I’ve been sitting here scrolling through Ted Talks on YouTube trying to find the video that brought today’s Quote of the Day. If you watch my Instagram stories, you’ve already heard some of this. As I said there, I’m much better with written word, so I had to sit down and write out my thoughts on this topic.
“Personal growth has to be intentional.”
In the past, I spent so much time with people that I thought would make me happy. I depended on other people to make me happy. When I was alone, I was unhappy. Why is nobody texting/calling/Tweeting? I expected the mere physical presence of another human being to change my mindset in those moments. I hated being alone, and it took a lot of soul searching for me to learn that alone and lonely are two completely different things. Alone is a physicality; loneliness is an idea. You can be alone without being lonely, just as you can feel lonely when you’re not alone.
I so desperately wanted to be the fun girl, the fun drunk, the fun anything. I wanted to fit in with everyone, and I wanted every single person to like me. I let my happiness rely on that popularity that I thought I had. Wanna know a secret? It means nothing. Being “fun” doesn’t get me out of bed in the morning or give me patience at work; being “popular” at seventeen didn’t help me build the relationship that I would eventually need to have with myself.
Of course, I do still want to be fun and have fun in certain situations; just not in the reckless, co-dependent way that I used to.
I spent quite a bit of time in my solitude wondering when the loneliness was going to come; and when it didn’t, I knew I was free. I knew I was comfortable enough in my own company to no longer depend on anything else to give me that happiness I was always looking for. The problem wasn’t the search itself but in the direction the search was facing. I was pointing at the people around me shouting “Why aren’t you making me happy?” when I should have pointed in the mirror and asked “How can I make you happy?”
I have so many answers to that question now. There are workouts, books, poems, soulmate hugs, dances around the living room. Those are all things that make me happy, but it took a lot of wrong’s to make those right. I had to go to the places I didn’t feel comfortable in with people that I didn’t feel at home with. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it over and over again, but I had to claw through a lot of darkness to find this light. Darkness is so much more than just a shadow; it’s a physical, weighted force.
Now that I’m here, now that I got myself here, I see the amount of work it took to find this place. And I’ll never stop talking about and gratifying it. I’ll never stop believing in it because it did save me from myself; but it has to be intentional. It has to come from within. We have to stop turning to our significant other or our best friend, and we have to turn inward.
Be unbearably happy with yourself, and then be happy with the people around you.