It’s funny how much our definition of our own identities depends so much on the people we surround ourselves with.

 We say we are independent entities, we say we keep ourselves as our number one priority, we pore over magazines that emphasize self-love, we bop our heads along to Lizzo’s latest song about loving oneself as one is, but at the end of the day, we care what people think.

Is this a bad thing?

No, definitely not! Man was made to be social.

We seek connections. We seek familial closeness. We seek friendship. We seek love. And in seeking these things, we are ultimately looking to be understood.

From my 21 years of existence, what I have come to understand is that there are two types of people in the world.

People who get too emotionally invested in the relationships of their lives, and people who say they don’t.

Notice that I wrote people who “say that they don’t” and not people who don’t. That’s because like it or not, even the people whom you assume to be chill and detached from other’s people’s opinions, care. They are just better at hiding it than the rest of us.

Recently, I have been reevaluating my role in the friendships and relationships of my life. I have always been, as my first-grade teacher had once said, “soft-hearted.”

And as much as I like to try to hide my emotions under my sunny, joyful yet sarcastic personality, I have always cared about what people thought of me.

This isn’t necessarily bad thing as long as you can provide love, support, and guidance to the people in your lives while keeping a healthy distance.

It is when you start perceiving yourself through the lens of others and start thinking of yourself as useful only in relation to other people that it becomes a problem.

Love others, yes. But love yourself first. No one has the right to define who you are but yourself.

People will come and go, but the only person that you can 100% trust to have your back is yourself.

A wise friend of mine told me, “you are not superwoman. You can’t be there for multiple people at the same time. Be there for yourself first, and the people who love you will love you regardless.”

It’s good advice. After all, self-love is in fact the best kind of love.

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