In the last 5 months I have asked many girls, “Why is it important to be your own friend first?” Each time there are answers ranging from, “you can’t be nice to other people if you are not nice to yourself” and “how are you supposed to like other people if you’re mad at yourself all of the time?”

Girls Inc. friends

As an adult I find it hard to remember the importance of being your own friend first. There are so many other things to keep us preoccupied: careers, bills, taking care of family members, laundry, and cooking, just to name a few.

However, one of the greatest lessons I am learning is that if you are not your own friend first you are not doing anyone else in your life a favor. Being your own friend first means taking care of you and learning about who you are as a person and not what society has labeled you to be. I idolize our First Lady, Mrs. Obama because she is a successful advocate for women to “be their own friend first.” When interviewed Mrs. Obama always explains that if she did not take the time to exercise, read, or enjoy her friends she would not be the successful wife and mother that she is.

Ultimately, in the month that celebrates both love and black history we should follow our first African American First Lady’s example and take care of ourselves. Once we love our true selves think how much more love we can spread to others. On this Valentine’s Day I challenge each of you to do something good for yourself; treat yourself as you would your friends!