I Love Myself

There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve wasted a significant portion of your life with someone who doesn’t, and never did make you happy. Break ups always suck, but it’s even more frustrating when you realise you should’ve left far earlier.

About two years ago now, I was in a relationship where we did not bring out the best in each other. Next to no common interests and incompatible personalities made for very limited activities beyond fooling around, and movie watching.

At 16, I was at a very insecure phase of my life. The fact that this guy flattered and doted on me 24/7 was probably the major contributing factor to our longevity. When you really want a boyfriend, it’s amazing the things you can overlook. This boy was nice, but he had none of the qualities I appreciate in my friends, such as an adventurous, outgoing nature, or those of my Dream Future Husband. I don’t think you have to want to marry someone to date them, but I fail to comprehend the sense in wasting time in a companionship you know will come to a dead-end in time.

To add to all this, as he was the only person I saw on a regular basis, I drifted away from my friends. The relationship consumed all of my spare time and isolated me from everyone else in my life. It did not fix my loneliness, and no matter how much he adored me, it was not enough to make me love and accept myself.

As a testament to the futility on relying on someone else for your self-worth, during the last months of our relationship I developed what I now see as quite probably an eating disorder. I counted calories religiously, exercised to the point of exhaustion daily, and my mind was fixated almost solely on losing weight. And at the cost of my already fragile social life and mental health, lose weight I did. With single-minded determination, I lost about one-fifth of my body weight in a matter of weeks. I was always cold, had brittle nails, as well as being constantly tired and aching. Despite having someone constantly reminding me of how ‘perfect’ I was, I still hated my body. Self love can’t come from anyone else. I’m not saying that it doesn’t help having someone be positive about you and your looks, but when you’re alone, you realise what your true feelings are.

This sounds really horrible, but right from the first month we started dating I found myself questioning why I was with him. He embarrassed and annoyed me constantly. But, he was also there for me, which was a new and quite enjoyable experience for me. I wanted to end things, but was scared to be without someone who cared for me as much as him. It became 100% one-sided, and when I could no longer force out the words ‘I love you’, or even kiss him, we agreed to break up. I was 17 and all alone.

After we broke up, I got pretty depressed because I’d made too many people second priority for too long. I’d never been close with my family, so I spent a lot of time by myself at first. I didn’t know what to do with all my free time, and had to relearn the importance of maintaining friendships.

Over a year of fabulous, freeing single-dom followed. I kissed lots of boys, enjoyed my own company, achieved excellent grades at school, and got closer with friends that had drifted away. I’ve grown far more than I ever did in my stifling relationship. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that you should never base your self-worth on someone else’s appreciation of you. Know what you deserve in a partner and don’t settle for second best. Nobody is perfect, but as I now know, differences can be complementary and make things interesting. Life is too short to be with someone who doesn’t bring out the best in you.

During the time I was single, I gained back all my lost weight, which I have kept on, and although I still dislike aspects of my looks, I know I am healthy. Now in a new relationship, I make a conscious effort to not get too absorbed in him and make time for other people. It’s hard, but we’re both busy which helps keep things in balance. Yes, there are fights (as anyone who has read my blog will know), but the positives far outweigh the negatives right now.

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