I consider myself a pretty self-aware person, but I’m often unable to recognize my own bad behavior until after I’m out of a given situation. After one too many failed relationships, however, I started to realize a pattern I had that was ruining things time and time again. Turns out, I should have spent more time focusing on my independence rather than trying to find a boyfriend.
I could never do anything alone. I’m talking anything. There were times I wanted to go a certain restaurant or make a two-hour drive to another city but everyone I knew was busy. Instead of doing it anyway, I’d just sit at home and kind-of sulk around because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I should’ve thrown away that mindset and done it anyway. You can’t rely on others for your own happiness and it took me way too long to realize that and really internalize it.
I let my parents do way too much for me. Thinking back on this now almost makes me shudder and get a little embarrassed. My parents paid for a ton, cooked and cleaned for me almost all the time, and went way over the top to take care of what I needed. I appreciate this more than they’ll ever know, but there should’ve been more of a balance in that relationship. In reality, I should’ve been offering to help out with those simple things more because it wasn’t like it was a burden for me to do so and I really needed to learn how to look after myself.
I didn’t take the time to learn how to do many household/life tasks. This one fits right in with the one before. By letting my parents do so much for me, I didn’t learn things I should have. Laundry wasn’t learned until midway through college and neither was cooking (which I learned that I love to do). I still have no idea how to change a flat tire or buy a car but I wish I did and I’m determined to learn. These little skills will help me so much in life and as I get older.
I was afraid to move away and live on my own. This one is kind of still true today. I’ve always lived with either my family or friends, never by myself or in a totally new/distant place. I lived abroad for a couple of months in college and didn’t appreciate it like I should have because I was so preoccupied with the fact that I was away from everyone/everything I was used to. Homesickness is normal but it went a little over-the-top for me. I wasn’t thinking about how good and necessary the experience was.
I had a fear of doing tiny things and putting myself out there. This literally meant doing things like telling the waiter he got my order wrong. Simple, tiny things that many people have no problem doing, I couldn’t bring myself to do. I always made the person I was with speaking for me instead of doing it myself. I was insanely afraid of confrontation and letting people know what I really wanted and was about.
I figured someone would always be there to pick up the pieces when I couldn’t. Usually, this task fell on my mom. There were never too many worries about things that happened in my life because I knew someone would be there to fix it all for me. I didn’t help myself; I let others help me instead. This was such a damaging way to live because I had nothing to fall back on when I was picking myself back up alone (which sometimes happens, no matter how much we wish it wouldn’t).
I needed others’ validation to make me happy. Always. If someone didn’t like what I was doing or becoming, neither did I. I was such a people-pleaser and never stood for anything but what others wanted me to stand for. I wasn’t even sure exactly what my personal beliefs or morals were until a few years ago when I shook off that attitude for good. You know in your heart whether you’re happy in life. Don’t let anyone else dictate that for you.
I took for granted the idea of having time for myself. When I was single, I had a lot of free time but didn’t think about how valuable it was. Even the smallest moments in life can be taken for granted, but that doesn’t mean they should be. You don’t know how important that tiny thing might become in the future.
I didn’t realize the importance of having passions in life that were just my own. This goes along with what I said above. I loved sharing every part of who I was with other people but you can’t share it all. Some things need to be saved just for you. This becomes insanely important when you’re dating someone. It’s great to create that life together, but you also need times and things that are just for you. Being independent means you understand that and utilize it.
I relied on others’ advice and guidance to tell me what my next step was. Asking for opinions or advice from others is wonderful and sometimes necessary, however, you can’t let that be all you hear. I listened way too much to others and not enough to myself. Not everyone knows or cares what’s good for you. Only you can be the one to figure out what that is.
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