I Learned The Most About Myself, While Being By Myself

I Learned The Most About Myself, While Being By Myself

Being alone doesn't mean you're lonely.
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Sure, this quote is so cliché, "you learn the most about yourself while being by yourself" and I absolutely hate cliché sayings, however I'm going to have to reiterate this one and dedicate an entire article to it in hope for everyone to understand there are positive aspects of being alone that many people overlook.

I learned to like/appreciate alone time

I used to always think I was the most myself while in a big group or with my close friends or my significant other, which all may be true cases, however, I lacked spending time with myself and realizing I can appreciate myself with others not around too. In my last relationship, I constantly wanted to spend time with my partner which didn't always work out. In this case, it was easy to get down on myself and feel lonely, or when all my friends would say they're busy I would sometimes take it personally. I've just recently had the realization that I don't always have to be doing something to be happy. In fact, since spending more time on my own I realized I am comfortable with science and don't need the voice of others to keep me company. I appreciate the moments now when I can just plan my own day and live it without the worrying of what others may be doing. There are so many activities that involve major me time that I didn't appreciate while being in a relationship, like going for runs, listening to music, taking baths, and writing.

I learned to appreciate my friends more

As nice as it is having a boyfriend/girlfriend, it is much nicer surround yourself with friends. Your friends are the people who literally put up with all your crap and still chose to spend time with you, compliment you, and make sure you are at your best always. While boyfriends and girlfriends can do all those things there is still a major difference between the relationship a friend can offer. Being in a relationship it is so easy to spend the majority of your free time together and even though it might not seem like it, we put our friends to the side when it comes to dividing our time with one another. This is one of the things I regret most out of my past relationships. I didn't realize I was doing it in the moment but I will admit I chose my relationships over my friends in many situations and I wish I didn't. I wish I would have focused more time with my friends creating memories while we're still young because I have the rest of my life to find a man to live with and spend my life with. Friendships are so important especially at a young age because there are so many fun things to do that only friends can share the moments with. I want to look back at photos and memories when I'm old and see my friends to bring back the good memories not see my ex-boyfriends and bring back bad ones and feel awkward. I now appreciate how patient my friends have been with me as I never liked to listen to them and take their advice, trust me when I say your friends really do know best. I appreciate the times I would vent to them about all my problems and they would listen for hours. I appreciate all their extra effort they would put into making me feel better because of stupid boys and I realize how annoying I may have been but this all is just another reminder of how much my friends care about me and how lucky I am.

I learned to love myself more

Being in a relationship it is so easy to rely on your significant other and hope they give you love and affection but sometimes that fades and when it does it sucks. It sucks relying on someone to boost your self-confidence and no one should have to rely on anyone in that way. The best way to boost self-confidence is simply by promoting self-love. I've learned that no matter who has walked in and walked out of my life I will no longer let anyone affect the way that I feel about myself. It's easy to think certain ways about ourselves because of the things other people say to us or the way they treat us, but that is a crazy way of living life. I've learned we should live our lives to please only ourselves because at the end of the day that is who will be there for you. In life, there is so much pressure to fit a certain standard and my mind has now completely squashed that Idea. The only standard I want to fit is my own, no boys, no girls just my own. In fact, I don't even have certain standards that I now want to make because I respect myself enough to know what I deserve. I love the way I look at life and the views I have especially more so now that I have no one to disagree with them, or at least I won't allow anyone to. Loving yourself is 100 percent not selfish and 100 percent necessary to live life happy.

I learned I am mature for my age which is a blessing and a curse

I think I've always had a leader type personality, and in a relationship, this can be looked down on. Ending relationships is never fun, the encounters are awkward and exes try and make each other jealous however this was never my forte. I was taught to always love people and to never hate and I carried that over into my relationships and ending of them as well. Coming out of my relationships, I've learned not everyone has the same mindset I do and situations have been blown out of proportion because of hate and jealousy and basically just an immature way of handling things. It sucks being so mature for my age because I then get mocked and laughed at by people my age, not many people my age handle things in the way I do but I know I am handling things in the right way. Even though I don't get to make sassy comments and say things that are funny and immature I am proud of how I handle issues and carry myself.

I learned I don't need someone else to live my life happily

It's always nice to have someone to tell everything to, to cuddle up to, and to do life with, but if you haven't found the right person for you yet that's OK too. I always depend on people too much and like attention but I'm starting to realize I don't need the attention of others to feel happy and worth something. I like being able to do things on my own, work on my own and make myself proud. It's nice to tell people how proud I am of myself and it doesn't have to be a significant other I have realized. I know I have a great support system of friends and family and now even from myself feeling the most confident I have been in a while. I feel as if though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders now that I don't rely on anyone else or have to constantly keep up with someone who wasn't trying to keep up with me. I am proud of the person I have become and I am happy to learn even more about myself and especially learn to love myself before I love anyone else.

Cover Image Credit: Sierra Gardner

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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No, PrEP Shouldn't Be Used As A Replacement For Condoms

PrEP has signified a whole new level of options for safer sex. But should guys trust it enough to give up condoms?

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For over thirty years, medical experts have been searching for a cure to the AIDS virus. While a cure still hasn't seen the light of day, a new prescription drug has provided another option for safer sex.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the daily dosage of Truvada®, a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine (two HIV medicines). It can only be prescribed by a health care professional and is intended for those at a higher risk for contracting HIV.

"Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%," according to the CDC website. "Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%."

With such a bold, new development in HIV prevention, it obviously arises debate from all sides. One of the most interesting questions to come up since the arrival of PrEP, is whether or not it can be used instead of a condom. The CDC website clears this up as well, stating that the risk lowers, even more, when PrEP is combined with condoms.

Upon hearing this, one might wonder why an individual would take such a risk by not using a condom. It is often said that sex without a condom feels better. I can understand this point, but I think an important question needs to be asked in response. That question being, is a one-time hookup with someone you care very little for worth the risk? If God forbid you contracted HIV from a casual encounter, would you honestly feel that it was worth it? Would you kick yourself for not going a bit further and making sure all your bases were covered?

The Zakar Twins mentioned another reason some men don't want to use condoms in addition to PrEP. In their podcast, MyTwin Chat, they claim it is such a hassle to put on a condom and often kills the mood. This is a point that I have a hard time taking seriously. In the eighties and nineties, condoms were the only option people had to protect themselves. Yet, they still managed to have plenty of hot sex using them.

A claim like this also reeks of laziness and unawareness. Real life is not like a porn scene. So many things can happen during sex that can kill the mood, even without a condom. Sometimes shit happens, literally and figuratively. One partner might need to switch positions because they're uncomfortable. Maybe one partner has to stop to use the bathroom. Sex can be clumsy sometimes and it's often imperfect. This is a reality we can't avoid.

Young gay men of today are quite disconnected from the struggles gay men went through in the years when AIDS was called "gay cancer." People in their twenties don't know what it feels like to watch all of their friends die one by one. They don't know what it feels like to be told on their deathbed that they deserve this because they chose a devilish lifestyle. They don't know what it feels like to fight for treatment and medical testing. All we know is a world where AIDS is no longer a death sentence and hookups are at our literal fingertips. So it's no surprise to me that many people take that progress for granted. Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? No.

We should have all our bases covered before engaging in a sexual act. We should have the self-worth to turn someone down if they're not on board with that. We should remember how we got to where we are today and not take it for granted. Self-care, self-worth, and self-reflection. Those are three simple tools to enrich your life as well as your sex life.

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