Be the Best Version of Yourself

One’s own uniqueness should be embraced, not withheld. Dr. Seuss says it well, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.” (Photo taken by Ethan Lamont).

One’s own uniqueness should be embraced, not withheld. Dr. Seuss says it well, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.” (Photo taken by Ethan Lamont).

An important aspect of life that can be often overlooked is the idea of self-love. Acting on the idea is essential for going through life and getting the most out of it, but some seem to struggle with this. Self-love is not the same as being conceited. Practicing self-love is realizing that you are unique, faults and all, and that uniqueness is perfectly fine.

“Everyone should strive to be the best [they] can be, but there are some things that can’t be changed and [you] should be able to love yourself anyway. We all have flaws. When you try to improve, you’re trying to be better,” says junior Emma Fretwell.

Room for improvement shows that someone wants to accomplish more and is willing to take the steps in order to achieve their goals. However, it is ultimately more important to love yourself while also improving self-esteem. This self-improvement is also particularly important to one’s stress levels. In 2008, a study at Syracuse University showed that people with lower self-esteem were less likely to be able to cope with stress.

“Self-love is something that can make you feel better and, especially around our ages, can keep us focused on things that we only really get one shot at doing the best we can. It keeps your body, mind, and actions healthy as well. It also makes life more enjoyable,” says freshman Rachel Van Hook.

Happiness can supposedly be achieved more easily when you love yourself. However, this is not to say that self-love and happiness are directly linked. Having one does not mean that you have another.

“There’s a false hope set that you have to love yourself to be happy. The thing is that I see a lot of flaws in my image, but I’m happy. Thinking positively about yourself isn’t the only way to be happy,” says senior Emily Wilkins.

Oftentimes, people do not have the ability to love themselves. It is impossible to find one reason for this because it is different for each individual. However, one issue may stem from the way society itself is structured.

“Personally, I believe that people avoid loving themselves to [keep] from looking self-absorbed, but… [lack of self-love] can be [from not having] love from others in their life, even if in the smallest ways. Sometimes, it can be hard to love yourself if not given [love] at all. For teenagers, [a lack of self-love] can be [from] stressing over school and worrying about activities after school. [You] start to [stop] loving yourself if you do anything wrong, though that’s not always the case,” says Van Hook.

The road to improvement begins with an epiphany. For some, this can be brought on by many different events or people. However, once a realization is made, the process of beginning to love yourself can begin.

“It’s different for everybody. I’ve experienced the absence of self-love and now I have it. It’s irrelevant to compare yourself [to others] because you don’t know how people feel in their circumstances, and it’s not what matters,” says art teacher Shannon Forehand.

Life will present stressful situations — high school students are assuredly aware of this. Many choose to hide this stress, claiming they are fine. In reality, this only sweeps the problem under the rug, creating an illusion of happiness in an ocean of misery.

“People do not love themselves a lot of the time and choose to love others to make up for it. They give out the love they can’t give to themselves. If you had to love yourself to be happy, we would have a lot less happy people in this world. All people should be able to have the chance to both love themselves and be happy because everyone deserves that in their life,” says Van Hook.