As humans, social connection is extremely important. By sharing experiences, joys, and triumphs with others we can enrich ourselves and feel a greater sense of stability in the cosmos. When we make friends with people that share our values and have common interests with us, we can form incredible relationships that enhance our lives. But a sentiment I feel about relationships that I share with many other things in life is that quality is much better than quantity. Often in life we find ourselves forming bonds with people for all the wrong reasons, and then those people end up taking more joy from our lives than they add to it.
Often there is a societal expectation that we must have a lot of friends – people who have thriving social networks must be cooler, more likeable, “better” that those that only surround themselves with a few. I reject this idea however- the more and more people you add into your social circle, the harder it is nurture meaningful bonds with them individually. Then we find ourselves surrounded by people, who when push comes to shove do not have the emotional attachment required to really be there for you and offer you support when you need it. Basically, we might call these people our friends because when there is a good time they always show up for it, but at our lowest moments is often when we need the support of friendship most, and it is then that these people will disappear. -Part of my spiritual awakening has been realizing that my very existence is such an improbable blessing that I am all by myself enough. It takes great discipline to be able to overcome negative self-talk, to stop constantly wondering how you are perceived by others. Like many, I used to be obsessive with social media use- constantly seeing where other people where, what were they doing, feeling jealous and left out when events occurred that I was not invited to. Society had led me to believe that my self-worth was rooted in what other people thought of me. I could not stand the thought that a single person could have anything other than a positive thought about me. I wanted to be liked by everyone, I wanted to please everyone, except myself. And it was only through hours of practice, self-care, and spiritual development that I could slowly release those ideas and make myself my own priority. I have many great friends, and I love them and the time I spend with them. But the end of the day, I come home and I serve myself. I don’t mean that selfishly – I will always be there for my friends when they need it. But by prioritizing my own self-care I better position myself to be a positive influence on others. And when other people’s toxic energy threatens my own self-made utopia, I let them go. Your own happiness is far too important to sacrifice for people who would never ever do anything for you.
The same goes for romantic relationships. I am an empath, and therefore I find it very hard to reject people. This is because I am sensitive to their emotions, and their insecurities, and am always afraid that my rejection will heighten that. It can be hard to let people down, and I always try to do so gently, but when you can tell from the outset that this person will not be the asset in your life that you deserve, it is the kindest thing you can do for both of you by letting them down.
At the end of the day, you truly do not need anyone else to validate your existence. I know it takes a lot more that reading a blog article to make that statement feel true, but it truly is. Start with simple acts of self-care. Take yourself out for coffee and begin to feel comfortable with your own company. I will happily go out for dinner by myself now. “Why? That’s weird” some people would say. Because if I want something, I will no longer rely on other people to provide my happiness for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t like going out for dinner with friends, or don’t appreciate their company. It means that if people aren’t available or aren’t willing to make an effort, I’m not going to let that become a barrier in me living my best and fullest life. I used to think that being alone equaled loneliness. But now I understand that it symbolizes emotional independence and fulfillment with one’s self. There is always room in my life for people who spark joy, creativity, and make me feel accepted. But if people can not give me the same amount of respect, I give myself, I will not waste time on them. I love myself and am so proud of the person I am. You don’t need someone else to love you for you to feel loved – you are capable of making that feeling all by your damn self.
Some might say I life my life unconventionally – sometimes the way I dress is unique, my opinions are controversial, my hobbies are obscure, my lifestyle is alternative, like my pledge to live my life as carbon-neutrally as possible. In the past, I wouldn’t have liked to have been perceived as different and would have altered myself to have made myself as well-liked as possible. But now I celebrate all my oddness, my awkwardness, and especially I love the people who love me for it. Find people who champion you for everything you are, people you don’t have to hide your identity from. We are all so deserving of infinite love, and the best place to find that? From within. Love yourself as much as I love every person reading this, your place on this earth was a million improbabilities being overcome and a million fragments of stardust coming together to create one special, one-of-a-kind individual. And that’s something worth celebrating.