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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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.

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Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?

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