"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” — Buddha

Self-love is a concept that I believe has grown in popularity over time, especially in this last year. It is probably one of the most challenging concepts to grasp as well because people are so critical of themselves that they forget that loving who they are is OK and it is much needed. I personally believe that in order to be loved by someone else, you have to first learn to love and accept yourself and all your flaws, hence the term "self-love."

Most people try to fill this void by searching for love and attention from others, which is the worst way to do it, but we have all been there. I know I have and it is so easy to get sucked back into that place, but you have to constantly remind yourself that you cannot search for love in other things or people. I recently saw a post by someone that read "Self-love, self-respect, and self-worth. There is a reason why they all start with self, you cannot find them in anyone else" and it really struck a nerve with me because of how accurate it is. We seek all of these things, but forget that we have to look at ourselves for the answers, not others.

Now, self-love looks different for every individual. For some people, it could mean going to the gym every day. For others, it could mean letting go of toxic people in your life. The end result is the same, however, which is doing things to make YOURSELF unbelievably happy and not anyone else.

You could even make the attempt to talk about yourself in a positive light and be more conscious of the way you speak about and to others. The way you love yourself should be no different than the love and attention you give to others in your life.

Once you start to develop self-love, the less you will turn to others for instant gratification. The only love and acceptance you truly need are from yourself because that's all that matters at the end of the day. Whether or not other people do shouldn't matter. As the lovely Buddha once said, you deserve your own love and affection just as much as anyone else, so don't ever feel guilty about doing so.

Of course, there are going to be some days where you may find it difficult to love yourself. We all have our fair share of ups and downs, but that's OK. You aren't perfect and no one is, but you can forgive yourself and simply focus on the little things. You have the ultimate power to do whatever you want with the one life you were given and can change it at any minute. So, remember to cut yourself some slack once in a while and embrace the person you are and the person you will be as you continue to grow every single day.