I’ve spent a lot of my life just trying to be okay. Trying to feel content.
Contentment is an underrated desire, I think. It seems so small. So bland. Like it’s not enough.
But, contentment is defined as “a state of peaceful happiness.” We could all use more of that, right?
I have suffered the death of a loved one. I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve been lied to. The people I trusted most have abandoned me. I’ve felt empty. I’ve felt alone. I’ve been lost. You get my point.
I’m sure many of you have felt many or all of these things.
When I felt alone, it was gripping. It felt infinite and that’s what scared me the most.
The thought of a forever with this feeling was terrifying.
I wanted a fix. Anything to help me find my way to safety after the hurricane that rocked my world.
There was this void I desperately wanted to fill.
I took to Google in search of coping mechanisms. I sought out help from friends, family and anyone who was willing to try.
I received countless suggestions such as: writing it all down, talking it out, staying positive, living my life how she would have wanted me to, remembering how much she loved me, remembering how much everyone loves me, staying focused on school, finding a distraction, there are plenty of fish in the sea, etc.
A lot of those things did help. They opened doors, my mind and my heart. But I hadn’t figured out what I was opening to. They were distractions and they lost their magic. They couldn’t provide a sustained contentment, and that’s what I needed.
There are people who will help. People who care. But eventually, most of them come around less. And that’s hard as hell to deal with, but it’s also okay. It’s fair.
The truth is, people aren’t going to be there every single day to pick you up. And even if they were, I didn’t want to need that every step of the way. I wanted to be strong.
I realized that I needed to do something permanent. Something concrete. Something major.
I eventually learned that the love I needed was from myself.
I needed to fall in love with myself!
It was about me. It was something that no one could do for me. And it took me almost two years to figure that out. So, what did I do? And how did loving myself help ease the pain of these feelings of loss, loneliness and emptiness?
Before I really began to love myself, I had to get to know myself. I spent time with my thoughts.
I learned about what I truly like in life. What I love. What makes me smile and what makes me cry. I paid attention to everything. I listened to others. I formed opinions and practiced empathy.
I have become such good friends with myself.
I observed the world around me and imagined every tremble of a leaf as a piece of art.
Soon, the world began to look different. It’s as if everything I noticed was a little piece of life jumping out to say “hello” as it crossed my path.
I had always been a dreamer, but I had never given them the attention they deserved.
So, I changed that, too. I thought about my dreams and what I wanted out of life.
I came up with plans while never taking a single day for granted.
I started taking small steps and big steps and leaps towards what I wanted out of life.
All because I gave my ideas the attention they deserved.
Some ideas stuck while some drifted away. It didn’t matter. They were experiences.
Eventually, I craved time by myself. I would long for moments of solitude where I could reflect, meditate and grow.
The more I learned about myself, the better I felt.
I started to feel whole again. It happened slowly. So slowly that I hardly noticed it happening.
After months and months of learning and experiencing and sorting through life, I felt a peace I hadn’t felt in years. I had found the contentment I needed, and it felt so good.
Understanding myself gave me a sense of purpose in the world.
On nights alone, I am okay. I let my emotions come as they will. If I’m not okay, I work through it. And yes, I still reach out when I need it.
But, now I often think of my life and all the goodness that still exists. I refocus. I hone in on who I am. I find my light.
Once the connection with myself is re-gained, my breathing slows and my mind calms.
I’ve become the type of person who gets inspired by a rainstorm.
There’s this new appreciation for life within me that’s stemmed from an appreciation and understanding for myself.
I love myself. So much.
I treat myself with kindness, care and respect.
It’s a love stronger than any other love I’ve known.
I will always miss my mother. My heartbeat may quicken if I think too much about the ones who left me alone. But I’m not afraid of life anymore. I no longer live in fear of the unknown. We’re so quick to become overwhelmed with the fear of consequence.
But, what’s the point?
I have now. I have me. And I have too much exhilarated energy surging through my body to be afraid of what’s to come.
I have this big, beautiful, surprising life. So do you! So become your own friend. Let yourself be guided towards what you want and where you’re supposed to be.
I think that we find a comfort in our purpose. That a love and appreciation for our own lives makes our time on this planet easier.
It brings meaning to each day if for some reason you can’t find one.
It teaches us that we can go on. We can keep going through anything.
And while I may not have all the answers and I definitely have a lot more to learn about myself and the rest of the world, this is a start.
I know I can do this because I have me.
I am in love with me.
And I hope you love you.