I remember sitting on my bed, face flushed with frustration and heart pounding with anxiety. My sweat-soaked hands picked up my phone, and I FaceTimed my older sister. I told her everything with hot tears streaming down my eyes and a snotty nose — about how I’d been feeling lonely and that I was never good enough, and that no matter how nice or caring I was I would always get hurt in my friendships. My sister reassured me that it’s normal to feel that way, and she’d been through it too. Then she said, “sometimes you have to love yourself and your own company and start spending time on yourself; your happiness shouldn’t depend on other people.”
When my sister said that, my tears stopped flowing and I realized that as much as I thought I loved myself, maybe I don’t love myself so much if my happiness depends on other people.
I’ve always struggled with friendships. I could have a BFF, but then they either hurt me or betray me in some way. Or, I would make a really cool friend and they’d distance themself from me or not make as much of an effort to hang out with me or talk to me as I did with them. I always tried to force it to work, and it was always a one-sided friendship.
Throughout my frustration, I never realized that I looked for my happiness in other people. This is just as some people in society depend on others for their happiness, and don’t really love themselves, instead of enjoying our own company and being okay activities on our own. We get sad or angry about not having people to do those activities with or not having people to simply connect with. This is a really dangerous mindset — to always think we can’t have fun or enjoy life without other people around.
This is especially relevant during the age of social media when we’re more distant than ever despite being able to communicate more efficiently now. We can feel really lonely, and I know that as humans we have primal instincts to want human connection.
Sometimes, not all of us can gain that human connection with other people. That is okay and that’s where self-love steps in. Loneliness might not be the best feeling, but sometimes connecting with yourself and learning to enjoy life with yourself is fine too. Sometimes you only have yourself to depend on. Overall, self-love is important because before you can truly be happy and content especially with others, you have to love yourself first.