People seem to be taught from a young age that the culmination of their existence will be achieved when they find love and have their ‘happy ending’. Well this is an unrealistic ideal, and completely inaccurate. Why not focus on the important things instead, like building your career, or living your best life with your friends?
I swear relationship red flags should be a topic that is taught in school. It’s less than ideal when you weren’t aware of such things and you develop a tendency to attract every narcissist, sociopath and psychopath within a five mile radius. Regardless, I’ve since been educated by the miracle of experience. I think it is important to express gratitude regularly. I have never felt such inner strength, happiness and contentment as I do right now. I am so grateful for all of my experiences, including the negative ones. They have truly shaped the person I am today.
So here are seven things I have recently learned that I would tell my younger self, if I had the chance:
- Trust your instinct
If something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. Anxiety is your body’s way of telling you something is not right. It is an instinct which has been a part of the human anatomy since humans were primates. It is used to sense danger. Do not ignore this. If you are in a situation that is causing you anxiety that you never had before, get out. Your body and mind are very advanced, do not ever let anyone tell you it is your own mental health problems that are to blame. Do not doubt yourself. You survived perfectly fine before and you will be perfectly fine again.
- Appreciate your friends
I have only just recently grown to truly appreciate my friends. I always loved them, but in the past six months I have fell in love with their loyalty, support and attitude. Women are truly the strongest and most precious things we have on this planet and I am so glad to be one, and to have so many amazing ones around me. Listen to these people, they know what’s best. Hearing an outside perspective and actually considering it, rather than being in denial is such an imperative move. Don’t hide things you suspect are wrong from friends. I stopped doing this with one particular friend and I am so glad I did because she was able to offer a trustable outside perspective, whilst I was being told I was imagining things. If it wasn’t for her I believe I’d still be stuck.
- Do not doubt yourself
Nobody knows you better than you, no matter how much they claim to. It is difficult when someone who is supposed to love you repeatedly tells you that your perception of reality is completely wrong. Being consistently told that your needs are wrong or too much can really make a person doubt themselves too. If a person is evidently uninterested in your needs, just leave. There is no point sticking around waiting to see if they will become interested in your needs. They either care, or they don’t. Just remember, you know yourself, you know what’s real and you know what isn’t.
- Never ever forget who you are
Trying to be a certain way to keep someone happy is damaging to an infinite extent. Doing this is so detrimental to the health it leaves you feeling like a shell of your former self. Something that has really motivated me lately has been how much I feel like Hollie again. My nearest and dearest have told me of the change they have seen in me. I have went back to being me after I really thought she was lost. I lost my sense of self to the anxiety and depression I had been experiencing. Don’t live your life on an emotional rollercoaster led by another person’s mood. It will be thoroughly draining.
- Forgive yourself
You can take all of the blame as much as you want it still won’t fix a bad situation. The most important yet difficult lesson is learning to forgive yourself. It’s so much easier to turn inward and beat yourself up about everything, especially when you’ve been involved with a person who readily encourages you to do this, only so that they don’t have to take any accountability for their own actions. Not realising sooner, or staying too long is not a flaw. It shows you cared and were being loyal, and that is an extremely positive attribute. Be kind to yourself and good things will come. You, like all of the other loving and genuine people out there deserve happiness and should never settle for any less.
- The only person you ever truly need is you
It’s strange how a person can convince another to believe they need them. You do not need anyone. This isn’t to say break off all connections with loved ones. Healthy relationships with others enrich your existence, but everything you ever need, or will need, you have right within yourself. It may feel like you need a person now and survival would be difficult, or perhaps impossible without them, but this belief is an illusion which can be used as a basis to maintain control. For this reason, it’s easy to feel stuck in a situation, especially if you have been ground down until you feel dependent.
- Know your worth
It is challenging to realise your worth when your self esteem has taken a battering. I found my worth by looking at my friends and my family. When everything was going to shit, I looked around me and saw all of these happy, friendly faces who genuinely loved me for who I am. They pulled me out of such a dark place and I would never be able to express my gratitude for that in words.
Sometimes when you’re in it, it seems like a dark place you’ll never escape from, but you’ll make it and be so glad you kept going. Be proud of yourself always, you are stronger than you will ever appreciate. Spend your time with people who make your mind calm, not those who cause you to overthink. Do not ever let someone tell you it is all you. You know deep down what you deserve and don’t ever settle for less. Everything you need is within. There is no urgency or necessity to ‘make things work’, as soon as something doesn’t feel right or it doesn’t make you happy, get the f*ck out.