Losing yourself should never be the price of not being alone. — Sarah lyons
Even if everybody else leaves, you’ll always have you. So love yourself first, because that’s who you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.
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Back in the pre-internet era, it was really hard to meet new people because connecting with someone outside of your immediate neighbours meant walking long distances spanning several weeks or even months.
But with the advent of social media and technological advancements in the field of transport and communication, it has become very easy to always be surrounded by people both physically and virtually.
We’ve become so used to being surrounded by people, that we have forgotten how to be alone by ourselves.
We feel like not having someone around means there’s something wrong with us, something’s missing in our lives. Any moment that we find ourselves alone in, fills us with panic and fear to the point where we prefer being with the wrong people rather than ending up alone. That’s why we get trapped in toxic relationships — our fear of never finding anyone else and ending up alone makes us hold on to whatever, whoever is standing in front of us in spite of knowing the relationship does more harm than good. We cling to bad friends, abusive partners and toxic people because we’d rather have them than no one.
When you’re not happy with yourself, you don't enjoy your own company and come from a place of insecurity, neediness and dependency which spirals into an unhealthy approach to relationships. Nobody wants to be stuck with a leech that sucks their time and energy eventually leaving them drained.
But how do you escape this?
How do you let go of the wrong people without feeling lonely while you wait for the right ones?
By learning to enjoy our own company. Because once we learn to be okay with being by ourselves, we get into this mindset of — alone is better than wrong people. You don't need anyone to validate or complete you. Once you learn to eat alone you stop hanging around people who don't appreciate what you bring to the table. And how do you do that?
Here’s How —
Stop Relationship Hopping
Don’t use another person as an excuse to escape the problems you have with yourselves.
Stop jumping from one relationship to another merely because all your friends are dating and you don’t want to end up the odd one out sitting in a corner alone. Not being in a relationship does not mean you’re incomplete or unworthy of love. Just because you don’t have someone now, does not mean you’ll never have anyone. Stop letting the fear of being alone push you from one relationship to another without stopping to take a breather.
Actionable Step — Take a break from your relationship to focus on yourself. If you’re single, wait, invest in yourself, learn to enjoy your own company before you start dating someone.
If you really want to learn to enjoy your own company, you have to spend more time with yourself. And the best way to do that is to stop relationship hopping and give yourself the time to work on the relationship that you have with yourself.
Work On The Relationship You Have With Yourself
Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have. — Robert Holden
From the day you’re born to the day you die, the one person who’s always going to be there with you through thick and thin, sick and sin is you. And if you don’t love yourself, you’ll spend the rest of your life drowning in your own toxicity.
How you treat yourself, how you view yourself spills out into how others treat you. If you don’t love yourself and find yourself unworthy of being loved, you allow yourself to settle for far less than you deserve. You let people get away with treating you badly because you don’t realise you deserve better.
Therefore it’s really important to hold yourself up to a higher standard and view yourself in a more loving light by being there for yourself instead of always fighting against yourself.
Be your own best friend. Take care of your mental health and well-being. Approach yourself with grace and gentleness. Make sure it comes from a place of love and appreciation rather than criticism and sabotaging.
Actionable Step — Observe how you talk to yourself — the words, the voice, the tone and ensure it’s warm and friendly.
The more you love yourself, the less tolerant you’ll be of people who don’t.
Get In-Tune With Yourself
Self-Awareness is the first step towards Self-Acceptance which is a prerequisite to Self-Love.
Becoming your own best friend comes with getting in-tune with yourself, being aware of your triggers, behaviours, likes, dislikes, fears, motives, needs, desire and dreams. Find what you want, who you are, what drives you, what holds you back. Talk to yourself, journal, meditate, think out loud, write, do whatever it takes to lean in into yourself, dive into the depths of what makes you-you to discover the treasures buried within yourself.
You won’t always find treasure, sometimes you’ll find crabs and poisonous weeds — the things you dislike about yourself. And that’s a good thing too — Finding what’s lacking, where you’re going wrong is the first step in making it right. This will propel you into the world of self-improvement, personal development, working on yourself.
Actionable Step — Work with some self-awareness exercises like journaling prompts or guided meditations to start observing your thought patterns and learn how to channel them creatively.
Work On Yourself
Find ways to walk around the walls you can’t climb.
Now that you know your triggers, fears and mindsets holding you back, it’s time to change them. Maybe you’re procrastinating on going to the gym because you hate working out in a cramped space with so many people watching. Maybe you’re not working on your book because you’re scared of what others will think of it.
Take online courses, watch Youtube videos, read blogs, books, listen to podcasts to improve in the areas of your life you need to work on. Build better habits, create your own daily rituals, learn time management skills, and take one step towards building a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Use this time to gently nudge yourself towards becoming the best version of yourself.
Actionable Step — Enrol in a class or an online course, start reading a blog or a book on the topic you’re working on.
Try New Things
Better an oops than a what if. If you never try, you’ll never know. — Anonymous.
Go out there, try new adventures, read different books, meet new people, take up unusual hobbies, visit unexplored places. Trying new things does not always mean going bungee jumping or scuba diving (although that’s great too!), sometimes it means making simple modifications to your current lifestyle to bring more joy and fulfilment in your life.
If you don’t like going to the gym, try yoga, running, skipping, Zumba, biking, rocking climbing, hiking — there is a plethora of choices.
If you’re not motivated enough to write a book, try starting a blog instead.
If you’re not happy with your appearance, style your hair differently, try different outfit colours, patterns and combinations, wear quirky accessories — Experiment.
Actionable Step — Try one new thing every day — a new book, a new restaurant, or even a new country if you’re willing to go that far. Literally and figuratively.
The more you experiment, the closer you get to finding what sets your soul on fire.
Say Yes To New Experiences And Opportunities
This is tied up to the previous point. In order to try new things, you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and throw yourself in the face of the opportunities passing by.
There are so many opportunities in life we miss out on because we think we’re not good enough or don't have enough time. Grab the steering wheel from the hands of fear and give a direction to your life.
Do the things you’ve never done before. Visit the places you’ve never heard of. Face your fears. Challenge yourself to accomplish things you never thought you could do.
Actionable Step — Read a book from a different genre, try a cuisine you’ve never heard of, watch movies/documentaries on a topic you know nothing about.
Not having a significant other does not have to stop you from going out. Treat yourself like you’re in a relationship with yourself — go out on a date. Solo. It might feel awkward at first especially if you’re worried about what other people will think but with time you’ll realise it is one of the most liberating experiences.
Moreover, people are far too busy in their own worlds with their own partners to gossip and care about you showing up alone. If you don’t believe me, look up ‘spotlight effect’ on Google and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Going out alone gives you a lot of freedom to choose where you want to go, how you want to spend your time, what you want to do, how long do you want to be there without having to take anybody else’s preferences into consideration. You can make this all about you and your choices without worrying about being selfish or disrespectful towards anybody else’s needs.
Actionable Step — Take yourself out on a date this weekend. Grab your favourite book and head out to a cosy cafe, go sunbathing on a beautiful beach or have dinner in your favourite multicuisine restaurant.
Go where your heart takes you, without taking anyone else along.
Build An Independent Identity
Don’t lose yourself while trying to hold on to somebody else.
Often we are consumed in a relationship, devoting ourselves to our partner’s needs that we forget our own. We give so much of ourselves to others, there’s nothing left for ourself. We depend on our partner emotionally, physically, and/or financially to a point where we put ourselves on the backburner to make them the centre of our world. You start deriving your worth and sense of meaning from them which puts you in a constant threat of losing them. You make them your home so the moment they leave, you’re rendered homeless.
“Because if you base your self-worth on what everyone else thinks of you, you hand all your power over to other people and become dependent on a source outside of yourself for validation. Then you wind up chasing after something you have no control over, and should that something suddenly place its focus somewhere else, or change its mind and decide you’re no longer very interesting, you end up with a full-blown identity crisis.” — Jen Sincero
Use this time to build an independent identity. Find a sense of meaning and fulfilment outside the relationship. Build your self-esteem up to a point where you don’t need anybody else to come and validate your worth. You don’t need a guy to make you happy, complete you or call you beautiful. You are a beautiful, happy and complete person by yourself.
Actionable Step — Take a course, read books or watch videos that teach you to love and honour yourself. Practice self-esteem building exercises to gain a sense of confidence and high self-worth.
Relationships are about adding value not determining it.
Chase Dreams, Not Guys
We all have dreams, goals and ambitions in life. And if you don’t, now is the best time to set them. Journal about how your ideal life would look like, find what you want in life, where you wanna go, what you want to do, where you want to live, what kind of people you want to surround yourself with — have something to work towards.
So many people out there fail to balance their time between work and relationships, eventually messing up both. Make efficient use of the time you have on your hands to work on building your ideal career and life.
Actionable Step — Make a five/two year plan, set realistic goals and make an action plan to achieve them.
Challenge yourself to take one step towards your goals every single day.
“So many books, so little time.” ― Frank Zappa
There’s an abundance of amazing content out there — books, blogs, magazines, videos, documentaries, movies, podcasts yada yada yada and what better way to fill your time than immersing yourself in these beautiful creations?
Actionable Step — Watch a movie, read a book, listen to a podcast, consume till you have no more space to accommodate new information and then…
I‘m not here to fit into your world, I'm here to create my own. — Unknown
Find your medium of expression and let the creative juices flow — Singing, Dancing, Writing, Drawing, Sculpting — the world is your stage. Own it. And before you know it, you’ll be on your way towards creative fulfilment and artistic liberation.
Actionable Step — Entice the artist within by flexing your creative muscle for at least one hour every day. Create something, anything — drawing, poem, a story, a dance routine, a song — anything that tints this world with your own unique hue.
Strengthen Your Friendships
Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. — Eleanor Roosevelt
Reconnect with your old friends or make new ones. It’s easy to make friends online but I’d suggest — go out there, attend interesting events that take place around your city, find like-minded people and bond with them face-to-face, eye-to-eye — it’s a lot better than just texting or Facetiming someone.
And once you find good friends, take efforts to keep them. Ask them about their day, be there for them, be supportive and kind. Work on building strengthening your bond and adding value to each other’s life.
Actionable Step — Strike up a conversation with someone at an interesting event. Make time in your schedule to catch up with your friends at least once a week.
Know Your Worth
When someone treats you like you’re just one of many options help them narrow their choice by removing yourself from the equation.
Know your worth and value yourself enough to walk away from those who don’t. Promise this to yourself before jumping into any relationship —
If he doesn’t respond when I reach out to him, if he’s unavailable every time I need him, if he doesn’t make an effort to understand where I’m coming from and where I want to go, if he does not appreciate me for who I’m becoming along the way, if he does not love me enough to contribute towards making things better, I will love myself enough to hold the door open for him to walk out of my life. And if I realize my well-being and happiness lies in the places he’s holding me back from reaching, I will cut off every tie that binds me to him and walk straight towards bliss. I promise.