Editor’s Note: This blog post is a little different and written in the first person by a Shop Lovet Agency team member whose name has been removed for privacy. No images of the team member are included in this post.
The best way to discuss this is from personal experience, but maybe this is your experience too.
Growing up as an only child had its perks. I had my parents’ full attention and more.
It also had its downsides too. Between the ages of 9 and 15 - arguably important developmental years - my parents got overprotective. I wasn’t allowed to leave the cul de sac, so my “friends” were limited to the neighbor kids that were at least 2 years younger than me.
I’m not even kidding. Picture a 13-year-old girl having 9 or 10-year-olds knock on the door asking, “Hi, ma’am! Can ______ come out and play?”
Nothing was wrong with the kids, but on top of being a military brat moving between countries, I think the nature of those years of my life contributed to this constant longing to be a part of a friend group.
I started a new middle school and quickly felt like the odd one out, but with time, I was bolder about approaching people and wanting to make friends.
At the start, I had one friend.
That grew to four friends and then eight friends and tons of acquaintances.
“Why do I feel so lonely?” I would ask myself constantly.
It wasn’t until I turned 23 and was a full-time college student - with more friends - that I realized it wasn’t about surrounding myself with people. It was about surrounding myself with people who didn’t make me feel lonely.
I reevaluated myself and the people I thought I wanted to be friends with and ended up finding so many toxic qualities about our relationships that things were made clear. I would walk to the ends of the earth with my friend, so why be friends with people who don't create a healthy, safe space for me?
Growth means knowing when to let go.
What was good for me then isn’t good for me now and it’s okay to let go of the friendships that don’t hold the same space for you as it did before. Or maybe they didn’t hold space for you to begin with.
When you surround yourself with people who make you feel lonely, you are more likely to experience...
- A constant need for validation
- A constant desire to fit in
- And more
It’s not worth it. The best relationship you’ll have is with yourself. This is something that even I’m still working on but even the progress I’ve made in a short amount of time has taken the weight off my shoulders.
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Featured Image by @breyfit_ on Instagram