Instead of Seeking Comfort in Others, I’m Finding Comfort in Myself
I have been in many relationships — too many.
I would use them as a way to feel wanted and stable. Almost like, if I have a boyfriend, then I’m good. Then someone is always there for me.
But along my journey in life, I started to realize (or more like smacked in the face), that I lacked self-confidence. I was really unhappy with who I was.
So as fun as these relationships started out, they would soon become a toxic place for me to retreat to when all my insecurities started to surface.
I kept running to others and at one point other countries, for comfort and validation. I couldn’t fathom the thought of being alone.
But when my depression took a nasty turn for the worse around the time my last relationship ended, it was blatantly apparent that I needed to forgo boyfriends and repair the most important relationship in my life: the one with myself.
So I made a promise to myself: I would stay single for six months and work through my issues that affected my self-worth.
Well, I made that decision one year ago. And now, I can confidently say that when life gets hard, I find that I am turning inward instead of running to someone else for comfort.
Along this one year journey, I put in the work to really understand myself. I figured out my triggers, I took the time to discover the things in life I truly enjoy, and I worked through my self-confidence issues.
I’m not saying it’s perfect. There are definitely nights when I worry where my career is going and imagine how much easier things would be with a man by my side.
And I’m not knocking relationships either. There are definitely ways to work on yourself while in a relationship.
But for me, this is what I need. To do the work and feel complete when I’m alone.
With all this being said, I want to help you do the same. The path to where I am now was rocky as hell. I didn’t know what I was doing. I tested and failed. I tested again and failed.. again. I tested and then had a little sign of improvement. But finally, things clicked.
And here is what I did:
I made a promise, and I stuck to it
Ok, I basically almost stuck to it. I went on a few dates. But, that was never against the whole “stay single for six months” promise. Any form of a relationship never came to fruition.
But what’s most important to building security in yourself is realizing you’re worth keep a promise to.
Whether it be to stay single or to do the work every day; if you can’t keep a promise to yourself, you won’t be able to feel at home internally.
I accepted the bad times would come
There’s no point in living in a fantasy world. Things will be hard. You’ll slip up. You’ll cry. You’ll cry a lot.
But that’s the point of this journey — to feel all the emotions. Learning what makes you feel like shit and what makes you feel like you’re on cloud 9 is essential to this process.
You have to trust that you’ll be able to get yourself through the hard times and allow yourself to feel them.
I tried every form of self-care and wrote down the ones that worked
I used to assume I liked certain things: baths, hiking, face masks.
And while a face mask is what my skin needs sometimes, I don’t actually enjoy the process of doing those things. Baths make me sweaty, hikes hurt some of my old injuries, and face masks just… sit there on your face. There’s not much to enjoy.
So I took to really figuring out what put me in a better mood. Tools that I could employ when I was feeling insecure or lonely.
And now I know that drawing, writing, binging cheesy Netflix romcoms, or watching The Holiday will always put me in a better mood.
Those are my forms of self-care. Put in the time to figure out yours.
I stopped putting so much goddamn pressure on myself
I worried about what other people thought. I worried about where I was in life given my age. I worried about getting enough exercise while eating right while keeping in touch with friends while drinking enough water and putting in the work for my career change.
Just seeing the length of that paragraph seems overwhelming.
So I stopped. I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to be a certain way. I stopped being so hard on myself. I allowed myself a break.
Because if you’re going to be your own rock, that rock can’t be criticizing every aspect of your life.
I allowed myself rest
This goes hand in hand with the piece of advice above, but I allowed myself literal rest. Such as going to bed earlier, taking a day off the gym, or allowing myself to watch TV, so my mind wasn’t racing with thoughts about what was upsetting me.
Gifting yourself rest is a game-changer.
I still do the work; I know this isn’t the end
Just because I’m finally running back to myself for comfort, doesn’t mean the work is over. It’s easy to slip back into old habits. And to be honest, I don’t see myself ever stopping all of this.
You need to accept that this isn’t a program. This isn’t a 12-step guide. This is a lifestyle. This is a change in how you live your life.
You’re building a new secure home within yourself and maintaining it.
It took many years to dismantle the path to self-confidence that we’re all innately born with. Know that this process will take some time, and there’s no set right amount of time it will take.
But what will come will be worth a lifetime of work. Because finally running back into your own arms is a feeling nothing else can come close to.