Photo of a "Love" sign

The Journey of Self-Love and Relationships

For almost two years I have been in a relationship, and I won’t lie, it's hard growing with someone. Personally, I love being in a relationship, but sometimes my own anxiety and thoughts get in the way of happiness. The journey to self-love is hard enough, but does being in a relationship make it easier or harder? Honestly, I am still trying to figure out that question.

This article is difficult to write, but maybe writing about what you’re scared of can help your fears seem smaller? I have never been a confident person, and truthfully, I don’t know if I will ever be. Being in a relationship requires a basic level of confidence and sometimes I feel I just fall farther below that bar. My partner is an extroverted person, and I sometimes wish I could be just as fearless as he is. I always try to push him to be his best, but with me, we have to take a different approach. I won’t talk about everything that has gone wrong in my life that has given me the anxiety that absolutely makes my life a living nightmare sometimes, but I am starting to reflect on how having a partner who actually sticks things out with you makes life and the journey a bit easier.

We all know how hard it is to open up to someone, especially those who we want to see us as perfect. The struggle to fit the everchanging and narrow definition of being perfect is one that honestly ruins a lot of relationships for everybody. After finding out someone or something is not that augmented perfect reality, you start to put up walls to defend your heart. All my life I feel I had to put up walls to protect my overly kind heart and mind, but now I want to break down those walls and just be able to live my life. No relationship is perfect – let’s get that straight – but I wish my heart would just get out of the past and catch up to the ever-changing world. I want to be able to go on picnics, wear outfits I love, and listen to music all while being with my boyfriend, but why does my mind keep me hidden under covers and shutting the world out?

My journey of self-love is also tied to a sense of freedom. Not freedom from my relationship per say, but being free from my mind and thoughts. I know I have to let down my guard, but my mind and heart battle between fear and the unknown. Do I know I will get hurt again if I let my guard down? Essentially, no, but living with an anxiety disorder only fuels these feelings so intensely. That’s another thing people forget about anxiety is how hard and raw I have to feel my emotions. I don’t drink or smoke anything to distract my mind while I go through a panic or anxiety attack. Rather, I just zone out and feel those emotions. It sucks, but maybe the universe made me like this for a reason.

I believe in universal guidance and signs; it may seem silly to most, but we all have to believe in something. I know the universe puts you through things to make you stronger, but how many lessons do I have to go through in order to complete the essential journey of self-love? I know I am only nineteen, but I feel the universe loves and hates me already. And through all of this, I still have my boyfriend who is trying to figure out how to be the best version of himself while also helping me try to see the positive of all of this.

Life is hard. As I finish writing this, I wonder what is in store next for me. Will the universe finally let me maybe have a good six month break from struggles and let me just be a normal young adult for once? Will I finally get that picnic date without having a flashback to the past? Maybe I can finally find the secret we’re all looking for: how to love yourself and look towards the future, not the past.