Feeling stuck? How to get started in loving yourself

Declaring love for someone is probably one of the most courageous things to do. It encompasses not only the present but also the future – you love them now but you’re inevitably telling them you’ll love them in the next minute as well.

It seems like we go through a cycle of saying we are ‘in love’ with multiple people. We declare love for someone who we might have dated for a couple of months (or days). We even declare love after a couple of good dates. But as humans, we make mistakes. We realize that as time ticks, people grow. And as seasons change, we understand that some of those “loves” are mere ‘loving experiences.’

But then, why do we go back to the people who’ve hurt us the most? Is it because the euphoria that comes with such connections clouds the reasons why we broke up in the first place? Or is it because when we are in a time of vulnerability, we turn to those who we have been vulnerable to?

When we’re in a tough period of our lives, we are cultured to cope – some people with food or drugs or alcohol but some people with other people. We want to reach out to those past relationships – whether friends or romantic – because for one reason or another, we have somehow exposed our deepest darkest secrets to them.

And it’s this called trust that brings us back.

Trust and love are not interchangeable but instead, I believe love is dependent on trust. This means that without trust, you cannot love.

Think about it. How can you go about marrying your partner if you don’t trust him or her to go out in the middle of the night to have an affair? How can you date someone who knows your Venmo password but at the same time, you’re constantly worried about him or her hacking into your bank account (also may be a bad idea in the first place).

Initially, I thought that this was always with a relationship with someone else (aka my exes) that I struggled to trust. I always blamed it on my past with guys cheating on me and letting me down. But in fact, I missed what was right in front of me.

To love others, I needed to love myself. And to love myself, I needed to trust myself – a trust that things would be okay, and that I could love myself.

It’s no secret that love exists. The thing is, you are never able fully love anyone because no one can fill your heart other than yourself.

It is only when your heart is filled that you can start to fill others.

If you want to start somewhere, and don’t know why you’re reading all these self-help and self-improvement articles but are not getting anywhere, start by trusting yourself. Trust the process that you are taking. Trust that you do have the ability to love yourself and others. Trust that someone out there will love you just as much as you do. Trust yourself so much that in times of need, instead of resorting to an ex or a current fling, you look at yourself, and say, “Hey, I’m going to be okay.”

Are long distance relationships worth it?

676 miles between us.
This equals 13 hours of driving (or 8.7 days of walking!)

I’m in Philadelphia and my boyfriend currently resides in Charleston. But this has not always been the case. Today marks 8 months of us being apart (physically).

Unless you start off on a dating site and find your significant other in a far away city or even country, going from being together 24/7 to once a month is a major transition that involves a lot of work, money, time on both parties.


One question I get a lot is, “Is it even worth it?”

Not going to lie, at first I was pretty pessimistic. I mean, you’re reading about a girl who literally required a good night cuddle to fall asleep every night. In addition to my needy self, I admit that I was jealous that I wasn’t the one moving – the one getting a fresh start in a new city. He was. He got a big promotion in his amazing company and a new field that he loved.

He was starting it in a city that ranked No. 1 U.S. city for the past seven years while I lived in a city that ranked the worst for sleep health(?!). I mean, c’mon.

Eventually, it took a physical toll. I tossed and tumbled in my sleep for weeks months on end. Aromatherapy, adult weight blankets, meditation, a warm shower before bed were initially successful but the effects never lasted. Leading my nightly sleep to average around 4 or 5 hours. (May be ‘normal’ to some, but to put it into perspective, if I get 8 hours of sleep I order a tall coffee from Starbucks while if I get half of that I need a Venti and possibly a good slap in the face by noon.)

I was sick of feeling that way – not just from the lack of sleep but from seeing couples walk by holding hands when the only thing in my hand was my iPhone, eating dinner alone, and not being able to enjoy a sunny day outside together.

My thoughts rapidly went from ‘man, long distance relationships are hard’ to ‘this long distance relationship is killing me.’

And by the third month, I wanted out.

I wanted out not because there were too many unresolved arguments between me and my boyfriend but because I became selfish.


If you’re currently in or are about to be in a long distance relationship, I urge you to ask: why are you really worried, and is the long distance relationship worth it?

For me, my trust for my boyfriend or myself never wavered. It was me saying “I can’t do this” before “this (long distance)” even began. Think about it: I slept great before I even met my boyfriend, why am I blaming him and his move for my lack of sleep?

My relationship CPR came from self-discovery and self-improvement practices that I carry to this day. It was from me passing couples all lovey dovey and knowing that I have a boyfriend who loves me just as much, Facetiming while cooking and eating dinner together, and being completely okay enjoying a sunny day outside by myself.

Are long distance relationships worth it?
Absolutely.

Fight for it. Fight for you and your partner – because distance is not why long distance relationships fail.

My transformation story – How I struggled with my body image

What’s wrong with me? Why am I not like her? Why am I like this?

These were my daily thoughts as I would mindlessly scroll through social media.

Believe it or not, research has it that we complain about 15 to 30 times a day or every 32 minutes that we’re awake. If that doesn’t make your mind spin a bit, it was estimated that 80% of our daily thoughts were negative and that such thoughts had toxic effects on our body. And this day and age, social media has propelled to this to be exponentially worse.

So many times I’ve failed to see what I had right in front of me because I was so busy wishing, ‘what if.’ And a huge chunk of those times it was about my body image. Each morning, I woke up dreading how I would look in the mirror and every night I would sleeplessly think about how I looked to others.

This post details the real, raw no-Photoshop truth of my story and how I got to be where I am today. I hesitated initially to even post these pictures publicly – yet alone look at them now. But I write this to shed light on how pictures are far from what they seem.

I write to let you know that you are not alone.


Let’s go back to 2011 when I was starting college at Penn. It’s crazy now how I can pinpoint a time in my life when things started to take a rough turn. But I was going through my photo album and the photo on the left is actually the ONLY picture I kept from my freshman year. And yes, it’s because I met Ashley from the Bachelorette that day and our shirts coincidentally matched. It’s the only picture I have because freshman 15 20 was real.

Speaking of Bachelor Nation, definitely on #teamDylan

On the right is a selfie I took after I went to the school gym … AFTER I binged on a family size bag of chips and Wawa candy in the span of an hour for five days straight, making an excuse of how I was super stressed about finals. I put on a fake smile, sucked my belly in as hard as I could and took that picture. The next day, I went back to binge eating.


Then comes the following year where I decided new me = new hair(?) It was an anxious year as I traveled solo to Korea by myself with really no other memories than feeling so self-conscious about my above average height and weight that I regretted the trip altogether. Still unclear why the standard size at Korean markets 44 (or US size 2)? But I actually remember catching myself Googling (or Naver-ing), “how to lose weight to look like a skinny Korean” once I came back from the trip. Ridiculous, right?


My senior year of undergrad was when I hit my peak weight. Although I never routinely weighed myself, I was embarrassed when getting my physical that year. My mom begs to differ but I thought the nurse practically shouted across the whole room my weight when I got off the scale. I cried for days, thinking I could never feel comfortable in my own skin. I went through senior year more confused than ever about where I wanted to go after college and who I was as a person – and I blamed that moment as the tipping point.

I wondered how people saw my life through what was posted on social media: did people think of me as successful, did I look pretty enough in certain photos, did I look too tall or fat, did I have any major life events that measured up to those of others? How I looked at myself was through the lens of those around me, leading me to a perpetual worry and desire for something more – and eventually losing the love of myself and my body.


This is me now. Okay, maybe a little less tan than this. But I am actually starting to feel comfortable in my body, my skin, my 5’11” unknown-weight self. Even the first pic of me where I ran with just a sports bra on – that was a first, ever!!!

No abs, no butt, no secret meal plan or strict fitness routine but when I go about my day today it doesn’t start with negative self-talk. In fact, I don’t think my weight has even changed much from my senior year! It’s just I can tell my mindset is different. Looking back, what hits me the hardest is knowing I had the ability all along to start the changes to get me to a better place.

Instilling confidence that I have this ability –
that’s what was (actually still is) my biggest struggle.


Take these daily affirmations with you as you go with your days forward:

  • Worrying and complaining change nothing.
  • When you’re trying to control too much, you enjoy too little.
  • You are good enough.
  • Trust me, you are not alone.

If there is one takeaway from this, I urge you to start here and today. If you’re feeling stuck in a place you don’t want to be in, this is your chance to figure out what you had all along. The secret is, the universe will not do it for you. You have to discover it.

Remember this. Even if you have a good reason to be angry or resentful at yourself, don’t. Channel your energy into thoughts and actions that actually benefit your life.
-Getting Back to Happy

Saying ‘no’ to self-hate

I am saying ‘no’ because you have ruined my relationships and have halted my progress in the current one. I am saying ‘no’ because too many times I have cried on the floor holding my chest, thinking that my heart would shatter if I didn’t. I am saying ‘no’ because there is more to life than you. 

I am saying ‘no’ to self-hate.


My name is Carol.

I am not a fitness guru or a social media influencer. I am your average Joe who has believed for most of her life that being skinny, rich and insta-famous were the ways to happiness – so that is exactly what I always strived to be.

Until yesterday. 

I was done. Fed up. Sick of the way my recent vacation ended. I could not look at my boyfriend’s face and tell him that I wanted to be there with him because the only thing I was focused on was how bad I felt about myself. All I wanted to do was to hole up and pity myself. I indeed indulged on one too many desserts and possibly a late-night cup ramen here and there but that was no excuse for treating him like I did.

It was disgusting; I was disgusted with myself.

But this was not the only time. There were many, many, many (^1000) times when I would feel this way and it would take an arm and a leg (and maybe another limb) to raise me back up to an ‘okay’ state.

This has to stop – and not just with me, but for everyone out there. For you, my future babies, your future (and current) babies but especially for you.

This blog is not to detail the perfect journey from how I came from a self-loathing grinch to a self-loving angel within a couple of weeks. It’s not a cheat sheet on answers to curing body-shaming or the pathway to happiness. It’s far from it.

It’s the raw truth of me – a 20-something-year-old girl still trying to find my identity and figure out who I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going and all the while trying to love myself in the process.


I encourage you this week to mark the number of times when you think the words “I look ugly” or “I look ______” (with a negative adjective there). Total them up. 

If it’s more than 0, start right here. Start with this blog. Join me every Monday, Thursday and Saturday (yes, three times in one week!) to discover (and love) a little more of you. Let’s go on this journey together.