Loving yourself should be so easy to do, but for some reason, it’s one of the hardest tasks we have in our lives. Now we could go on and on as to why it is so hard to love yourself in a society that idolizes individuals that alter their natural appearances, but I want to dive more into why it is so important to show yourself some love.

As a senior in college, I’ve been through all types of situations. In high school, I placed my value in my athletic ability and my grades. When I graduated, I chose to go to Indiana University (Go Hoosiers!) where I joined the Women’s Rowing team.

But guess what. I was awful at it. I had previously played basketball, soccer, and volleyball, all of which I loved and was quite talented at, but rowing? That was a whole different story.

I also was struggling with my studies. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Kelley School of Business, it is consistently ranked in the top 10 business schools and the curriculum definitely reflects that. I was doing okay, but not great. Because I used to place my value in athletics and academics, and I was struggling with both, I felt worthless.

I didn’t start to learn to love myself until I transferred to Tennessee Tech. I was in a new place with all new people, and I wanted a new me. So I started doing things I loved, like becoming a student assistant football coach.

I was having fun and I was making friends, but most importantly, I prioritized according to what needed to be done and what made me the happiest. Learning to prioritize my time in this way created room for me to find what made me the happiest and make sure I was doing it.

Halfway through my first year, I met my boyfriend. A lot of people would struggle to add someone into their life while they’re trying to focus on themselves, but this was actually seamless for us. He was also in a phase of his life where he was trying to love himself, so we were in a place to understand each other’s goals.

Even now, we take time to ourselves to do what we need to do. His favorite fun thing to do is play 2K, I like to watch Law & Order. It sounds so silly, but those are our methods to de-stress, and we allow each other to have that time. It is a key to the success of our relationship and a major key to our individual happiness.

The takeaway here is not to find your self-worth in a significant other. The key is to love yourself and find your own self-worth internally, and when you do find your significant other, it will make for a much happier and more peaceful relationship.

Learn what makes you happy and do that! Don’t find your value in things like school and sports, but find it in your own abilities. Then find what helps you unwind. (Yes, Law & Order is a super weird way to unwind, but that’s my method.) Become your own best friend, love yourself, and you will find happiness, I promise.