Loving Yourself In A Lonely World

Love yourself like a friend.

You’ve got a friend in you.

We always hear to treat others the way you want to be treated. Putting others first is something I have always kept as a priority. Being positive and encouraging to my friends when they need someone on their side? I’m there. But often times, we forget to see ourselves as a friend. And when everyone seems to be so far away, we tend to shoot down the one person who is always there for us, no matter what.

I’m talking about you, yourself, and you. 

There have been many times where I have not been the nicest person to myself. I have said things, to help me move on or distract me from what I’m really feeling—really mean things. Things I would never say to my friends or the people that I love.

I would beat myself up and pick myself apart.

I’m not pretty enough. He wouldn’t be interested in someone like me. I’m not good enough.”

Imagine me telling you:

You’re not pretty enough. He wouldn’t be interested in someone like you. You’re not good enough.”

Ouch. Now do you feel the daggers?

I learned to shut off that well and cured the toxins. I’m not saying it doesn’t leak every now and then, but I became aware of the words I was using to hurt myself, telling myself hurtful things I would never tell people I loved.

I know it’s not easy. Sometimes when I open the door to negative thoughts, they flood in and there is no going back—it’s hard to shut off that well. But, when things don’t go our way, or we feel as if there is no one on our side, we can’t be the first to defeat ourselves.

As we hold ourselves to the standards of others, comparing yourself to others is never the answer. You should always want to be the best you that you can be. Because the path you’re on was only written for you, no one else. Putting yourself down and telling yourself what you want doesn’t exist or that your imperfections are louder than the beautiful parts of you, only creates a lonelier world. Why would you want that?

Sometimes it’s a lonely world out there.

We get lonely.

We crave that validation of self-worth from others and put too much pressure on them to fulfill what we already know and have inside of us. And sometimes, that isn’t enough so we go searching for more. We try to find it in people, social media, dating apps, success in the work place, you name it—we’ve all searched for it in one form or another.

In people…

We meet people who treat us like an option that didn’t even have a chance. Or we meet people that are really great for us, they check off one big box off our checklist and we think it’s all that we need. We get caught up in the fulfillment that we forget to ask ourselves if we really are fulfilled. Then, sometimes we meet people that fulfill our voids for the time being and we forget to check-in and ask ourselves if we are happy, if we are okay, if this is what we want, if we are deserved to be treated this way…

We put pressure on people to give us things we need. We hold them on a perfect pedestal, always expecting them to be the perfect person, our hero. But no one is perfect. No one will ever check every box you need except you. The universe will always send you someone when you need to be reawakened, sometimes it’s not even a person—it can even be a dog. But people will not complete you, they will only help you complete you.

In places…

Sometimes we travel the world to sustain us. We leave and never want to come back. Life is easier when we aren’t dealing with ourselves or our problems back home. Don’t get me wrong, traveling is a good thing. Traveling teaches you things about yourself. You learn more about yourself when you travel. You receive signs and tools and experiences to help yourself grow. Just don’t forget to come home and use those experiences to work on yourself. Travel will always be there.

Connect the two and search for answers to questions you hide within yourself. That’s what places are for—to unveil things for you, to help you love yourself more. They are there to provide a different environment or prospective. Places help you see what you’ve been blinded from seeing in yourself.

In things…

Sometimes self-worth gets trapped in things like Instagram followers or Facebook likes. These things have grown to become an instant source of validation. We don’t need them, but they’re so addictive. They validate what we are looking for in an instant. It’s easy, quick, and doesn’t require you to work on yourself.

At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter who liked your post. If you thought it was cleaver, witty, touching—all that matters is you thought and felt that. At the end of the day if you take a selfie and post it, it shouldn’t matter how many likes you get. The point is, in that moment you felt beautiful and you wanted to always remember that. The validation you have in yourself will start to fuel your self-love and worth.

Self-love is better than loneliness.

Because those things are easy, loving yourself—that’s hard.

We live in a world where society likes to put you in a box. Where social media and body standards constantly change. We live in a world where it’s easy to give up on yourself. Where it’s easy to give in and settle into something or someone that doesn’t fulfill you completely or even meet you halfway. And I wish it wasn’t this way. But you have the power to control that and channel it into self-love instead of validation from others.

What’s hard is using that energy for yourself. What’s hard is learning to love yourself. We need to put in the work to love ourselves the way we hope other people love us, the way we love our passions, the way we love to get a hit of instant validation. We need to water our own seeds if we ever want to see them grow. You need to make time for YOU.

Practice Self-Love.

So next time those mean thoughts emerge from the darkness, turn on the light. Say something positive instead. Even if it’s not about you. I know some of you find it hard to compliment yourself, I’ve been there. We can take baby steps. So even if the thought is complimenting someone else, that counts too. 

Positive thoughts are the only cure to toxic, negative ones. 

Give yourself some time to recognize those hurtful words, change them into positive ones, then do something to make you feel good about yourself. Buy yourself flowers, take yourself out on a date, start a bullet journal, sign up for that exercise class you’ve always wanted to try, do something you’ve always wanted to do. You’ll start to see yourself bloom and love will radiate within you.

Lovelee Lesson:

You have to remember that you should always be your number one fan, as best as you can be. At the end of the day, whatever it is you are struggling with, don’t shut yourself down so easily. Stop and thinking about the hurtful words that you are telling yourself and check yourself—is this something I would be telling my mom or my best friend if they were in this situation? I can guarantee you that the answer is no. Why would you? You love them too much to hurt them like that.

You are as important as those that you love. Don’t forget to treat yourself like a friend. Don’t look for what’s wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with you. Look for the things that make you, you. And go fall in love with yourself. I for one, think you’re exquisitely lovely. And you are so loved. Even and especially by your truest, most loveliest friend: you.

The Three Fictional Characters of loveleemonicaa

Let’s lighten things up a bit shall we? Sorry, no Lovelee Lesson here. You just get to laugh at me, with me on this one.

Three Fictional Characters

A while ago, there was a trend on Twitter for #3FictionalCharacters. Scrolling through the hashtag, I thought it’d be fun to see how people related themselves to characters on their favorite shows. Television has always been an alternate reality for me and I grow to love and care for characters as seasons develop them into people I actually know and care about. You get me here right? 

Well, while scrolling through the trending hashtag, it suddenly dawned on me—I too resembled three characters from three of my favorite shows:

Hmm…all leading ladies. Coincidence? I think not.

If you spend enough time with me and watch any one of these shows, you’ll get it. If not, then just laugh at the stories I use as supporting evidence to prove my point.

Jane Villanueva

Life is full of tough moments and you have to fight for what you want.”

I’m a writer.

I took Rafael’s advice and decided to be brave. The first step was starting this blog, and I’m excited to say that my first novel is in the works. For the first time on television, I was finally able to see how someone wrote like I did. Talking to characters, making outlines and edits, using personal experience as inspiration, I saw myself as Jane the Writer because I am Jane the Writer.

I’ve been a writer my whole life. Sometimes I forget things that I once wrote. I have notes, spirals, USBs, filled with ideas and short stories. When I’m looking back on things, a lot of times I’m like dang girl you wrote that?

And like every writer uses reading as a guide to inspiration and wisdom, like Jane, I also buy way too many books. For writing research! Thank goodness I ventured to the public library recently and had a Belle moment. I now rent more books than I can read in a span of 21 days, but my wallet needed a break because I needed more bookshelves. But when is that ever a problem? Books are a lifetime investment.

I’m a fighter.

Like Jane, I fight for what I want, what I believe in. Like Jane, sometimes I have my doubts and I lose parts of myself, but I get myself back up. There have been a lot of shitty things that have happened to me in this life, some more painful than others, but I’m still busting out random dance moves and celebrating the small victories. And even after everything that does happen to me, I’m still chugging along. Trying to make sure I live the life I want, and hopefully making a difference in the world by helping those I have in my family circle and strangers I offer my random acts of kindness to.

I fight for me, for my friends, my family. I fight with my heart and soul, with my words, my honesty, with love. And yes, sometimes my honesty comes out a bit strong, the tough love comes out and gets mistaken for judgy-Jane. But, it’s all out of love, for love, for the people I love, for the things I want and love.

La Familia.

Now I want a cannoli. I’ve always been able to relate to Jane here. Family is extremely important to me. I see myself as a second mother to my siblings, I would do anything for them. Throughout my life, I have defined family very differently. I don’t always think family means blood. To me, family are those that know the little things that make my nose flare. They call when I’m sick and they know how to make me laugh. They call to check on me to ask if I’m okay, because they get notified that I keep pinning things to the “For When We Need To Hear It” board on Pinterest.

They are there for me. Not for the milestones, but for the little day-to-day things where I need someone to check-in on me without asking, or when they know I need a laugh. That’s family to me. And mine changes and evolves over time, and I love every single one of them, blood or not.

Before we move on—

Dear universe, could ya send me a Michael Cordero and Zen Rafael mix? You know, just a hilarious, supportive guy who helps me be brave and loves a goofy Jane? Cool, thanks.

Leslie Knope

 I care. I care a lot. It’s kind of my thing.”

I’m a planner.

Just ask my brother. Seriously, trust me. I planned his academic life using an excel spreadsheet on our shared Google Drive. When my little brother didn’t know what he wanted to major in in college, I made sure to explore all options, all possible outcomes (even Mt. Doom). Yes Mt. Doom was real. I did all the color coded tabs, all, everything, pero, like, todo. I don’t think my brother would’ve graduated college without me to be honest. My spreadsheets work. Life planning is what I do, well as much as I can do…but man it gives me a high like no other. You should see my budget spreadsheets too.

Riddle me this.

Also, scavenger hunts…that’s kind of my thing too. When we were younger, we would go to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, a lot. I love museums. They’re one of my happy places. I would make scavenger hunts growing up and we’d split up and do them as a family. Cough, cough future husband, where ever you are… #familygoals. When I grew older I’d do the scavenger hunts with my friends, I would write them for my friends, I gave one to my sister for her friends to do at her birthday party.

As a birthday surprise, I found a dinosaur museum in Venice, Italy for my brother. Everything was in Italian, so there was no scavenger hunt. But the surprise of making sure that I found something I knew he would love, that’s the Leslie in me making sure everyone is happy. Making people happy, makes me happy.

Werk, werk, werk, werk, werk werk.

love working. If I allow myself to, I can become a workaholic. It gets pretty bad. But, it’s because I care. A lot. Sometimes too much. I’m really good at my job. Any job really. I’m a quick learner and I get the job done. Efficiency people, efficiency. Just ask any one of my old bosses, even the ones that tried to roll over me and take credit for all the work I did for them. I guess that’s the problem with the Leslie in me though, I’m a hard worker and I’m willing to help anyone but sometimes people take advantage of that. And, well, it brings out my inner Leslie badger. Watch out.

I love my friends, including me.

I always seem to have an Ann Perkins by my side, and yes I compliment them all the time. They are beautiful, dazzling, talented tree sharks. And yes, sometimes I ask them to text me every five seconds to tell me everything is going to be okay and they do it. So, my Ann’s are BOMB. And from time to time I message myself via post-it note, put it in a random pocket or bag, and say:

Hey Monica, It’s Monica. (Damn girl you lookin’ fine.) Hang in there. I love you. Bye.”

Because sometimes, as a strong woman, you’re the only one that can boost your spirits. And better yet, sometimes I buy myself things on Amazon and forget that I do, and when they come in I’m like:

Omg! Monica! This is the perfect book, how on earth did you know I needed to read this? Especially today, how did you know I had a bad day? Ugh, you’re so awesome. Thanks for always thinking of me. And, buying me chocolate, roses, and most importantly, waffles and gelato.”

Oh, and one more thing…I love breakfast food.

Why would anyone eat anything other than breakfast food? One of my best friends even gave me a Mickey Mouse mini-waffle maker for Christmas. It’s legit. 

Jessica Day

I like being weird!”

The hopeless hopeful romantic.

I have the heart of Jessica Day. The romantic, selfless kind of love that she just can’t help herself with. I would totally tell my future boyfriend I found out his best friend from med school was in love with him, because I couldn’t live with myself knowing I denied him that opportunity for happiness. Even if I loved him so, so much. That kind of romantic, selfless love.

And to be honest I’m a sucker for any love story. Even ones that are in commercials. And sometimes when there isn’t any romance in my life, I tend to just leave that business to the movies, the books I read, the words I write in letters, and the couples strategically placed in front of me in public, all the things reminding me to believe in the magic and remind me that love exists.

Mon as Sitcom Jess:

I also have total Jessica Day moments, my life is basically a sitcom. No joke. Well, yes, joke.

Episode 101:

Monica’s friend won 3-day passes to ACL. Monica’s friend wins a lot of things, so this was no surprise. These were a hassle to get from the radio station to say the least, totally legal stuff happening here, no worries… Her friend was trying to sell them and finally found someone last minute willing to buy. As her friend was gathering their things to go meet the buyer, Monica stopped by to talk festival plans. She found the wristbands laying on the table and thought it would be fun to show her friend how small her wrist was. So as Monica’s friend grabbed their keys, about to leave, Monica slid the wristband onto her hand. It all happened so fast…

MONICA: (Grabs wristband on table, excitedly.) Ooooo is this the wristband you’re about to go sell?

FRIEND: (Grabs keys, not looking at MONICA, in a rush.) Yeah, I’m leaving now. I have to meet him in like five minutes.

MONICA: (Still excited, easily amused.) Hey, look how small my wrist—

FRIEND: (Turns immediately, grabs MONICA’s wrist, yells in sheer panic.) MONICA, NO!

(It was too late, the damage had been done. Both FRIEND and MONICA stare at each other, eyes widened.)

MONICA: (Panicking.) OH MY GOD. NO. WHAT DID I JUST DO?

The wristband was tight. As tight as you could possibly pull it.

Note: Some of you know exactly what this means. For those that don’t…once you put on this wristband, you can’t take it off. Yeah, I know…just like Nick’s football helmet.

Monica had her wrist band for the festival at home, tucked away in a drawer. Thankfully she hadn’t gotten around to activating it yet, so the contraband she had, squeezing the life out of her left wrist with was now her wristband. Yeah, she even put it on the wrong wrist, let’s alllll laugh about it *queue sitcom laugh recording.* 

As a Hufflepuff, this scared the living shit out of Monica. She somehow got pulled into this mess by well…being a Hufflepuff. Thankfully and out of sheer luck, Monica’s friend had also brought their wristband that day. So, her wristband at home, the innocent one, became theirs. I seriously am not doing a good job bringing honor to my house. But, hey it’s a great story now right?

Episode 102:

Monica was walking with her friend one day. They were catching up from the weekend. It’s important to note here that Monica is very animated—she likes to use funny voices and actions to tell stories. If you’ve ever heard one, it’s like she’s playing charades…seriously, she acts out all parts. Anyways, she was making a comment about one of her friend’s stories. Trying to bring in the comic relief, it’s what she does.

Well, Monica started making these repetitive kissing noises to add some flare. Very. Obviously. And she tends to not really care about the strangers around her…but, as she was making these kissing noises, Monica was unknowingly, also walking into a swarm of construction workers. I’m going to let that sink in for a second.

They ALL stopped, turned and looked at Monica. It took a few more kissing noises to let Monica realize what was happening. She was literally the only one, who was oblivious to what was going on. As she realized what was happening, her eyes widened and she immediately sucked her kissing face in, then squeezed her lips tight as hard as she could. She turned bright red, immediately panicked and started walking faster. Of course her friend was bathing in laughter from this, while Monica was mortified.

Once they were a few feet away, her friend still laughing, Monica yelled back in her Boston accent: “Oh yeah, how does it feel huh? Not so nice to get cat called is it? Get in the cah Jimmy.” Yup. That happened. Also, sorry, she was in character. There is no Jimmy.

Other Jess-isms:

  • My mother always told me I’d be a teacher one day, and she’s probably right…I will. Probably when I have kids.
  • Like Jess, whenever I leave my friends for a while, I make sure to have some sort of jar with little notes for them, when they feel like they need me. In my case, when I left for college, I made my closest friends and siblings horcruxes. I wrote on the front of each envelope “open this when…” and it contained a note along with a gift that was either super funny or MADE YOU CRY. They obviously each got seven.
  • I sing almost any task that I’m doing. My office mate hates me. I sing what the weather is like, the actions of my dog, the emotions of others. You name it, I sing it. I like to FaceTime my sister, have her give me a topic and I sing about it while I play my uke. It’s really funny, I’m pretty good at it. It’ll be my SNL audition one day. But, my most popular song-to-action duo, is my rendition of Waka Waka by Shakira when I make Guacamole. Yup, it’s exactly what you’re thinking right now. It does go “Guaca, Guaca, Mo-le.” I do a pretty good Shakira impression, hips and all. Very few have heard Guaca Guaca Mo-le. Maybe one day you’ll get lucky. My brother hates it. I make a lot of guacamole…I eat a lot of tacos.
  • One last thing…Below you will find my ice breaker on all dating apps that allowed gifs. It was a hit or miss. I can’t always guarantee results, but go for it. Yes, I do this in real life too.

And there you have it.

The three fictional characters of loveleemonicaa. Convinced yet? No? We should hang out more.