Self-love is a concept that is often desired, but rarely explained to us what it means. Many people believe self-love is buying yourself a new outfit or counting the likes you get from posting your Instagram picture.

I’m here to tell you that momentary happiness is not self-love, and sadly that is what most of us strive to have in our lives. In society today, we often settle for instant gratification instead of looking deep within ourselves to find out what truly makes us happy. To fully accomplish self-love, we need to ask ourselves who we were, who we are, and who we want to become, and acknowledge that we still have so many experiences to learn and grow from.

A form of self-love can be seen in the people you carry around you. The friends in your life are the greatest reflection of you, which makes it pertinent to surround yourself with loving, genuine people. Taking someone out of your life because they don’t serve a concrete purpose isn’t wrong or selfish. There are going to be people you encounter in this world with the desire to break you, and only you can decide whether or not you are going to allow them.

They’ll be the individuals who only smile in the face of your failure, frown during your successes, and take far more than they could ever give. Keep an eye out for these people; they will drain your positivity for themselves, in the hopes that you turn out as less than what you are capable of being.

Beautiful souls are essential; even on the coldest of days, warmth can be found in the people around you. The ones who constantly motivate you to be your best self will be the people that further you down your journey of self-love. To fully endure happiness, surround yourself with a positive atmosphere and radiant souls who constantly build you up. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep these diamonds in your life when the world is full of rocks.

By acknowledging who we were, who we are, and who we want to be, we can successfully determine who we want to surround ourselves with in our daily lives. Toxic people are those we must let go, and they may be a reflection of who we were, which is completely okay. The people we surround ourselves with now show us a reflection of who we are, and how we are moving forward. It’s important to look for rare souls who further us down the path of bettering ourselves to express who we want to be.

Next time you think about self-love as an Instagram post or a new outfit, I challenge you to ask yourself this important question: “Is this momentary happiness, or am I setting myself up for a greater future?” This question will help you determine what truly makes you happy, and no one deserves the fullness of self-love more than you.