Self-love is more than just a trend. It's more than bubble baths and face masks and treating yourself. Lately, the media has made it hard to distinguish between true self-love versus flat out splurging on superfluous luxury items (yay for consumerism).

I'm here to tell you the truth. Self-love isn't always pretty. It's not always Instagram worthy. In fact, sometimes it's downright ugly.

Self-love is evaluating and recognizing areas in your life that need improvement. It's removing any toxicity that's keeping you from being the best version of yourself. It's thinking about actions you can take now to improve your life in the future.

Self-love is being kind to yourself. Acknowledge that you are always learning and growing. Encourage yourself the same way you would encourage a good friend. Sometimes you will need to be your own #1 fan and self-love is acknowledging that fact and owning it.

Self-love is also being honest with yourself. Constructive criticism can be kind. Have you been procrastinating more often lately? Are you beginning to neglect your health? Could you use a stricter financial plan? Be honest with yourself, but don't forget to be kind.

Self-love is shifting your focus away from the negative BUT (this is important) fixing areas that you can improve. Identify areas of your life that are making you unhappy. The things that you can't change- shift your focus to the positive. The things that you can change- show yourself some love and go change them. Don't pressure yourself to become a new person overnight either. Self-love takes time and that's OK.

Self-love could be joining a gym. It could be cutting off toxic friends. It could also be giving up alcohol or taking a shower or creating a budget or applying for grad school. Self-love comes in many different forms; it is different for everyone. It's all about recognizing your personal needs and goals and acting upon them.

Finally, self-love is about becoming the best version of yourself you can be. If that version of yourself wants to take a bubble bath and put on a face mask, then they should.