favorite comfort food.

Other days it involves going to the farmers' market, depositing money in my savings account, or calling my grandparents.

And every day, regardless of what the action is, the intention is always the same.

I'm doing this because I deserve it.

I'm doing this because I know I can be better.

I'm doing this because it's an investment in my future self, my health, and my happiness.

I'm doing this because I love myself.

And even on the days when I don't believe these words, they matter. Even on the days when I don't feel particularly loving towards myself; when my stomach sticks out too much or my hair won't lay the way I want it to, when it's hard to drag myself out of bed and all I'm craving is a slice of pizza and a nap, I remind myself that I'm loved and worthy of love.

I remind myself that I'm all I have, that my relationship with myself is the longest and the most important one I'll ever have, that telling other women to love themselves while I sit over here practicing self-loathing is hypocritical and unfair.

And on different days, "I love me" sounds different too. Some days it sounds like "I'm beautiful" and other days it sounds like "I can do this" and other days it sounds like "I'm proud of myself" and other days it sounds like "I deserve to be happy."

And at the end of the day, they all mean the same thing.

They mean that I'm done settling for less than I deserve. I'm done filling in the gaps with things and people that don't help me become the person I'm trying to be. I'm done chipping away pieces of myself and giving them away freely, expecting and receiving nothing in return. I'm done floating through life passively waiting for things to happen to me. It's time for me to take charge and to create the change I want to experience in my life.

It hasn't been easy. In fact, choosing radical self-love is the hardest thing I've ever done. But embarking on this journey has been the most worthwhile decision I've ever made. And there's no one I'd rather be experiencing it with than me.