Relationship Advice That Has Nothing to do With the Other Person
Guys, This Applies to You Too!
Starting freshman year of college single after a deeply invested, six-month relationship really got me thinking about what I am truly looking for in a relationship. And the answer? Myself. So many times, I have fallen short by putting so much focus into someone else that I forgot to still hold expectations and goals for myself. Post-breakup, I found myself with an identity crisis because I invested so much of my image, time, and dreams into my boyfriend. I let myself believe that my value was through someone else: how he viewed me and how I let others view me (as if the title of “his girlfriend” reassured my self-worth). There’s nothing wrong with being deeply invested, but I was forgetting to invest in myself for myself. I let go of self-love because I forgot how to love myself since I had prioritized loving someone else first. Resultantly, my ambitions and excitement for the future began to fade. I had decided that I no longer wanted to go to K-State (shockingly, because I was beyond excited to bleed purple), and I begged my mom to let me go to the community college. Luckily, she knew it was an ironic cop out—running away from my problems by choosing to stay and live at home—and started writing the packing list, despite my pleas. So then I decided I was going to drop recruitment, even though I talked endlessly about how I couldn’t wait to be in a sorority throughout my entire senior year of high school. I decided I didn’t care about finally meeting my roommate anymore—a girl that had become my best friend through eight months of facetime, snapchat and text. I decided I didn’t know if Biology was something I was passionate about anymore and questioned if it should still be my major. In fact, I was questioning what passions I wanted to follow in general. However, the biggest red flag was when I decided I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror anymore, and that moment of looking myself in the eyes was when I knew I had lost myself through my relationship.
So, why am I sharing the most vulnerable weeks of my summer with an audience of strangers, knowing full well that my ex-boyfriend might see this? Well first, I figured if I had to go through an emotional break up, I would at least make a profit off of it with an article. Second, this article has nothing to do with my ex-boyfriend, despite the topic. This article is about me, leading to my third reason to share advice that needs to be heard. Whether you’re looking for, starting, or are in a relationship, remember that you are dating two people: the other person and yourself.
While you support them and he/she supports you, are you supporting yourself? While you compliment them and he/she compliments you, are you complimenting yourself? While you respect them and he/she respects you, are you respecting yourself? While you spoil them and he/she spoils you, are you spoiling yourself? While you love them and he/she loves you, are you loving yourself? Even while single, self-love can be hard, but it can be easier to approach if you view it as “dating yourself.” Hype yourself up when you’re feeling attractive and especially in the moments you don’t feel your best. Keep dreaming about the future you want to share with yourself. And the most amazing part about this advice? You can “date yourself” when you’re single, when you’re in a relationship and when things are just complicated.
When the summer was over, I moved to K-State, joined a sorority, and signed up for more clubs than my schedule allowed. I overwhelmed my time with activities and people to reconnect myself with my passions. I met with multiple advisors about studying abroad in Spain next summer, reestablishing my ambitions and re-dreaming a future that’s all mine. I told myself I deserved “that extra cup of coffee” and swiped my debit card a few times too many, leading me to write the article “How I Spent $1,000 in My First Two Weeks of College” (a shameless plug). Maybe I prioritized self-love over money management, but it’s teaching me responsible self-love, even if I’m learning from my mistakes. Self-love is a process. There’s no “end” you can reach. It’s trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zones. It’s the little things you can do daily and the big leaps you can encourage yourself to take. My goal for myself isn’t to find a hundred percent of self-confidence because I’m human, and that isn’t realistic. My goal is to be the healthiest version of myself—something I’m continually working towards. I want to be someone who puts her mental health first, reminds herself that she’s proud of the accomplishments, knows who she is and where she wants to go in life, and has unconditional love and forgiveness for herself and others around her. I want my happiness and self-security to be independent from those around me because it should come from within. Sadly, no relationship is ever guaranteed a happy ending, but a healthy mindset of unconditional self-love ensures that you know someone always has your back.
Now, being able to look into the mirror and say I have found that “someone” within myself is empowering, and that moment of looking myself in the eyes was when I knew I had found myself again because I was learning how to “date myself.”