You have lived in the same body your entire life.

The same heart, same brain, same eyes. Your legs have been carrying you since they learned how, and your hands have been creating and recreating since you could hold a crayon. 

Some parts of you have grown and changed. Your hobbies and interests level up as you do, what sparks joy may change year by year, and how you give love to yourself precedes how you show it to others. If the old saying ‘hurt people hurt people’ is true, so too must be its opposite: ‘loved people love people’. Must you always depend on others to show you love, before you can give it? No way. In fact, here are five random ways to show yourself love and gratitude so you’ll be more free to give it:

1. Write Yourself ‘Open When’ Letters

Lets keep it real: a lot can change in a short amount of time, and its easy to become discouraged if you’re feeling out of control. On a day when you’re feeling pretty ‘yourself’, write letters that you can open at different points in time! Sometimes you’re the only one who can talk sense into you, so taking this initiative will set you up for being loved when you’ll need it most.

2. Travel Solo

Whether it’s a day downtown, a weekend in the state next door, or a holiday in a different continent, solo travel exposes an adventurous and free-spirited side of you that may get lost in the mundaneness of everyday. Try driving in one direction for three hours, without GPS, and find yourself lost in a new town. Just breathe! You're not lost, you're wandering. That's okay sometimes.

3. Create a Morning Routine

For a lot of us, mornings are the worst. Rushing out the door in a hurried panic may set a tone for the rest of the day that brings out an unpleasant side of you. Waking up at least an hour before heading out will give yourself plenty of time to eat breakfast, have a morning cup of coffee, journal or follow a devotion, and to perfect your hair, makeup or outfit. Revel in the fact that your heart beats throughout the night without your permission. That's cool af.

4. Make Traditions with Yourself

We give a lot of praise to following traditions as families or couples, even. What traditions do you have with yourself? Write yourself a letter every New Years, or ask yourself reflection questions on your birthday in the same journal. Do you dread Mondays? Make them a day you look forward to by giving yourself an incentive, such as Movie Monday’s where you watch a new flick at the theater or at home!

5. Try that Thing You Always Wanted to Try

The greatest way to show yourself some love is to take the word ‘should’ out of your vocabulary. Let there only be ‘wills’ and ‘wonts’. You’ve always wanted to take a wine pairing class? Do it. You’ve been looking to get back into reading? Done! No questions asked, because you are not free to love if you are not first loved. 

To show up and be your best self in all of your relationships, it’s absolutely necessary that you be loved first. Stay grateful for the body you live in, and the life you’re living in it by showing yourself some love, shawtee.

-raygen samone