You are a special type of person. You’re able to put your needs and wants behind others’. Constantly, you are making sacrifices for the people around you. If you have a seven-page paper due in a few days but a friend needs you? Forget about the paper, you’re there for your friend. Feeling sick and can hardly get out bed but your friend needs help with a project? You’ll be there for them. No matter how big or small the need is, you’re there for your friends and family at all times.

Many times, it can feel like your hard work, sacrifices, and selflessness go unrecognized. You’re constantly doing things for others—do they say thank you or return the favor? Oftentimes even if they don’t, you don’t mind. You just want the people in your life to be happy. But your happiness is important, too.

You deserve the world.

You deserve to receive the same love you put out into the world. Not everyone is going to understand how to show love to you. Many people seem to focus solely on themselves; they don’t always understand how to make a sacrifice for another person. So if others aren’t able to show you love yet, you need to love yourself. Put yourself first once in a while. It’s hard to do that. It might seem selfish, but I promise that it isn’t. Take yourself out for coffee or ice cream. Treat yourself. Take a walk alone and listen to your favorite music. Go out to see a movie by yourself. Write in a journal. Sleep. It’s okay not to be there for your friends every moment of every day. If you don’t take care of yourself and love yourself, it’ll be harder to show love to others.

I’ve recently come to realize that I attach myself to people who don’t express their feelings or show the love that they have for the people in their lives. I think that people who tend to put others first also tend to gravitate towards people like this. We have so much love to give, so we show it most to the people who don’t show it themselves as a form of compensation. While this seems like a good system, it’s flawed. It causes heartache. It constantly feels like nobody loves me as much as I love them, which may be the case, but nonetheless, is a terrible feeling.

That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to love yourself, to save yourself from the heartache.

But how do you learn to love yourself when you’ve put all of your energy into loving others?

It’s different for everyone. I’m in the process of learning to love myself and it’s hard. I’ve tried writing down things that I love about myself, spending time alone, and spending time looking in the mirror to love the way I look. I take walks by myself to my favorite spot in Boston and write music. I’ve started doing things to make myself happy rather than making others happy and it has transformed my self-worth. I feel valuable and important. I feel loved, not necessarily by others, but by myself—and that’s one of the best feelings in the world.

Treat yourself, tell yourself you’re beautiful, and do things that make you happy. You deserve it. You deserve happiness, peace, and love. You matter. You are enough. I hope you learn to love yourself as much as you love others because you deserve it.