Rite of passage. The formal definition can be explained as “an event that marks a person’s transition from one status to another”, such as marriage or graduating college. However, when I think of this idea, and connect it to my current life experiences, I define it a little differently. For me, it’s a little less formal.
Friendship: a word that so many take seriously, value, and cherish. Over the past couple years, I have learned an abundance of life lessons from friends, and more importantly, I have learned a great deal about myself.
Ever since freshman year of college, I have always been desperate to make and maintain friendships, no matter who the person was. I was constantly seeing people I graduated high school with on social media making new friends in college, hanging out with their large group of friends, and taking selfies with their best friends, which made me feel depressed and lonely.
So, I, unfortunately, made myself extremely vulnerable the last 8 years of my life, and settled for friendships that did everything but benefit me and make me feel happy.
I spent years in a friendship that was extremely toxic, which took a toll on my mental health, self esteem, and overall happiness, all because I felt I needed to maintain this friendship in order to be happy. It took me a long time to figure out that I did not need this in my life, but the desperation of having friends was still weighing on me, which led to more disappointment in other friendships.
I guess you can call me a slow learner when it comes to friendships and life lessons revolving around relationships in general. However, after all of this time being let down and hurt by friends, I have come to the realization that my one true best friend, is and has to be myself. Sound lonely? I thought so at first, but it does not have to be. Becoming your own best friend is an extremely crucial lesson to learn, and here’s why.
- YOU know YOU.
No one knows you better than you know yourself. You know what makes you happy, sad, angry, and what scares the hell out of you. Being your own best friend even allows yourself to delve deeper into understanding who you are and what you like and don’t like. The first step to any friendship is to understand each other. So understand you.
- You have your own back.
Something I am just recently learning how to do is have my own back and stick up for myself. For years I have allowed people to treat me however they wanted and did nothing about it. I recently had a bad experience with friends when we were all out together, and I decided it was time that I stuck up for myself. The result from this was not what I expected, and I have actually cut ties with these friends, but I consider this experience a huge success. Did I lose friends over my need to stick up for myself? Yes, I did. But, am I now a much stronger person because I chose to have my own back? YES, I AM. What is most important is to have your own back, when others don’t, and to demand respect from those who consider themselves to be your friends. You deserve that.
- You will gain independence.
Once you are your own best friend, you will come to realize that you already have everyone you need. Are significant others and additional friends needed in life? Absolutely, however, they are just that: additional. Whether or not you have other friends or a boyfriend or girlfriend, it does not matter, because you are already fulfilled.
There are more reasons why being your own best friends is so important, but I decided to discuss the three that I am currently experiencing in my own life. This is my rite of passage. This is my transition into becoming best friends with myself, and a stronger person. For once in my life, I am not so concerned about making friends with other people. I am focused on becoming friends with the person who knows me best, always has my back, and whose company I enjoy more than anyone else’s. Myself.
Become best friends with yourself. It will be the boldest and rewarding journey you ever take.
Originally published with Project Wednesday