Illustration: Erika Moen

I’m sneezing a bunch so that must mean SPRING FEVER IS HERE. If you’re feeling frisky, it’s time brush up on the greatest love of all, because in the immortal words of Ru Paul “IF YOU CAN’T LOVE YOURSELF, HOW IN THE HELL YOU GONNA LOVE SOMEONE ELSE? Can I get an Amen?” Yes Mama Ru, you shall get all the ‘amens.’ Self-love may sound geeky, but it’s where all your relationships with other people start and end. So if you want to get close to other people, you better start practicing self-love.

There are volumes and movies and songs written about how to practice self-love. Here’s a few ways that have aided me. Add your own in the comments...

1. Tell someone "no." Don't apologize for saying "no." If it's hard, watch #lemonade. Again and again.

2. Treat yourself right when you jerk off. Light a candle, run a bath, put on some Sade.

3. Maybe you aren’t exactly where you want to be right now. BUT, there’s no telling what the future holds for you. Have you noticed what LL Cool J’s been up to? That dude’s been a hardcore rapper, a movie star, and now he makes Channing Tatum dress up like Beyonce while pretending that he’s not sexualizing Chrissy Teigen (which he is, we all are, she’s a goddess). Just imagine if ‘L’ had stopped at just a movie star? Would we even want to live in that world? No, we wouldn’t. Which is why you gotta keep moving down your path and shining your light on the world.

4. Touch yourself. Not just your privates, all your parts. All your parts deserve touch. Have you touched your left knee lately? Skin to skin? Do it, right now. That’s a good knee right there.

5. Stop talking about how you’ll be happy when things change. It’s okay if you want some things to change, but save your breath for what’s good right now, what you’re grateful for right now.

6. If you’re asked to brag on yourself (like for a dating profile or bio), pretend you are your own Mom—but without all the mom-baggage/fears you might have about getting criticism from your actual Mom. This Mom is your own standard-Mom, but she has chip in her brain that does not allow her say anything that you might take personally. Go get em’, Your Mom!

7. Don’t put up with people treating you like garbage. In my younger days, I slept around a bit and despite my self-love, sometimes I’d hook up with people who didn’t treat me right. Not returning text messages, not giving a shit about my experience in bed, etc. And sometimes I’d internalize that rejection or create a story about why that person couldn’t connect with me. If you are now in the same position, let me tell you: there are a freaking INFINITE number of people to bang out there. If someone isn’t ready to meet you where you are... dip out.

8. When you dip out on someone/thing that doesn’t serve you. Dip out with your WHOLE SELF. Don’t continue to talk shit about that person to your friends, don’t think about them, and don’t write erotic fan fiction about them (ok, maybe a short one). Mourn if you need to. Do what you need to do, then cut that person, and the spot they occupy inside your soul/heart/body, LOOSE. We say goodbye to people to protect ourselves AND to make room for something good. The second half of that sentence is just as important as the first.

9. Change the way you talk about yourself. Don’t talk about yourself the way someone else would get slapped in the mouth for talking about you. Who would do the slapping? I would. So, stop talking shit.

10. Try and spend 5 minutes a day loving yourself in the same way Kanye loves Kanye.

Wishing you a blessed relationship with yourself (and dope springtime sex),