Photos by Farah Al-Rbehat
In love with Me
When I reflect on myself now, I think back to every obstacle I have faced and eventually overcame that was rather harsh for a growing teenager. Ranging from being launched into the terrifying social world of teens to navigating my way through tough familial problems, life definitely wasn’t easy to conquer alone, which left me questioning a lot of my actions.
I realized that my dilemmas, whether they directly involved me or not, started seeping into my day to day thinking. I was overwhelmed with problems coming at me from left to right and did things that other people appreciated rather than doing what would make me happy. I kept thinking about those around me, giving them all my time and in doing that, not appreciating the time I had for myself. I started to lose myself.
It took a long time for me to finally come to the realization that this was not the way I wanted to live. I had slowly started to isolate myself socially, stopped seeking new relationships and ceased to let my current relationships bloom. It wasn’t until I noticed my lack of hobbies and strong relationships that I started focusing on myself. Surprisingly, this was no easy feat.
I first had to figure out what exactly I did not like about who I had become. This is initially the hardest part about working on yourself; dissecting and understanding every single flaw you possess and, instead of detesting yourself for it, keeping in mind that changing will help you. You must find the root of the problem and either abolish or replace it in order to grow.
Having found my imperfections- and shedding far too many tears- I had established what needed to be done, now all I had left was to take action. Although it was fairly easy to initiate the changes I had to make in my life, it was challenging to implement these changes into my daily life. I came to the shocking revelation that making time for yourself is not as easy as it sounds. When you have spent so much of your time on others, it feels weird to do something for you in your free time. I could never give myself the privilege of being selfish when I had time. I had the tenacious feeling of being required to do something all the time. So to finally have a moment of peace, to sit and go ‘Well what do I wanna do?’ was extremely relieving.
Finding new hobbies and other things that made me happy was surprisingly bittersweet. Obviously, I had my pleasures before I lost myself, but having to rediscover them made me notice how unfortunate it was that I ever let them go. It was rather sad knowing I took into consideration how I made others feel before how they made me, inevitably putting them before myself. I was so engrossed with the world around me that I lost time, at a very ripe age, to figure myself out. To understand what every person asks themselves: What makes me happy?
After all, I learned a lot about myself and don’t think of my past as something to regret, but rather something that I learned from. Along with returning to my old and exploring my new self-fulfilling habits, I now acknowledge all obstacles I face as a learning experience. I took time to go out of my comfort zone and exercise every aspect of what I could potentially have a passion for. The best part of it all was coming to the wonderful realization that it doesn’t make you a bad person if you put yourself first. If you feel confident, comfortable and accept yourself, everything will work out for you, which is all that matters. Put you first always.