Don't Try To Run Away From Yourself

Don't Try To Run Away From Yourself

"Happiness isn't a location. Home isn't four walls."
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When I was 16, I wanted to run away from myself. I remember not being able to sleep at night, wishing I could slip out my window and just go. I had no idea where I wanted to run to, or how this would exactly fix my problems, but I remember wishing I could disappear more times than I was happy to be around.

I thought it was just because my friends were taking different paths than I was, or that I was realizing my “first love” relationship was probably coming to an end soon and I wasn’t ready to let go, or that I was just being a typical melodramatic angsty teenager. Although all these were part of the reason for my discontent, the ultimate reason was that I just didn’t like myself. And when I wanted to run away, I wanted to run away from myself, not everyone else.

I was really lucky that my mindset changed early because I still see people trying to run away from themselves in their twenties. It wasn’t an immediate process; a lot of factors played into my changed perspective and went into completely changing my life.

First, I personally realized I couldn’t continue hating myself forever. I needed to find all the things I liked about myself and capitalize on them, and then I had to find all the things I hated about myself and find peace with them. Sometimes it’s still a struggle; I think I’m a little too talkative and loud, sometimes I don’t think before I speak and I’m overall very attentive, almost to the point where I am needy. But today, it blows my mind that there was a time I used to lay awake at night and think it made sense that I felt so lonely, or that I deserved to feel lonely. I can’t believe I ever thought I didn’t deserve unconditional love.

Second, people came into my life and made me never want to leave their sides. Again, because I didn’t think I deserved unconditional love when it came to friends, I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. When were they going to get sick of me? When were they going to realize I wasn’t someone they wanted to be around? When were they ultimately going to abandon me? This was something that had become a little bit of a pattern when I was very young, and I had grown to expect. But then I made these friends, and they were kind and funny and accepting and loving. And people can’t fix you, but they sure made me want to fix myself. I dropped my hang-ups and never in a million years would I expect them to not be there for me. I’m lucky enough to have friends both from my hometown and my college, whose love and affection I never doubt. It made me realize that not only I’m an incredibly blessed, but that sometimes we think we have wanderlust because we’re looking for the right place to fix all our problems, but really we’re just looking for the right people.

Finally, I met some people who wanted to run away from themselves, and it made me realize how ridiculous the whole thing was. I loved people who didn’t love themselves, who thought moving far away would change not only their lives but their outlook on themselves and their situations. I couldn’t grasp why someone I loved so much wouldn’t love himself or herself, and I couldn’t grasp why they thought changing their location would solve all their issues. I knew it wouldn’t work, and I was right. Watching them make this mistake made me realize I never wanted to make the same mistake again.

Happiness isn’t a location. It’s knowing that you deserve the best, and having the strength and self-respect to fight for it. It’s being unequivocally you and being proud of it. Home isn’t four walls. It’s the sound of someone’s laughter. It’s the guarantee that you have someone to run to even if you are thousands of miles away.

It’s great to have wanderlust and to see the world. It’s great to want to move far away to experience something new. But these things won’t change who you are. These things won’t make you happy, unless you’re happy with the fact that you will always be taking yourself with you. You can live in your hometown your whole live, or you can move all over the world, but none of it matters if you aren’t happy.

Cover Image Credit: Jolie Delia

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Being Ugly

What it means to me

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Due to a series of ongoing events throughout my semester, I've reconsidered what it means for someone to truly be ugly. Though it is often used in terms of appearance, I do not see it as such-- now more than ever. Ugliness runs deeper than appearance-- it runs within one's soul and festers into other areas of one's life, particularly in their treatment of others.

I view ugliness as someone's conscious capacity and implementation of malice. Taking time and energy out of your day to hurt someone else, that's what I view as ugly. Some offenses are more minor than others, however, it is still a conscious effort to hurt or affect someone else negatively-- and that's the source of the problem. I truly wonder what causes that sort of behavior in someone, as I, along with most people, simply do not invest time or energy into hating or plotting against others. It seems like a full-time job.

I can theorize all sorts of reasons as to why someone would act this way: hate, jealousy, vengeance, etc. Yet, all of these reasons don't hit the root reason. It almost seems that some people are just innately ugly in their soul. This alludes to the timeless debate of whether one's personality is due to nature or nurture. Again, although our surroundings and environment do have a large effect in our behavior, that alibi only goes so far when multiple people are placed in the same environment, in the same situation, and only some are willing to cross moral boundaries in order to hurt the others. Just because an environment applies pressure to people, does not mean everyone is going to act out in malice, and it certainly does not give everyone an excuse to do so. Some people are simply conniving and, well, ugly inside.

If you have ever encountered people like this, I know from personal experience that it is such a drag. You have an enemy, essentially, whether you chose to or not, however based on their hatred towards you, they are now considered an enemy, a hater, and any other associated term. Know that they will do anything in their power to bring you down, even if it requires bending the truth and creating elaborate schemes, but you have to keep on doing you. Let them obsess over ways to bring you down. At the end of the day, their time and energy is being invested into bringing you down, while yours is being used to build yourself up. They will fall by default. So, keep your head high, act in grace, and make your money. They can sip on their Haterade and watch from below.

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