The Paw Print

Opinion: Be your own best friend

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If there’s anything three years of high school has taught me, it’s that high school is hard. Classes are hard to keep up with, changing family roles are tricky to navigate, and, as the people around you grow in complexity and deal with their own individual struggles, it’s unbelievably difficult to keep up a healthy social life. I’ve lived most of my life trying to navigate the highly-social world we live in, swinging on a pendulum between isolation and painfully forced socializing. Oftentimes, I find myself wearing thin trying too hard to be what people want me to be when it just makes me miserable, or spending time out and about doing things I don’t want to so that maybe I’ll get invited back. In the end, it just makes me more sad. However, I know my struggle with socializing is not unique. I know there’s a lot of other people out there like me, stretching or squeezing themselves to fit molds they don’t belong in because they’re scared of being alone.

Most people spend their entire lives looking for their soulmate – a person who’s perfect for them and complements them in every way, be it a lover or a friend. The truth of the matter is that no one is perfect, period, so no one is going to be perfect for you. Additionally, if you think about it: you’re the only person you’ve got for your whole life, and I’m beginning to embrace the truth in that. You’re the only person who likes all of the things that you like, and sees the world the way you see it, and dreams the dreams you dream. The truth is that there will be times of loneliness in life, and learning to genuinely love and even like yourself is something that can carry you through those times.

I’m applying this by being honest with myself about what I like and don’t like. By taking myself out on little “dates”, where I do something fun on my own and just enjoy the way that I uniquely experience life without anyone else’s input.

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, whether you have 10 close friends or 1, the truth is that there will be times of loneliness in life, and learning how to love yourself is the only thing that will carry you through those times. So start now, in your own way, whatever it may be. Don’t wait around for other people to validate you by deciding that you’re good enough to be their best friend; decide that for yourself, instead. Be your own best friend.

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