Illustration by Megan Bender.

Swipe right on self-love

Don’t cheat yourself, treat yourself.

Whether you’re dating or single, you should actively practice self-love for healthy relationships and interaction with others.

Dating is complicated. If you’re swiping, texting, snapping or sliding into the DMs, navigating the dating culture requires a lot of time, energy and self-love.

Single and ready to mingle, sort of…

Dating without the integration of social media was bad enough. Now you’re connected and available on multiple platforms.

As a single individual looking for the companionship of others, apps like Tinder or Bumble can place extra pressure on your dating timeline. These apps allow access to a wide range of people with different personality types and preferences. Not everyone is kind or understanding. This often leads to strangers lashing out at you, because your interests or schedule don’t align.

Take some time to remember that you are allowed to say, “No, I can’t hang out this day,” or “I had some obligations and was not able to respond right away.”

Do not ever feel compelled to apologize for being busy or not responding before you’re ready, unless you mean it. Social media has created a demand for immediacy that is not always reasonable.

Self-love can also be very physical and intimate. Masturbation, often a taboo subject, can be considered fulfilling needs and confidence. This means taking the term “self-love” literally and exploring safe options on pleasuring yourself. For the inexperienced or shy, the beginning stages of this could be a research stage for what works. As an article on This Body Is Not an Apology states, just orgasming from masturbation is like “scratching an itch.” Explore other options to pleasuring yourself, and open your mind to considering this method as a form of self-love.

Another option to explore is exercising. Exercising can blow off steam and increase self-confidence. It is also a great way to combat depression and relieve dating frustrations. Incidentally, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with and take it easy. After all, this is about making yourself feel better.

What’s also available on a local level are workshops designed to promote communication skills between friends and couples.

Humboldt State Health Educator Ravin Craig, who created and runs the Peer Health Education program, said there are several workshops put on through the library that are designed to do just this.

She said one of these is focused on relationships and communications with friends as well as sexual partners.

Taken and confident, kind of…

Even in a relationship, self-love is necessary and promotes positivity in a relationship. Maintaining individuality is important towards promoting self-love and a healthy relationship. This doesn’t mean isolating yourself, but it does mean knowing your boundaries.

Craig said it’s hard to be in an effective relationship where you can give something to someone else, but can’t give it to yourself first.

Self-love is often proven to benefit relationships. According to an article on, research has shown that practicing self-love is likely to improve well-being in the context of interpersonal relationships.

Developing positive habits and relationship communication between you and your partner can also lead to self-love. Taking time to be your own person and understand what makes you happy can also promote self-love and in turn strengthen your relationship.

In between and fluid, maybe…

Maybe you’ve mastered the dating scene, but your confidence still gets low. Taking similar breaks and efforts to improve your self-love is important.

Craig said students looking for help with self-love practices should consider Community Care Workshops on campus. During these workshops, students are encouraged to “build their board of directors.”

Craig describes this board as the people you can trust to help guide your relationship when suffering from the dating scene or relationship blues. Finding trusted peers who are able to lift you up and think are important.

At the end of the day, choosing healthy and positive practices of self-love is up to you. Sometimes it takes understanding that you need the help of others, a break or space. Be aware of when dating might be too much and recognize when you need to make some time for yourself.

Utilize on campus resources or turn to your most trusted friends. More importantly, swipe right on self-love.

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