Learn to Say "Yes" to Yourself

I’ve always been the type of person to surround myself with friends. There was nothing I loved more than being around people, but more specifically, friends. All throughout high school and my first year and a half of college, I was in a group of friends. While being in these groups, I always seemed to feel like an outsider. There were bumps in the road and many times I left the group chat, but I was never officially out until I came to the realization that I didn’t have to keep putting up with it. At first it was hard because I didn’t know what to do without my friends. I was afraid to be alone. I would wake up in the morning and my confidence was gone. I was scared to leave my room and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was mad at myself because I was letting these people have this hold over me, because that just wasn’t who I was.

I came to the realization that it’s OK not to be OK, but I needed to start focusing on myself instead of them. I took it day by day, and I planned my days for myself. I did everything for myself and I did it alone. I made it a habit to plan on being alone and not to expect things from anyone and it honestly helped me a lot. With cutting people out of my life, I was also able to build relationships with new people who I could tell truly care about me. By not having a group of friends, I’m able to focus on myself and my growth. There is nobody holding me back, only people pushing forward and that is one of the greatest gifts I have received from this whole situation. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and although I couldn’t see it at first, I see it now. By not being in a friend group, I have built strong relationships with individuals that have affected me in such a positive way. Most importantly, I was able to learn how to be alone and flourish on my own. Although I lost friendships that I will always cherish, I gained the strongest relationship with myself and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Being alone has taught me how to better myself in various ways. With this time on my hands, I dedicate more time to my education, as well as my health. I have developed a HUGE obsession with my skin. I have created multiple skin care routines that I look forward to doing every day. I make it a priority to workout multiple days a week to keep up with my physical health and achieve the goals I have set for myself. My focus has shifted to “I wonder what my friends are doing today,” to “I wonder what I can do today to better myself.” In turning 20, it has really pushed me to be the best me I can be. I am on the path to a stress-free and self-loving life and it excites me every day, because every day I get to live my life for me.

At the end of the day, the only person you have is yourself and I believe that your 20s should be the most selfish years of your time. Mistakes help you figure out what is important to you, so make them. Don’t focus on what can go wrong, focus on what can go right, and be fearless. You have the rest of your life to say “yes” to people so don’t feel bad for putting you first! Most importantly, these years are the foundations of your future, and in order to give part of yourself, you need to be whole first. The journey is hard to begin, but it is so worth the destination.

“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before” – Albert Einstein