As a birthday post, I have decided to share a few lessons I’ve learned over the past two years:
I was dating a guy in December but decided to end things in January when I realized I did not want to be in a relationship (with anyone) or even date. A couple of years ago I realized I did not need physical attention to feel good about myself, but I still struggled emotionally. All of Fall, I actively dated and it was tiresome. It took me a while, but in January, I realized being in a relationship was actually the opposite of what I wanted. Not sure when it happened, but it just hit me, I do not need any type of attention from men to feel sure of myself. It was a new feeling knowing I do not need approval through romance and attention from men to feel confident – it was euphoric. I wanted to just do me, appreciate myself, and have alone time. It was amazing how good I felt once I made that decision. 2016 has been beautiful so far and a lot of it has to do with choosing to just focus on myself and experience life the way I want to. I am not saying the single life is the life I want forever, I would love to be in a loving relationship someday – I just knew I needed to take time to be 100% single for a while. I desperately needed the alone time and I am so glad I did because the first two months immediately following that decision were full of bliss and I am now living a life of contentment.
Be Selfish/Say No
I have always put others first. If you know me, you know I am a people pleaser. I’ve made myself anxious over it, I’ve cried a million tears, I’ve lost myself and I’ve been unhappy because I always felt like I could not say no to people. I made it a habit to always be there for others and because that is how I felt like my friends knew me, I did not want to fail them by changing. I wanted to make sure people were always happy and would do everything I could to give them what they asked for – no matter how exhausted I was, I would always say yes to others. No matter how uncomfortable I felt, I would say yes. I finally had enough and decided to start saying no. I lost many “friends” but friends do not fill your life with negativity, take advantage of you or walk away because you said no. Being selfish and saying no has led to a life of calmness and joy. The friends I have now are true friends. They treat me with the same respect I treat them and it is equal. Know that it is okay to say no. It is necessary to say no. It is healthy to say no. Selfish people always annoyed me and I made sure to not be like them or to abuse people, but it is the arrogant and extremely selfish type of person I do not like. The goal is to find a balance in being selfish and selfless. It is possible.
Love Yourself First
I am sure you’ve heard, love yourself before you love another. Accepting yourself will make you happier – that I know. When you love yourself, the life around you changes. Your perspective changes. You welcome so much more positive energy into your life. You live a fuller life and you experience a whole different kind of happiness. When you love yourself, you glow – you stand tall – really, you do. You are sure of yourself. Anxiety and self-torture will virtually disappear. You know what it is you deserve and you will not settle. Love yourself and you’ll love the life you live. Do not confuse self-love with self-absorbed. One is pure and healthy, the other is tainted and haughty.
Try New Things
You never know what you will love (or hate) until you try new things. Face your fears. Get over your fears. You will be surprised to find out what you will end up enjoying. Life is full of adventures – do not stop living.
Do Not Take Life For Granted
My grandparents came from nothing and fought battles every single day of their lives so that their offspring can live a blessed life. My grandparents worked harder each and every day and refused to settle and never quit. It made me realize how I have not appreciated life as much as I should. Because of them and my parents, I live an easy life and I did not have to work at it. With that, it breaks my heart because I have realized that I have taken my life for granted. I absolutely love and am thankful for the life I live, but I need to work harder and make my grandparents proud. Yes they love me, but I want them to know I appreciate all that they did for me. The day after my 25th birthday, my father shared my grandma’s life story to my cousin and I and it was a truly emotional moment. My grandma was fierce and I hope to be as fearless and headstrong when I have children – the battles she fought as a child and as a parent are unfathomable.
Listen To Your Parents
“But you don’t understand. Life is different!” Yes, the experiences may not be exact, but many are similar. I learned that sooner or later, my parents are right. At least more so than not. Yes, live your life and learn your lessons – but know for the most part, they have valid concerns. My mom would always tell me I am a fish in a small aquarium. All I can see is what I am swimming towards and so desperately want, but she can see my life from the outside the fish bowl. She can see what it is happening to me when I can’t – she can see what is at the end of my swim. They can see far more than I can and even though I, at times, want them to be very wrong, they usually end up being right. It can be extremely frustrating but they want the best for you.
Be Friends With The Opposite Sex
Male friends are pure. When you are close to a guy friend with no romantic (or sexual) interest, there is a completely different kind of care and love from them. They treat you with respect (as all men should), they listen to you, they tell you what you deserve and they are brutally honest when you are being a little bitch and need to get over yourself. They do not care about drama and will not repeat anything you say – they just don’t care to gossip. Plus a male’s point of view is completely different from that of a girl’s and they help you better understand anything you might be going through.
Not All Girls Are Catty/Untrustworthy
As someone who has been stabbed in the back by plenty of girls, it took me a while to get close to girls again. That is actually one reason to why I learned to appreciate a male’s friendship. However, I knew I needed females in my life as friends and chose to trust again. Men are fantastic friends, but they are not female. Female friendship is necessary – they inspire you, push you, and welcome your crazy. With trial and error, I learned not all girls are catty or untrustworthy. You just have to find the right ones. My girl friends now are the greatest friends I have ever had. I have never been one to have more than two best friends but now I have seven solid girl friends I am close to. We do not have to talk everyday, but when we do, we pick up exactly where we left off. If something is going badly, they are there for you in a split second. Other than two of them, they are each individually my best friends and they are each different from the other. That being said, each friendship is the same in the fact that we do not fight or argue over little things – or ever really, we are all accepting, we listen, we are honest – sometimes brutally, and we love. I love my best friends. Give girls a chance.