When I first posted on this blog, and even before that when I would start to publically pronounce that I was becoming more confident within myself and was starting to discover my own journey to self love, it was received with such warm, friendly and positive feedback. I am so thankful for every kind word, as this is still a terrifying process for me in so many ways. This said, it saddens me that I have also been told many times that I am only able to find this happiness within myself because "you have a boyfriend." I've been told things such as "its easy for you to love yourself because somebody else does", "you don't get it because you have a boyfriend" and "so what if you don't like that about yourself, you've already got a boyfriend." I hated these comments so much, because they almost discredited my own journey to happiness, and suggested that the only reason someone could like the way that they look is if somebody else found them sexually attractive.
When I started this blog, yes I was in a relationship, but like most things in life, plans change and not all relationships last forever. It would of course be foolish of me to try and claim that the person I spent almost three years with had no impact on my self confidence journey- of course he did. His words carried me through some of my darkest moments, and his love for and his confidence in me helped fix parts of myself that I didn't even want to admit were broken. He defied what I thought was possible, and he made me want to care about myself, he encouraged me to like the person that I am and he taught me that even my flaws are loveable, and for this I will always be thankful to him. He will always be one of the most important people in my life, and I know that we will always be there for each other, as we still are now. It is also okay to admit that I will miss his confidence in me, that I will miss having him there like he was before to talk to when I'm having one of those days where I can't even stand to look in the mirror. Missing someone and being thankful for their part in your journey is okay, as long as you can realise within yourself that your happiness is not dependent upon them, that your view of yourself and your love for yourself does not change just because theirs might have done. His love and his belief in me were an amazingly wonderful added bonus to my life and to my journey to self love, but I know now that they were in no means the foundations upon which I built my own confidence and my own love for myself; both physically and mentally.
Everybody feels alone at times, and it is so easy to shape your image of your own self worth upon such loneliness and to second guess yourself when things don't work out the way you planned. It is also okay to accept your own fault, I'm not suggesting that you will always love the things you've done or the words that you say, it is okay to make mistakes, I certainly have, but allowing such mistakes to determine who you are as a person is not okay. You may not like yourself temporarily, but reflect, build bridges and try to move on and learn from things, and always remember that you are still worthy of your own love and admiration. Don't let yourself wallow.
This is not to say at all that by being in a relationship you cannot find true happiness! I loved every moment of being in a relationship, and won't let any experience turn my views on relationships, love or anything that you want to include in that kind of bracket, bitter or remorseful. As long as you are happy and have the knowledge that you are you regardless of your relationship status, then you should be so proud of yourself.
I don't like the idea that any of my friends would feel that they have to be in a relationship, or have somebody else's attention to justify loving themselves and to be able to say that they are happy in life. This time last year I thought that my happiness was dependent on such things, and it left me shattered, to the point that I pulled myself apart and almost drove myself crazy wandering what was wrong with me but so right with her ("almost" being a subjective term depending on if you were me or those watching me fall apart😳...) It was from my lowest point due to so many things in my life at the time, where I felt my loneliest and for the sake of "word to word satisfaction"; where I did not have a boyfriend, that I decided to find my own happiness and to love myself unconditionally, so that I could always rely on myself. Its hard, of course it is, and there are still days where all I want to hear is that certain someone tell me that I'm doing well, that they're proud of me and that the love is still there somehow, but on those days I can now look in the mirror and tell myself that I'm doing well, that I am proud of myself and that some loves are better as unconditional friendships, and that I love myself, and that that love is never going to change.
Perhaps its a cliché, but you cannot find happiness with someone else unless you first discover who you are, give yourself time to be yourself and learn to find happiness within yourself with just being you. Do not let your happiness depend on other people, or one other person; you may never find it. For me, I think this reflects in the picture I have chosen to pair with this piece, as its a photo of me at dinner with a friend, not a boyfriend, and although my hair is crooked, my eyebrows are not how I necessarily like them to look, my hands look incredibly awkward on my fork, and my grin is beyond goofy; I not only look happy, but I remember how happy I felt that night, just being me with a friend; and this for me is important as I am smiling here and have had my photo taken while I am eating- something that would usually freak me out and panic me more than I can explain. For me this photo is progress, and its happiness within myself on a journey that I started for myself, and that I will continue to follow for nobody but myself.
We can be our own source of happiness and love, so go out and find yourself, and be your own everything.