Something my best friend – let’s call her Jessica Day – said to me around this time last year jumped into my mind (while I was cleaning the toilet, how very symbolic). And it being valentine’s day, it couldn’t be more fitting!
Picture the scene: it was about a year ago, right after someone had broken up with me and I was totally out of my body, panicking, crashing back down to what felt like square one. The relationship (if you can call it that) was never, ever right for me anyway – it was purely a source of validation and conditional at that. I came to realise it was one which was purely based on what I thought was ‘supposed’ to be right – because we had a few mutual interests. Oh honey, don’t fall into that trap. Anyway, my golden ticket out of the hole I’d promptly dived in after he broke up with me in a busy shopping centre Costa – of all places – was in the form of the following words:
“You don’t deserve that kind of energy. If he’s expecting you to be a certain way or to have to change for someone it is not right.”
I was sat on the bathroom floor like the disgusting cliche I am and those words literally hoisted me back up. Before that point I was scrambling around (I’m quite embarrassed to say) asking him to tell me that even if he had split up with me, that I was good. That there wasn’t anything wrong with me. But then Jessica told me that and I jumped up like I’d just been dunked in a bucket of ice water. In that sharp moment of realisation I knew that…
I am enough. I am absolutely complete. I don’t need anyone’s validation but my own. I don’t need anyone to tell me that I am worthy, because I know that I am. Honestly, if there were a lightbulb over my head at that moment I guarantee it would’ve exploded. I probably would’ve tripped the whole electrical system in the flat, Carrie-style.
But there’s no way I would have believed any of that before that moment. I grew up believing, learned from chronically digesting rom-coms in my youth (and a string of horrible boys no doubt), that love is something that must be earned. Love is something for which you have to perform. Love is where you lose yourself in order to find someone else. Where you become selfless, quite literally. Sadly, it’s often not until these ‘big’ moments in life happen when the penny finally drops.
So let this be a message to all y’all beautiful souls who find yourself sacrificing yourselves for love that you don’t need to do that anymore.
What if you believed that you as your own person, is the most beautiful thing you can be? What if I told you that getting to know (and then one day, because it does not happen overnight, love) yourself is the most precious gift of all? What if you truly, wholly believed that you were never incomplete, you were always whole and that anybody else who comes along will simply amplify your greatness? Hun, you would be an unstoppable force.
But as I just said, loving yourself isn’t accessible to everyone, yet. In fact, to someone who is feeling a little lost, having someone tell them to love themselves only sounds toxic and will backfire. What you have to start doing is simply be kinder to yourself. Talk to yourself how you would speak to a friend. Give yourself little presents now and again. Find the discipline to do the things you don’t want to do, but you know you should, little and often. That’s the biggest form of self-love – carving the path for your future self right here, right now.
Moreover, make time for yourself to be alone. Learn to be uncomfortable (and eventually, comfortable) in your own company, because then you will find that actually, it’s the best thing ever. And at the end of the day, you are the only constant in your own life, so being there for you is the most important role you could have.
And can I please give a shoutout to one of the best people on the planet – Jessica Day – who puts up with my shit and empowers me on the daily.