Learn To Love Myself Happy
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Health and Wellness

I Spent The Entire Summer Regaining Self-Love, And My Whole Life Changed

After nine months of focusing on studies, friends and extracurriculars, I finally had some time to learn what it means to truly embrace myself as a person.

Shreya Ravichandran
Personal Photo

Sophomore year of high school wasn't easy at all.

I don't think I'd ever been blatantly told by someone that the real high school struggles begin in sophomore year, so when I finished ninth grade perfectly in-tact and even refreshed from the year, I thought I was unstoppable. Unfortunately, the following school year severely begged to differ.

Nevertheless, I stood strong, fastening my two feet to the ground as harshly as I could, and I looked my worries in the eye and defeated them. Safe to say, this wasn't easy.

You see, things like this are easy to paint pictures of, with vivid descriptions of a dragon-like monster of shadows made up of every hardship, test and emotional plight you'd had to face head-on, and it's even easier to portray yourself as the brave heroine who wouldn't let anything keep her from reaching victory in the end. In actuality, this past year took a toll on my self-confidence and outlook on the future.

I remember waking up each morning a sliver more tired than the previous day, and I increasingly became less and less conscious of what I was wearing to go to school. My trademark outfit was a comfortably-oversized sweatshirt and pair of jeans that I rocked with an attitude seeming to pay no attention to how out-of-context my outfit looked in the midst of the summer heat already beginning to approach in April. It wasn't that I was so confident in myself that I didn't care how I looked as long as I felt good. It was that I didn't want to dedicate too much time to focus on my outer image that I spent all my time worrying about the next assignment I'd be given and told to navigate.

I didn't feel good about myself at one point — not to an extreme, but I had simply felt like I'd lost touch of myself and didn't know where to start to get back that well-rounded Shreya I'd always been.

So as soon as summer break made its way into my life this year, I decided with every fiber in my body that I would use it to my advantage. Summers are known for fleeting romances and whimsical tales of love, and mine was about learning to love myself.

I spent more time outside rather than cooped inside with a book or a phone in front of my face, and the new swing in the backyard had become my safe haven. It still is. Painting and drawing made their ways back into my life, and though I'd lost a bit of my touch due to lack of practice, I could still feel that satisfaction accompanying a finished sketch or quick painting.

Social media was also a huge place where I changed my image, going from the girl who'd spend all day liking posts that I only paid attention to for a few seconds to becoming the girl who posted images that sparked conversation. I knew how much I loved conversation, so seeing people from all of my friend groups interact with each other — though never having met in person — made my day and encouraged me to keep bringing more opportunities for people to talk.

I could already feel myself becoming so much more in touch with myself through simply changing two aspects of my life that had nothing to do with the stereotypical "exercise two hours a day and eat whatever you want" routine that I already had so many concerns about seeing floating around social media.

I began making small, fun plans for the future, like growing out my hair a little longer than I'd been accustomed with for the past six years. Before then, my hair had grown down to my thighs, and it brought me immense joy to chop of inches and inches of hair that brought me to a shoulder length. I remember exclaiming in that salon to my aunt and mother all those years ago about how I looked like a princess, the widest grin on my face.

And I wanted to rekindle that mere happiness of that day, even if the details are a little fuzzy to me now. Just watching my hair grow and shape itself sounds fun, and now that it's already grown so much in the past two months, I'm starting to see a new side to myself that I haven't seen in a while.

So maybe I just needed to take a moment in the school year to realize that I had taken out a crucial part of my emotions to become more efficient and even turn into a working machine, but that's the price I had to pay to come to terms with a brand new Shreya built from the unfinished foundations of happiness I'd begun to construct years ago.

Even if its taken oversized college sweatshirts and late-night Chemistry study calls, I know I've found myself again.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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