There comes a time in life when you realize that in order for others to love you, you have to learn how to love yourself first.

I used to rely on the love of others to get me through a day. I’m not going to lie, I really enjoyed attention, and to some extent, I still do… but, I’m only human. I used to attach myself to anyone who showed me attention. Whether it was a family member, a friend, or in the worst case, a guy. But somewhere along the way I realized that in order for these people to really love who I am I need to first, love myself.

My whole life I have put the wants and expectations of others before my own. I have changed my hair to be what I thought someone else would like. I socialized with people that I thought would make me look “cool”. I challenged myself but, not with the intention of bettering myself, but for one-upping the person doing the same thing.

This one time, I fell for a guy who had his mind made up from the beginning. He didn’t want me. He wanted the idea of me. He wanted the late nights with me. He wanted everything I was good for but not the good in me. I used to assume that the only way to be loved was to surrender to his terms. I am a beautiful girl with dreams and aspirations. I am a human being. I learned to love myself.. and now, I don’t rely on his infatuation to assure myself that I am cared for.

Then, there was another time, when I was 16, I hung out with a group of girls because I thought they were "cool." I was doing things a 16 year old should not have been doing. I was finding myself in situations that a 16 year old should not be in but let me get something straight... I do not blame anyone but my myself for these wrong doings. I put the pressure on myself to be someone I wasn't. I made myself believe that if I changed to fit in, that I would be just as cool.

Nevertheless, in all of this, I have learned to love who I am. I have learned to love the freckles that cover every inch of my face. I have learned to love my size 10 body. I have learned to look in the mirror every morning and tell myself that I am beautiful.

And now that I know how to love myself, I have no problem telling someone how they should love me. I have no problem explaining to someone that I deserve respect. I know what I deserve and it’s not to be cheated on or lied to. I don’t deserve to be ridiculed for being who I am. I love myself, and I'm ready to accept nothing less than true love from others.