Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" Is A Self-Love Pop Song We All Need

'Thank U, Next' Is The Strong-Independent-Woman Jam I Needed Years Ago

I wish I had gotten fed up sooner, appreciated my worth quicker, and realized you cannot find your home in anyone but yourself.

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As a powerhouse of a singer and woman, this year's Woman of the Year and a survivor of all kinds of recent heartbreak, Ariana Grande is everything, to understate it. Her song "thank u, next" is also everything. It uses my lowercase aesthetic. More importantly, though, it's the female empowerment-centered self-love jam I needed years ago. It's the jam I believe all people need.

For a big portion of my life, I wanted a boyfriend. I talked about how "he would be the final piece to me being fully happy." I tried dating apps, none of which brought anything great. I was like a dog looking for a squirrel on the first day of classes. I didn't realize then how much of a shame that is.

I would go on dates here and there, "talk to" guys and find myself in various forms of casual relationships. I would inevitably get overly excited. I would animatedly share details with friends, text these guys often, try to hang out with them more, and feel upset when nothing happened or whatever we had randomly ended.

Like Grande sings in her song "thank u, next," I met guys who just weren't a match. I met guys who treated me well and whom I clicked with but didn't work out with because of timing. I learned love; I learned patience; I learned pain.

But again, as Grande sings, the love that she's lost isn't the point, yet it also holds purpose. It's about how you find yourself in the details without a significant other. It's about what you learn about yourself and your needs from what you've just experienced. It's about what could go better next time and what didn't serve you this time. It's about finding a home within yourself, not anyone else.

Earlier on this semester, I realized I am not happy with, nor do I deserve, the drama that can come with relationships. I have so many good friends, organizations I'm involved in, homework to do, people to love, and outside stressors to need any "final piece" to be happy, especially when that "final piece" comes with more hurt than happiness.

I wish I had this moment years ago. I wish I had gotten fed up sooner, appreciated my worth quicker, and realized you cannot find your home in anyone but yourself. I wish I had "thank u, next" long before now.

Let me be clear, though: I am not a man-hating feminist if those even exist (they don't). I am also certainly not opposed to a significant other of any kind. However, I am opposed to toxic relationships, broken boundaries, and unnecessary drama. I am also opposed to the old version of myself who felt like she needed a boyfriend to be fully happy because she was unnecessarily sad and had tunnel vision. She had not yet found her home in herself. She would take what she got. She felt it when the teacher of the main character, Charlie, in the "Perks of Being a Wallflower" movie, said, "We accept the love we think we deserve."

Spoiler alert: she deserved better. And now, she will not take any less.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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The Kate Spade Foundation Follows Through On Their Million Dollar Promise

One year and a million dollars later, the fight against mental health issues continues.

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Going through a mental illness can be one of the most isolating and lonely feelings known to man. When you're in that state of mind it's hard to imagine that anyone could feel as bad as you do right then and there let alone have gone through something similar. Not only that, but many people will suffer in silence, avoiding speaking up or asking for help. Which, if anyone who's battled a mental illness would know, is not an uncommon feeling.

It's hard to speak up and ask for help, especially with something that feels so deeply personal and at times hard to describe. Many people find ways to cope and regain a balance in their lives. Many others never find that balance.

Roughly one year ago, on June 5, 2018, Kate Spade took her own life after battling depression and anxiety for nearly her entire life. It seemed completely out of the blue and nearly everyone was taken aback. But that's the nature of mental illness in some ways. We don't understand the severity or how deeply someone may have been struggling with their mental illness until it's too late.

The reality of mental health is often harrowing, especially when it comes to access to help. An increasing number of Americans are seeking help for a mental health condition but millions still remain with unmet needs or an undiagnosed condition. Many states with a mental health work provider workforce have only one worker for every four individuals requesting therapy.

But there are organizations across the nation who are working to make mental health care not only more accessible but affordable as well. The Kate Spade New York Foundation has just completed their $1 million donation pledge to mental health services such as The Jed Foundation and the Crisis Text Line.

Kate Spade's death, alongside those such as Anthony Bourdain and Robin Williams, proved to many of us that mental health issues affect us all regardless of our wealth, fame or status. In the time following their deaths, I felt that we've become more honest with ourselves and worked hard to destigmatize mental health as a whole. Her death raised the conversation surrounding mental health to new levels that I don't think had previously been touched. Regardless, there's always more work to be done and we should all aspire to live in a world where those affected with these illnesses no longer feel alone.

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