'WHEN I'M NOT WITH YOU, I'M NOT ME'

There is an unspoken expectance in society that to be happy, to have the ‘dream’ life, you need a companion - a husband, a wife, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a significant other. to some extent, this can be true - humans instinctively tend to like company, and it’s instinctual to want to find a mate and to reproduce. someday I hope to find ‘true love’, to get married, have children, have a family of my own. but what i’ve been thinking about recently and what I wanted to try and put into words, is that in our society from such a young age there is this ‘ideal’ that is imposed on so many young people, at a time when they are at their most influential. of course, almost all of the primary school ‘crushes’ and ‘who do you fancy’’s and even ‘relationships’ are harmless, but there is a flip-side where children are growing up believing that if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend you’re ‘popular’ or ’cool’, or that only the people who do, are. I can only really speak from a female perspective, and apologise for the one-sidedness, but I’ve watched and been aware that so many girls grow to seek attention and self-validation from males; thinking that it will make them socially accepted, or worse, it being their only source of self-worth and validation, their subconscious telling them that this is what makes them beautiful or liked. That without it, they’re nothing.

It’s a known saying: ‘you need to love yourself before you can love anyone else’, and the more I get older, the more I realise it’s truth. 

It’s so damaging to seek self-worth and confidence from someone else, because if that relationship crumbles, you’ll be left, undistracted, from all of your overwhelming insecurities. Left with the reality that yes, one relationship might have dissipated and left you broken, but in truth you were already broken inside. It’s that relationship, the one with yourself, that is the one that needs fixed. The only one that can properly heal the pain you feel inside. Except, for most, the heartbreak of one relationship, the external one, masks the internal problem. What do we do in response? Naturally, we try to heal, but through further distraction, latching on to another human being as soon as we can, craving the love that’s lacking within yourself. A safety blanket, hiding your internal heartbreak so well. giving you the warmth and the security in such a toxic, blinding way, wrapping you up and making you believe that everything’s okay.

Take time to think about your relationships with others, and how you feel when you’re not around them. if you feel like you can’t go lengths of time without someone without feeling anxious about what they’re doing, or not knowing what to do with yourself, know and try to accept that’s its not okay, and it’s not healthy. people joke about ‘clingy girlfriends’ and ‘controlling boyfriends’, but the sad truth is that there is most likely an underlying reason for the way they act - often due to insecurity or lack of self-love. A relationship should bring out your best, but you shouldn’t only be your best when you’re with them. A relationship means growing and learning together, and from each other. A relationship isn’t for constant buoyancy, for validation, as you try to distract from the raging ocean inside of you, the voices telling yourself you aren’t pretty, or loved, or good enough. Yes, relationships are for support, for love and for care - but there is a difference between that and not being able to stand on your own and love yourself, no matter what. 

There is nothing wrong with a significant other in your life bringing you happiness. But fuck what society says about dating, about virginity, about marriage, about having children before a certain age. Don’t feel pressured by your friends telling you to get on tinder or feel like you have something to prove on a night out. Don’t listen to your parents or grandparents asking about your love life, or when they’ll get to meet their grandchildren. Know that your self-love and happiness is the most important, and that feeling comfortable in your own skin comes first. there’s no rush. relationships will come, when the time is right.