For a very long time, I believed I was supposed to fall in love young, marry that love as soon as I graduated high school and move from my parent's house right into a home with him. Living alone was never in my plans until one day I was single and nineteen with a good career and suddenly it was. The first morning waking up alone in my own apartment was a very uncomfortable feeling for me. Growing up in a house with five other people meant there was never a single second to feel alone. As a teenager I would often lock myself in my bedroom downstairs or "dungeon" as my parents called it, just to get some quiet. That first morning alone in my apartment; nobody came into my room to wake me up, nobody was in the kitchen or living room to say good morning to me. I had to make breakfast alone, then eat alone and get ready with nobody to fight over the bathroom with. I enjoyed the extra quiet in my life but feeling lonely was a very new feeling for me.
When you start to rely on other people to give you what you are missing you lose yourself. Eventually, that's exactly what happened. I'll spare you the details and leave it at, I became so focused on finding a man for myself that I very quickly lost a sense of my worth. I don't like the word desperate but that's what I had become. Desperate for someone to come home to at the end of each day, for someone to wake up next to. The biggest thing though was how desperate I was for someone to talk to, to sit down and spill every detail of my day with. I became so desperate for an emotional connection that I found myself ignoring all the red flags that came up in every guy that was giving me any bit of attention. The good thing for me though was at some point that gets old. Any bit of attention just isn't enough anymore because you know damn well you deserve someone who will give you every ounce of their attention. Once I got angry enough at them for using me and even more angry at myself for allowing them to do such, I was done.
Talk about uncomfortable. Realizing you've always relied on someone else to fill your emotional needs. For the first time ever, it really was just me and learning how to be in a relationship with myself was probably one of the hardest things I've had to figure out. My therapist told me once "If it's uncomfortable for you to be with you imagine how uncomfortable it is for other people to be." That has undoubtedly been one of the most important lessons I have learned. I don't quite have this relationship with myself all the way figured out and it's my biggest challenge most days. I've discovered three important things I can do when being with me gets difficult.
When I kicked those toxic relationships to the curb, I was still struggling with feeling alone. Wanting so badly to share all the good and bad parts of my day with someone, I started praying. I very quickly discovered how great of a listener God is and questioned why the heck I didn't talk to Him this often sooner. At times I felt like my prayers were so dumb like I was using Him for things that were so very small. But I kept praying and the more I did the more I realized how badly God wants me to use Him, to rely on Him for even the smallest of things.
You learn a lot about who you are in moments you can be vulnerable with yourself. These moments for me are the ones where I am sweating buckets and nearly in tears. One part of me screaming to give up and the other part screaming you've got this. Learning how to change the attitude of the voice that was screaming give up was crucial in surviving other life challenges. Running has been slowly strengthening me physically but mentally and emotionally it has quickly worked wonders.
Laugh, cry, curse or whatever else you need to do. Be emotional with yourself and pay attention to what it is making you feel those emotions. What makes you laugh so hard that your stomach hurts? What makes you hurt so bad that you cry? What makes you so angry that you scream at the top of your lungs? Without anyone else influencing those emotions, when it’s just you alone; what makes you feel something?
Being in a relationship with yourself is a difficult but beautiful thing. Learning how to truly love yourself and rely on only you for your happiness will change your life.