The truth will set you free. Stay true to who you are. Be honest with yourself. What do all of these cheesy, recycled Tumblr material now posted on Facebook phrases even mean?
They’re about honesty. It’s about being honest with yourself. You’re completely present only when you own how you feel, own what you think and own what you want. But, what does it even mean, to be honest with yourself? More importantly, why is it so difficult sometimes?
When I first came to university, I made myself known as the girl who writes, the girl who’s going to make it big one day. I wanted to be the girl who wasn’t afraid of anything, didn’t need anyone, was always prepared and demanded respect. However, that’s not exactly what happened.
Although I did become known as the girl who writes, that didn’t mean I wasn’t afraid of anything. It didn’t mean that I no longer craved meaningful friendships and even sometimes, I thought maybe a simple, unmaterialistic life was better than living in a bustling city. I was just too scared to admit all of that. I was too scared to own those truths. I came to realize, this was because I was the opposite in highschool: expressive and open-hearted. And then holes started to appear: I lost friends. I got out of my first somewhat serious relationship. I grew up.
I thought that I had to be dishonest with myself to be happy because being honest that I wanted close relationships meant that I would just get hurt. I portrayed myself to be who I thought I should be or who I thought I was supposed to be. This way, I never let myself feel sad or get angry when I was being disrespected because I would just lie to myself and say I was overreacting. I never wanted to voice my concerns, needs and desires because I convinced myself that they weren’t valid enough.
I looked for everything outside of myself to tell me what to do, so I wouldn’t have to listen to myself because I didn’t want to hear the truth. I didn’t want to hear that it’s alright if I feel lonely and that I’m scared of the future, I didn’t want to hear that it’s not a big deal if my winged eyeliner wasn’t completely “on point,” and most importantly, I didn’t want to hear that I really do need people in my life.
Because even when I appeared completely self-sufficient and simply worked on establishing myself as a writer, I still felt those same holes. I wanted to open my heart, I wanted to feel again, I wanted to get attached, but I wouldn’t let myself because I thought these truths made me weak. I did what I thought I had to do to be the person I thought I was supposed to be: I purposely went out of my way to find opportunities to break hearts. I would seriously tally in my head how many people I had either rejected or ended whatever it was we had going on, and after five times of doing this, it still wasn’t enough. I literally thought that rejecting other people would make me feel better about myself, that it would emphasize how “strong and independent I am.”
And because I kept running away from being honest with myself, I was never myself. I was never sure of what I wanted and how I felt. I didn’t even know if I was truly hungry sometimes. But amidst this chase with myself, I ended up hurting someone very dear and close to me. And I realized, even though I had closed my heart and refused to get attached, I still got hurt anyways.
So, I made another friend and I decided to let myself get attached. I did what I wanted to do because that was my truth. At another time, someone had approached me and asked if I was interested in going out, and I said no because I wanted to say no. I didn’t do it because that’s what I thought I had to do to be confident or to be this specific version of who I thought I was supposed to be.
I was still scared, but I told myself that’s alright. I needed reassurance, and I told myself that’s alright, too. I told myself, “This is how you feel. This is what you need. You must voice these things because that is how you own who you are.” I stopped judging myself, and started trusting myself because I no longer wanted to please anyone, except the girl I saw in the mirror everyday.
And that’s what I did. I yelled at my assistant manager at the storefront after they kept disrespecting me and not giving me a lunch break because I wasn’t afraid to be angry anymore. I brought food for my friend when he got angry at me because I wasn’t afraid to show my affection anymore. I let myself tell my roommates how annoying it was to see dirty dishes right when I came home, I let my research members know how immature it is when they make excuses for not doing their work, I let myself get drunk and call people that I haven’t talked to in years.
And from all of this, my heart opened up again. I decided I was ready for my first adult relationship.
But, I had lied to myself, once again. Though I was ready, he was not, and I knew it. I just lied to myself into thinking he was because I wanted a specific outcome. The truth was that I wanted someone on my level, but I lied to myself, saying that I was just being picky and guarded. I didn’t trust myself once again because I was running from the truth.
And then it ended. I was in a familiar space, a space of insecurity and self-doubt. I knew it wasn’t my fault and I knew there was nothing wrong with me, but I believed I needed to feel guilty. I knew I deserved better, but I didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to change because again, I thought I had to be someone that I was supposed to be.
But, as I have become accustomed to being honest, I have forgiven myself. I’ve let myself be sad and angry and even unafraid to say I wanted to use people for attention just to feel good again.
Being honest with yourself is difficult because that means you have to surrender to any chosen outcome. It means you have to rely on just yourself to know what’s best for you. It’s difficult because you don’t want to go against your morals, you don’t want to be judged, you don’t want to be wrong, you don’t want to get hurt and the list continues. The funny thing is that I let people know when I feel weak, when I need them to reassure me that I am indeed a strong person and how much I care about them because I realized when you trust yourself, faith becomes much larger than the fear. The fear lessens and you surrender to living in the present because you accept that whatever happens will happen, regardless of the spiraling thoughts in your mind. You understand that everyone just wants to feel safe being themselves and that most things are not personal. You become better. You let yourself do anything because you know that you have your back and will know how to act accordingly. You just have to listen to yourself. You just have to trust yourself. You just have to be honest.
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