If there is anything that I've learned about love, I've learned that it hurts. I've learned that sometimes, you can give someone all you have, and still find yourself feeling hollow and empty. I've learned that love is a curse and a blessing, all rolled into one. Most importantly, I learned that we often love everyone else in the world more than we love ourselves, and that is not okay.
I know the concept of mistaking comfort for love better than anyone. I grew up in a family of five, with people to rely on, always. The feeling of dependency and having someone there to take care of me and pick me up when I fall was something that my body was so used to. I always knew that I had a safety net to fall back on if I did anything wrong or risky. But it wasn't before long that I realized not every safety net is permanent.
At some point, you have to grow up and build your own.
I realized this at once as soon as I left my permanent home for college, and once again when I replaced them with someone very dear to me. It happens. You replace the love your family gives you with people you find in college. This phenomenon is healthy and normal until it transforms into one big bubble of emotional needs and romantic gestures. I had a dependency that would hurt me in the long run, and thankfully I realized it because it was too late. I used to strongly believe that comfort and love were the same. A part of me still does. But the more comfortable you are with being by yourself, the less you rely on other people to show you what you're worth.
Self-love is a difficult concept and majority of us are not very good at it. But what self-love teaches you is that when you love yourself for exactly who you are, your flaws, your strengths, everything combined, you give set yourself a standard for the love you receive. Give yourself the time and space to discover what really makes your heart beat, what makes you happy, and what your purpose on this Earth really is. None of these questions are easy to answer, which is what makes self-love so hard to attain. But if I've learned anything about being comfortable with myself, it is that it starts at your very core. Your ability to say no to the things you don't want, your ability to keep it together when a very dear person to you leaves your life.
Comfort and love are two mutually exclusive things, but they do go hand in hand. If I was never as comfortable as I was with my partner, then I wouldn't have felt the connection I did. But when I got too comfortable, I stopped taking care of myself. I stopped worrying about what I wanted. All my "I"s turned into "we"s and I found myself struggling to even make the simplest of decisions. All in all, comfort is great. It reminds us of home and lets us be whoever we are with no judgments. But when comfort turns into complacency, we stop thinking for ourselves and that can be more detrimental to our existence than we think.