My friend Lena is undeniably, unbearably sexy and smart. She has the world in the palm of her hand, and she could eat it all in a single bite. How in the world could she ever be insecure?
I had the aforementioned question asked to myself a few hours ago by Lena herself, over a lukewarm black coffee and a half finished chocolate pastry at a hipster-ish café outside of uni.
The thing about Lena and I is that we are opposite sides of the same coin. One guy I dated even dumped me because “it’s eerie how alike Lena and I are” (no, I’m not even kidding). We seem to be the same person… until you learn about our love lives. She’s the girl who always has a boyfriend, I’m the girl whose closest experiences with romantic relationships involve texting someone from another continent and/or making out in the backseat of some Uber. Her biggest issue is she doesn’t even know if she’s okay with being alone anymore, my biggest issue is feeling like wtf I’m going to die a virgin with 17 cats that only like me because I give them food.
Here’s where the title of the post comes in: For me it is quite clear that Lena is being dramatic, for her it is quite clear that I am being dramatic. She isn’t the type of person who takes shit from anyone, so she would clearly be fine on her own, she isn’t codependent, she simply found a great person after she broke up. I also realize that there is no reason why I can’t be in a relationship. After all, I am only 18 and the chances of me dying alone are still slim (Note to 40 year old Aisling: It’s up to you to confirm this in the comments).
Things seem less dramatic when we see them from someone else’s perspective, problems seem smaller, windows seem bigger, life seems longer and suffering feels shorter. No matter how many times people tell us we are smart, or beautiful, or amiable or DESERVING of love, it takes a single blow to our self esteem to puncture our hearts. We stop seeing the big picture! And yet our friends and bystanders seem to know that we exaggerate our problems, and we know they exaggerate theirs. It’s time we consciously leave our pity party and walk out of this vortex that makes our problems seem ten times worse than they are.
I will see my problems as a just arbiter, panic gets me nowhere. Ask yourself: What advice would I give myself if I were just one of my friends? You’ll come to find that you would likely not be as harsh on yourself, and that your freakout-inertia is leading you to bad places. Write yourself a letter as if you were giving advice to a friend with the same problem, then practice what you preach! If all else fails, go and talk to a person you trust, hearing it from someone else always helps.
Stop. Breathe. You’ve got this.