Over the past few months that I have been in college, I have tried to teach myself how to be selfish. No, not selfish in the sense of greedy, but in the sense of attempting to put me and my well-being first. Of course, it has been difficult to fully invest myself in my own time with trying to meet new people and make friends, countless hours of homework, and trying to keep myself involved. It’s been a crazy journey full of ups and downs, but if there is one thing I learned from it all is that becoming a better version of myself starts with realizing that I am far from perfect right now.
At 18 years old, moving out, dealing with being completely alone for the first time, and being thrown into a hectic school life can all be a little too overwhelming at times. Actually, it can be downright frightening. I was never one who dealt with pressure well, so when I came to college and it felt like the pressure was crashing down on me all at once, I didn’t take it well. Usually, I would succumb to the anxiety that came from it all, but this time it was different. I decided to take my life into my own hands and move towards a better self.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, I wasn’t like those other people who could easily say “no” and knew how to distance themselves for long periods of times to take a break from their hectic lives. I was always saying “yes,” and I knew right away that was my first problem. I have always thought that if I keep myself busy, I won’t have time to break down and worry about all my pressures. But that was what was hurting me the most. Once I learned to say no to some stuff and to take that time to myself, I could feel my burdens start to lessen.
After I learned to say “no” more, my next challenge was to come to terms with being alone. I have never been comfortable with simply being in my own presence, but I took baby steps to change that. I started being okay with the fact that I can have meals by myself, or walk to class by myself. I learned that just because I was alone, doesn’t mean that I was lonely. I started to practice reflection techniques like writing in a journal before bed, sitting outside for a little while every couple days to think, or just sitting in my room with just my fairy lights on listening to music.
But those still weren’t the hardest parts. The hardest part was acknowledging that I really did have problem and that all these minor changes were not going to equal a solution right away. I realized I needed to take a step back and really analyze how my life was going. After taking time to reflect on my life as a whole, I realized that I was not the best version of myself.
After all that hard work, I would have at least thought that I was making progress. Yes, it is true that taking more time for myself and doing frequent reflections were helping, but it wasn’t enough. I could have let this realization swallow me whole, but instead, I chose to let it motivate me to start making useful and worthwhile changes to my life. I need to make bigger changes and stay motivated if I want to come out a better person.
Now that I have realized all of this, my perspective on my life has drastically changed. I know now that I am not as fine as I thought I was, and that I can’t change everything in a day. I am proud of what I have been able to do thus far, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Every day I am coming closer to who I want to be, but I would be lying if I said there weren’t days when I felt like the world was crashing down all over again. With my new outlook on life and my new skill in self-reflection, I am learning to push forward. It is definitely a fight, and will not be easy, but by taking this first step and coming to terms with my realization, I am inching closer to becoming that better version of myself.