How I Learned To Love Myself More

This Summer Taught Me How To Love Myself A Little More

There's still a lot of work to do in that department, but I couldn't be happier.

Angelica Santiago

I went through a lot this summer. June was a wild ride, and July was an introspective storm.

I had my first experience of work, I got to teach teachers for the very first time about biotechnology. It's interesting to talk to them in a different setting; I feel I understand their motivations and what drives them to do what they do. It made me think a lot about what I want to do and why I want to do it. Then, I went on my first college tour to Princeton, and it helped me put my goals into perspective, look at them in reality. Is that where I want to be? What do I need to do to get there? Is the work I'm going to do beneficial no matter where I end up?

I think so. As soon as I went and I experienced the shock of actually being there, I felt bad because I felt that I was not doing enough. It's hard for me to say what actually qualifies as enough, so I didn't want to think about it. All I wanted to do was work. Focus on Precalculus and studying for standardized tests. I shut myself off from my friends and kept social media contact as limited as possible.

I mean what else is there to do when you're home alone? I did take time off before any of you think I'm an inhuman robot who overworks herself. That time off I spent playing some of the video games I played when I was younger, I spent it reflecting on myself and on my experiences. Sure, I found a lot of bad things in my backlog of memories, but I've come to terms with them.

When I think about mistakes I committed in the past, it's hard to blame anyone but myself. I found that the person I ended up hurting the most was myself by not being true to who I was, not standing my own ground. That hurts me a lot, but it's true. The only way for me to get over that guilt was to accept it and to promise myself that I'd do my best to be myself, for real this time.

Being alone helped me face myself, it helped me see nothing but myself and who I was. Sure, there might be healthier ways to do that, but I feel a lot more relaxed than I have been in two years, and well—that's pretty priceless. There are things I want to do, and my ambition needs support (in reality) so I cannot simply settle for wishes, I must act.

I think that I've learned to love myself a little more. Much like any other part of my life, it still needs work, but my self-esteem is in a much better place than it has been in a while. I don't want to be arrogant, but if I want to do what I want to do, it requires some sort of confidence, some sort of strength. I want to accept my weaknesses and make my strengths better. It is what I want to do more than anything itself.

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