For All the Single Ladies (& Men): You Are Worth More
When I normally write posts about dating, they are normally catered to people in relationships. And of course, I am in a relationship myself so it is natural that I would. However, for a couple months now, I have planned to write a post early in the new year about a very important thing everyone should be aware of before they even get into a relationship: You are worth more.
If you grew up in the Christian community, you probably heard some female in your church or school talk about your worth and say those exact same words: "You are worth more." You probably heard this phrase countless times especially if you are single.
If you didn't grow up in the Christian community, you probably didn't hear this phrase as much, if at all. And if you did, you probably heard it along the lines of "Focus on yourself."
I decided to write this post because I wanted to focus on the single people who read this blog for once. I talk so much about being in relationships; I wanted to give some advice that could apply to singles as well. (In fact, this post can apply to everyone really, because we all need to know our worth and our value.)
Another reason I wrote this post is that I've seen people in my life (both single and in relationships) struggle with their self-image of themselves, and (especially if they're in a relationship) it plays out in their relationships with others, and not always for the better. I, myself, have struggled with my self-esteem and gotten entangled in relationships, but the experience of learning to love myself is one that everyone needs to experience at some point in their lifetime.
Society doesn't help in developing our self-esteem.
From a young age, we are conditioned to see a certain type of person as being the ideal for beauty--having a certain body type, hair color, skin color, nose shape, everything. This is especially true for women, but I think this is also true for men as well.
Because of that, it influences our thoughts (and the thoughts of everyone around us) into thinking that we should be living life a certain way.
And I've noticed that with this, there are two different main cultures and lifestyles that I have noticed. It is either the lifestyle of vices and partying and hook-ups, or, it is the "good, Christian" lifestyle or what some may think as basically living as a nun or a priest--no "fun," no anything.
How does this relate to dating?
With dating, people have the impression that you either sleep around and hook up with anyone you can in college, or in the Christian community, you remain chaste and save your first kiss for your wedding day.
But isn't that a little extreme?
Yes, both situations are a little extreme, but I'm trying to make a point.
When you worry so much about living either kind of lifestyle--trying to hook up with as many people as you can or trying to snatch up a spouse as soon as possible just so that you can do the dirty dirty with them, you are saying in those moments, "I need this person/this thing to be happy."
Even if you aren't on the extreme end and you're giving up on love or still desperate to find it, you are still saying that with the way you live your life. Remember the phrase, "actions speak louder than words?" And of course when I talk about this topic, I wouldn't talk about it if I had no experience with it as well.
Let's get a little personal...
Long story short: my freshman year of high school, I dated a guy that I thought I was absolutely in love with. He treated me like trash but my self-esteem was so dependent on what he thought of me that I always tried to make him happy, even if it meant sacrificing my own happiness. When he broke up with me a year later, I felt like my world was over and that I wasn't worthy of anyone's love and blamed myself for what happened.
So what was the point of that story?
We have to learn to be with ourselves as our own people. Be okay with being yourself and by yourself. No one will ever completely satisfy you or make you happy.
This doesn't even have to do with relationships or dating anyone! This is something everyone needs to know and be sure of about themselves, whether you're looking for a significant other or not. Because you could still be this way with friends or other things in your life that you know aren't healthy for you.
For my specific situation, however, it wasn't until after a guy broke my heart and a bunch of tearful nights that I had realized that I couldn't expect oneperson to make me happy and fulfill all of my needs. I learned quickly through my church and my friends that I needed to be happy and okay with myself before I could even think about being with anyone else.
So how do you get to that point?
1. Get involved. For me, it was church and some clubs at school. Get involved with something healthy for you that won't bring you down. The last thing you need is something that will actually make you feel worse once the highs go away.
It can be a church, it can be a new job, it can be going back to school, volunteering, the options are endless. Just find something that you like doing that you can learn and grow from and start investing time there. It will help you not only have fun, but you'll also learn to build confidence in something that you enjoy or are good at.
2. Have a solid group of friends and a mentor. This kind of journey is not one you go at alone. You need to have people in your life that have been where you've been or are going through it with you too. You need people that you trust that you can talk to about your real and honest feelings.
I also suggest having a mentor because it would help to have someone older and wiser than you be able to help you and give you wise advice on how to deal with the way you're feeling. That person doesn't have to be old enough to be your parent, but just have them be someone that you look up to that you aspire to be like one day.
3. Keep reminding yourself of your value. It can be through reading about it every day, having post its everywhere, or just telling yourself in the mirror that you're beautiful or that you're worth something. Just have something to remind you constantly that you by yourself are enough, and you don't have to have someone to complete you.
UPDATE 01/06/2015: To help you stay accountable to this step, I have created FREE phone & desktop wallpapers to remind yourself "I am worth more." ! Don't forget to download one (or more) for yourself!
4. Stop looking. This one is easier said than done, but all it is basically saying is that if you're trying to look for love, don't. In my experiences with relationships, it never comes when you're looking for it. For me, the second I stopped caring about whether or not I had someone, someone actually did come along... and 5 years later here I am. :]
5. And the last tip I can give you: Give it time. You're not going to suddenly be okay with yourself and be super confident overnight. It is going to take probably weeks and months, maybe even years. But even after you get to that point, it is so easy to fall back so having a healthy self-esteem is really an everyday, for-the-rest-of-your-life kind of process. We can always be healthier and be better.
When it comes to having a healthier self-esteem, everyone goes through their own path to get to it. I'd like to say that these tips are a good foundation, but there is more to it than what I can talk about here in a blog post. On top of these basic things, everyone has their own background and experiences that will obviously make this process different and difficult for everyone in different ways.
Regardless, the one thing that I want you to get out of this is that you are valued and worth being treated well, whether you're a guy or a girl. I'd just like to give a shoutout to any men reading this post because so many times posts like this focus solely on women, but I know that guys can get treated like crap too and can have negative self-esteems in the same ways as women. I want everyone to know (or at least start thinking about) that they are valued and worth something.
With all of that being said, I want to challenge you this year with this: learn to love yourself.
If you are single, spend this year focusing on yourself and learning to really be confident in who you are so that you don't need someone else's attention to make you feel better.
If you are in a relationship, take the time to think and reflect on your self-esteem and really assess if you live like you need this person's approval to live your life, or if you could live the same way even without them. This is important for people in relationships too, because insecurities like this really show in your relationship.
This topic is one that has really been heavy on my heart for a while, and I hope that you have been able to somehow benefit from this post in any way possible. My hope & prayer for all of you this year is that we won't settle for second best and that we won't place our value in other people. I hope that regardless of your relationship status, that this year will be a year of growth and blessings for you!