In the last 12 months I think I have had more moments of heart-wrenching, depressed, tear-filled, mind-numbing, desperate loneliness than ever before. Moments of burrowing under the covers and distracting with Netflix. Moments of starvation for lack of motivation to shop, cook, or talk to roommates in the kitchen; and because at least hunger was a different feeling. Moments of gorging on a bag of potato chips or brownies and ice cream because eating something was better than eating nothing. Moments of not reaching out to anyone because there wasn't really anything more to say. Moments of calling a friend who sat at the other end of the phone while I cried too hard to say anything anyway. Moments of desiring warm arms to wrap around me, with soft reassuring whispers in my ear. Moments of craving isolation to console myself the best way anyone could.
Amongst these I have also had many moments of laughter, fun, and love. But this isn't about those moments... at least not yet.
This is about learning to be my own best friend when I needed one most:
When I realized that, as much as I am an advocate for reaching out to others for support and talking through your feelings, I myself have a hard time doing so. Partly because I got used to being the one everyone came to and I didn't want to burden them with my stuff on top of their own. But I also realized that, likely due to past experiences, I have a difficult time trusting that my friends will be there in my time of need. So I suppressed a lot of my own stuff for awhile. Until I learned to be my own best friend. Writing out my feelings, fears, anxieties, and dreams in a journal or a song.
When one of my friends told me years ago that she thought it was a mistake to move away from most of my family and friends after some of those anxieties were fed and dreams shattered by the end of a relationship. But I knew that they would get over it long before my life felt normal again. And I couldn't be there to watch that happen; to wait until they had time and energy to sit through my rehashing of the story; to slowly pull away from the girl who struggled to smile and dream again. So I moved away, embracing new scenery and experiences, meeting new people. And learned to be my own best friend. Writing out my feelings, fears, anxieties and dreams in a journal or a song.
When - as a woman who has actually been, and enjoyed being, single and on my own more often than not - I didn't know what to do with the quiet desperation to be in a relationship that crept into the core of my being. Watching most of my friends find, thrive, and even fight through romantic relationships. Serving couples at the restaurant celebrating anniversaries or just date night, holding hands across the table. Knowing it's not all wine and roses, but wanting my turn to be served none-the-less. Yet, not wanting to be that girl, stifling the desire by escaping into my singleness. Re-discovering my enjoyment in being single, even when it's a struggle. Facing the question of who I was and who I wanted to be. All while learning to be my own best friend. Writing out my feelings, fears, anxieties and dreams in a journal or a blog.
The thing is, “...at the end of the day I had to learn to be my own best friend...” can be a saddening thought. How lonely does it sound that “...there's going to be days where no-one is going to be there for me but myself”?
But it can also be an empowering message!
To be your own best friend means that you know yourself well – you know what you like and what you need. You know how to console and support yourself, and when to do so. You know what will make you cry and what will make you laugh, and when to indulge in either or both. To be your own best friend means that you are willing and able to sit with yourself through the hard times and to celebrate the good times.
To be your own best friend means that you love yourself.
Learning to be my own best friend has been - and continues to be - a difficult yet wonderful journey to know and love myself!