Have you ever felt like you were meant for something more? Like you’ve just been on autopilot for years, trying to please everyone else around you, but never fully understanding who you are as a person?
As I look back over the years of my life, I think about all of the relationships that I have established. Starting from as early as kindergarten, I was always trying to make friends, some good, some maybe not so good for me. We didn’t necessarily have things in common, though it was hard finding but so many people who were like me. I knew this. I always wanted to feel accepted, like I fit in with the group. I would go out of my way to buy the trendiest clothes, begging my mom to take me shopping, while knowing she was already on a tight budget, divorced with two teenage daughters. I felt the need to start owning name brands, and listening to certain kinds of music that I wasn’t really sure I liked, but my “friends” liked them and that was all that mattered to me.
I look back at the boyfriends I had, and some were definitely not right for me. I noticed in those relationships that I was molding into this different version of myself, so that I could seem like the right fit for my significant other. I would talk different, act different, and push others out of my life, all to please the person I was with at the time. I see several variations of “me” over the years, it was not until a few years ago that I started to truly find myself.
At age 26, I was truly “single”, something that I had not known literally since I was age 16. I had hopped from relationship to relationship, from friendship to friendship, just trying to be good enough for someone else’s time, to be in their world. I ask myself now, what was that all for? Why was I seeking attention from others who did not share my values, or my dreams? I wonder if they even enjoyed my time, or maybe they too had not yet found themself. In that year, I decided that I was going to focus on me, and discovering who I am and who I wanted to be. I spent time solely on finding the things that made me happy. But what did make me happy? I took many impromptu beach trips to help discover this. I felt as ease by the ocean. I would go by myself on many occasions, and sometimes, I would just sit on the shore, contemplating my life and where I wanted it to lead. Other times, I would go to a more social setting, like an outdoor park or bar where I would make new friends. In that year, I spent more time on my hobbies, singing in public when I could, playing volleyball, and of course visiting as many beaches as I possibly could. I became more active in my volunteer efforts, and joined a recreational gym. I did see my friends and family during that year when I could, but mentally, I just wanted to be alone. This was a necessity for me, which contributed to finally realizing who I am and what made me happy.
See, we have to do this in order to feel fulfilled in our lives. We will not be able to truly make others happy in life if we are not happy within ourselves. I wanted my partner and my friends to love me for exactly who I was, not realizing that all those years, I didn’t even know who that was. Some may look at all the time that I spent alone working on myself and my hobbies as selfish, but just understand that it is never selfish to take time for you. I discovered myself in that year not even realizing it. I met my husband towards the end of that year, and I have never been happier. I notice that I am truly happy in my relationship now because I can identify myself in it. I can identify my role and my unique personality, and I have really come to love who I am now, and the person that I recognize when I look into the mirror. I love knowing that I can make someone else happy just by being myself. Now this doesn’t mean that we should become set in our ways and stop striving for improvement, but knowing who we are and who we want to be in life will help us to move forward in life. When I have a new goal, I know exactly what capabilities I have of achieving it, and that is a wonderful feeling.
If you currently feel like I did in those past relationships, even if you are in one of those relationships today, take some time to meditate and ponder over who you are and who you want to be. Spend some time each week to focus on what makes you happy and no one else. I hope what you get out of this is knowing how you fit into your partner’s world or your friends’ worlds, and how you can positively impact others. I hope that you truly feel happier with yourself, or at least know what you need to do in order to achieve that happiness.
I now feel like a better “me”, so it is never too late to be a better you.