Self Love in Today’s Society


Summer Campbell, Reporter

Growing up we look up to certain people that have certain values and beliefs. Those idols become a big part of our lives and influence the way we see things we encounter on a daily basis. While we are young, our minds are easily manipulated and our opinions can be changed if someone doesn’t agree with them. This is the way society is. Society has been shaped so that if we have different values or opinions, they are considered wrong and we are forced to reevaluate what we stand for. Society today has set a standard on how we should think, speak, and look. Due to the way society is today, many children and young adults find themselves confused and conflicted when dealing with loving themselves. 

Self love is defined as having high regard for one’s well being and happiness. It can be expressed in many ways, such as eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Doctor Kristin Neff, who studied moral development at UCLA, says that one way to love yourself is to practice self compassion. In her words, self compassion is “extending compassion towards yourself when you’re feeling inadequate, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself.” For us highschoolers, if we fail a test we tend to get mad at ourselves and focus on how we failed. Instead, we can focus on how we can try to do better on the next test and understand that as humans, we must fail before we can achieve. In order to understand that we are only human, we must be able to forgive ourselves. Forgive yourself for not getting an A on that test and grasp the fact that you are not perfect, no one is. Encouraging yourself in everything you do is a great way to practice self love. Not only will it boost your confidence, but also help motivate yourself to do better. 

Learning how to love yourself in today’s society tends to be something that is self taught. Schools don’t have classes that tell students that they not only need to take care of their physical health, but their mental health as well. Based off of that students from Urbana High School, that will remain anonymous, have disclosed when they learned how to love who they are on the inside and out. Most of the students started learning at the age of 12 or 13, while the rest admit they are still in the process of learning. This makes sense due to the fact that as a younger teenager, students are in middle school and then transitioning to high school. At this time, students become more aware of how their opinions and values are different from their peers, as well as, how their body may be different. Body image is a huge factor into how we learn to love ourselves. In order to love who we are, we have to accept the body we were given and that it is different from others.. Due to having a different body, being of a different ethnicity, etc., it is easy for us to start to feel insecure about how we look in addition to how we think. 

Teenage insecurities are driven by the environment we surround ourselves in. This includes but is not limited to peer, parental, societal pressure, and the hormonal changes teenagers experience. When these insecurities aren’t addressed, sometimes it may lead to anxiety, depression, and aggression. It is important to learn how to battle insecurities which can be done by talking to someone you trust, eliminating negative thoughts and influences, and identifying what causes these insecurities. One student from Urbana High School wrote that their insecurities are improved when those around them are uplifting and promote positive thoughts over negative.

Self love may not be taught in schools, however, it can be taught from one person to another. By promoting self love and showing that as teenagers we don’t have to follow the standards society has put in place, we are free to be who we are. In being free, we don’t have to worry about constantly being insecure about what we look like and how we think. We grew up believing that we are unique in our own ways, it’s time we finally embrace it.