I’ll admit that every now and then, I’ll succumb to the draw of The Bachelorette, and this season, I’ve been watching. It’s research! (Right?) So, a couple weeks ago, it was “hometown” week where the bachelorette meets with each remaining contestant in their hometown to get to know their family. And, during one visit, a contestant’s sister sat down with her brother and asked him this question: can you be yourself with her, unapologetically?
Ooh, that’s good. That’s real good.
I’m not dating right now because I needed to step away and figure myself out. I felt that I was dating just to date, because it was what I was supposed to be doing. Every time I would hear about another person I knew finding love, my heart would sink, my stomach would knot up, and I would fall into a downward spiral of panic and anxiety and wondering when it would be my turn. If it would ever be my turn.
So, this quote really made me step back and think. Everyone says you have to love yourself before you can love another, and I always thought that was a little cheesy and hokey. But maybe loving yourself isn’t so much about standing in front of the mirror and saying, “You are beautiful and funny and nice!” but about being unapologetically yourself.
Maybe that’s what’s missing.
People say that your twenties are a period of self-exploration. I won’t lie – my twenties have been a bumpy, bumpy road. I look at people in their thirties and they seem so self-assured and as if they know themselves and where they are going. And me? Oh, goodness, I am fumbling around in the dark. I’m confused and worried and upset and annoyed, yet also satisfied and content and happy and excited. Oh, it’s a whirlwind, the twenties are!
I’ve been reading through posts I wrote when I started this blog – and I was just 21 when I started it. I was a baby! I feel so sad for that girl because she was really, really confused. This is a girl who didn’t have any friends (no, really, my mom was the only person I hung out with), who didn’t quite know herself. And the things I did understand about myself I didn’t like – I hated being shy, being an introvert, being a homebody. I was filled up with anxiety every single day, but didn’t know what to call this incessant panic and fear I carried with me every day.
I’ve grown in the past five years, but I still have a lot – a lot – of growing to do. And part of that growing involves learning how to be unapologetically myself.
Being unapologetically myself means…
- Embracing my introverted ways and realizing two to three hours is my limit with being around people.
- Learning to be okay that I’m in my mid-twenties and still live at home. This is not a character flaw. This is just my part of my story.
- Understanding that I am a highly sensitive person that gets easily overwhelmed and doesn’t like loud spaces or chaotic environments. And that I most likely get my feelings hurt waaaaay more often than other people.
- Opening up about my faith and the role it plays in my life, even if I do feel like the worst follower of Christ 95% of the time.
- Realizing that I’m just a quiet person. I’m not the one initiating conversation or making small talk to strangers. And while I will open up and be more outgoing the more I know a person/group, I’m also always going to be the quietest one in the gathering.
- Embracing my bookish nature, and that my love for reading mainly falls for silly romance novels, chick lit, and women’s fiction.
- Owning the fact that I am a homebody and that nights in will always be more glorious to me than nights out. I don’t like being out past 11 p.m. any night of the week because it just makes me anxious, and I really don’t like being busy on weeknights.
- Recognizing that it’s okay if I don’t have a lot of experience with guys. There’s nothing wrong with being 26 and realizing the furthest you’ve gone with a guy is first base.
These are my truths and writing them out helps me to see who I am and what I want. I’m not ready to reactivate my online dating profiles, but I’m doing the work to get to a point where I can do so. I think one of the first steps is discovering what I am really seeking from a relationship because there’s no point in dating unless I understand why I want it. And, through these truths, I can start to form a picture of not only what I want out of dating, but how I want to date. But perhaps that’s a post for another time.
For now, I want to embrace these truths I’ve listed above. And start to recognize that it’s okay to be single, it’s okay to have very little experience with guys, and it’s okay to be me. I believe dating will come a lot more easily once I own that.
What does being unapologetically yourself mean to you?