Self-love seems like a hard concept to some. It was to me for most of my life. Being the person that I am, I always chose to put others first. I was always there for others when they needed me most , and that was my priority rather than being there for myself. But I have come to choose myself first, and I have now found the better version of myself.

For all of my life, I have been the one to be there for others whenever they needed me. The kind of person to drop everything at once and run to them to help them in a time of need. I didn’t know any better. I can remember back to my elementary school days where I would help others with their homework before I had even completed my own. This was something that I didn’t think was a problem, and that it was okay for me to do that for others.

While in my heart I knew I loved putting others first, I would come home every night in the worst state of mind. I would find myself with high anxiety, crying myself to sleep at some points because I had become so overwhelmed with everything on my plate. I didn’t know what was wrong and why I felt this way. I was trying everyday to be better than I was the day before. But then I woke up one morning and realized that I didn’t love myself the way that I should.

That day, I decided that it was time to put me first. I would take my time to take care of myself in the morning and complete my tasks before I did anything for anyone else. I would look at myself in the mirror to assure myself that everything was going to be okay, and that I can take on today. From that day forward, I had found that I can still be there for others just as much as I was before, but not until I took care of myself first.

It is hard learning how to love yourself. It takes time, practice, and a lot of hard work. But investing this time into myself was one of the best decisions I have ever made, because I was investing in a better future for myself.

Here is a peak into how I was able to learn to love myself to invest in a better version of “Brooklynn”:

1. Morning time is for YOU. I take time each morning to do my skincare routine, brush my hair, make my bed and get ready for the day. If you feel your best, you will do your best.

2. Make a SCHEDULE rather than a to-do list. This is something that I surprisingly love to do! A to-do list makes it stressful to get things done. So instead, make a schedule for your day. Schedule your lunch, your work breaks, TV time, etc.

3. Stay ACTIVE. I know, everyone says “new year, new me” and gets back into the gym. If the gym isn’t for you, that is okay! Go on a walk outside or around your house, search some fun at-home workouts to do with household items, even making sure you are standing up and stretching throughout the day. I promise, this will help.

4. Before bed, REFLECT on your day. As you snuggle into your jammies for the night, think about all the things you loved today. Even if it was a rough one, because those do happen, think about all the little things that kept you going.

5. The most important thing… POSITIVE SELF TALK. This has changed my life. We all have a demon in our mind telling us that we can’t do things, or that we aren’t good enough. Well that was so 2020, and it is time for positive self talk all 2021. Tell yourself you are beautiful, you are strong and that you got this! You’ll be amazed at what this does for you.

With these five things, as well as many others, I have found myself loving this version of me more and more every single day. No, this doesn’t happen overnight. But for the past few months, I have felt healthier: physically, mentally, and emotionally. You deserve to be the best possible version of yourself.

Loving yourself can be a challenge, but it is a challenge that will be well worth it.