giving yourself what you need

when i was in high school, i often made friends with those considered to be “outcast.”

my best friend throughout all of my school years and even into college was the most popular kid in school. she was the best athlete, the prettiest girl, and an all around great person.

every girl wanted to be her friend. every guy wanted to date her. and i was just, her best friend.

i loved being her friend. i’m still her friend, to this day. but i’d be lying if i always enjoyed all of the attention she got and simultaneously all of the attention i got as her friend.

and that’s what high school looked like for me.

but i always felt fake. i never felt like i fully fit into her world. i spend most of my time with her, but i never fully fit in with her people.

i was part of the athletes and jocks, and i fit in okay there; but i was also friends with kids who smoked or skated or drank. i was friends with the popular kids, but also the choir kids who felt like they weren’t cool enough for the cool crowd. some of my friends were super “normal”, while others were depressed as shit (lol same).

one reason i was friends with everyone and fit into all sorts of social groups was because i was, and still am, accepting of everyone, regardless of social status, extracurricular activity, or academic group they were involved in. super great trait, 10/10 would recommend being kind to everyone.

the other reason was that i needed the affirmation that i was good or smart or funny or athletic or cool. i never felt cool, but i was an athlete. the kids who weren’t athletes saw me as their way into the cool crowd. the kids who were athletes made fun of me for enjoying poetry or academics or choir.

i felt like i fit in everywhere, so i felt like i fit in nowhere.

and high school was hard for me.

(probably because i overexerted myself and thought i was an extrovert, when in reality i was just a constantly burnt out introvert who needed all the alone time and never got any of it. yay for unhealthy coping mechanisms, amirite?)

but someone recently told me, “what you are asking from others is something you are depriving yourself of.”

what you are asking from others is something you are depriving yourself of.

those words hit me like a ton of bricks.

because what if, what if, what if i really needed that affirmation from others back in high school because i wasn’t giving myself the love and confidence i truly needed? what if i was looking to other kids to think i was cool because i didn’t actually think i was cool?

as someone who’s notoriously overly-independent, it was hard for me to accept that i was still looking to other people to give myself the things i need in order to be whole, healthy, and my best self.

there’s this concept called self healing. basically, it’s a fancy term for saying we can heal from doing the work ourselves.

think about the time you were a kid and fell on the playground. you probably scraped up your knee — your childhood must have been boring if you didn’t.

i remember one time i took literally a chunk of skin out of my knee. it bled profusely for awhile, and then eventually clotted and scabbed over. but the point of the story isn’t to remind you of your painful moments of your childhood.

if you actually pay attention to the way your body responds to a cut, you’ll notice that it does this miraculous thing where it stops its own bleeding (sometimes with a little help but we all need a little help sometimes), and then it covers up the wound. eventually, it grows its own skin over the top of the wound and literally heals itself.

this is self healing.

our body literally doing the work for itself. it is giving itself what it needs to heal.

and the same goes with all of our shit.

we need to be willing to give ourselves everything that we need in order to heal.

when you are looking to people to make you feel cared for, are you doing everything you should be to take care of yourself?

when you are looking to other people to make you feel loved, are you giving yourself enough love today?

when you are looking to people because you feel lonely, are you nurturing the parts of you that feel empty? are you truly filling yourself full of you?

when you feel ugly and don’t like the way your body looks, are you reminding yourself of all that your body is truly capable of?

we need to be willing to give ourselves everything that we need in order to heal.

i think life would be easier that way. i’ve always found that it’s a lot easier to do things yourself than look to other people to give you things, especially when they don’t know what they’re supposed to be giving you.

i have a lot i could say on this. and someday i will. but that’s really just going off on a whole new tangent we don’t need to get after right now.

ultimately, i just want to remind you of this:

when our muscles are sore, we stretch them.

when we are tired, we rest.

when we are hungry, we find something to eat.

when we are in need, we can fulfill that need.

giving yourself what you need allows for better relationships, stronger friendships, and a more authentic way of life. it allows you to be confident, it allows you to know your strengths and weaknesses, and it pushes you to step into yourself in ways you never thought possible.

when i was in high school, i would have loved to have been confident in the fact that i was a ball player and i also wrote poetry. i would never have imagined a day where i was comfortable speaking into a microphone and sharing my experiences on the internet.

i would have never dreamed of a day where i would be confident enough to teach people about the things that i know, because i never saw value in what i know and have experienced.

high school me would have never imagined i’d be who i am today. in fact, i wouldn’t have wanted a lot of it. but one thing 16 year old me didn’t know was that i didn’t have to live like i was. that there were more options than the one future i imagined for myself.

when i started to care for myself like i expected or wanted other people in my life to care for me, i started stepping into this world as someone who was loved, not someone who was scarred. i started showing up as someone who was smart, not someone who was confused. i started walking into job interviews and watching employers fight for higher pay because i am confident in what i am capable of and willing to bring things to the table that can teach others to be better at their jobs, too.

loving myself and giving myself what i need has not only made me more marketable; but it has made me more confident, it has made me kinder, and it has made me better.

you need all of the love this world has to offer. you deserve all of the love you could possible ever receive. start here. start now. give it to yourself.

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