When you're young, you are taught by your parents to say, "I love you" to those who are close to you and their response back is, "I love you too." No one teaches you to say "I love me" to yourself, right?

Years go by and you become a teenage girl. You experience your first girl drama in middle school. You experience your first crush. You experience your first school dance. You experience your first break-up.

When you are laying in bed at night, you may think to yourself, "What is love?"

I know there were some nights I wondered what relationships with boys in the future would be like. I wondered what friends would stay and leave. I wondered what college I was going to attend. The thoughts were endless!

As high school years went by, I learned the most important, valuable lesson.

Despite ALL the what-ifs and endless thoughts, there was one thing that was certain. You need to love yourself first.

This world is filled with both kindness and hate. But, as strong women, we need to love ourselves first.

Friends come and go. Guys come and go. Experiences come and go. But your own self does not come and go.

When you lie in bed every single night, you realize the only person you really have forever is YOU.

So why not love yourself?

I am not going to lie. Everything is a learning process. Some people learn from experience. Some people learn through time. Either way, I want to spread awareness to young girls, teenagers, and adults to love yourself first. It is not as easy said, as done.

Personally, I realized everything when I started looking in the mirror and seeing a frown on my face.

Why was I frowning? I should not be frowning. I am doing great.

It is not always about what you are doing, it is about how you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror.

If you love yourself, when you look in the mirror you will smile.

To love yourself does not mean you have to love every single thing about yourself. It does not mean that you need to push others away. But, it does mean that you should love yourself enough to the point where you are living for you. No matter what crosses your path, you are still alive and ready for the opportunities YOU have in front of you.

To all the girls and women out there, please love yourself first.