I'm not going to pretend that life is always going to be sunshine and daisies, dear readers. The simple fact is that sometimes life sucks, and it sucks hard. I'm not sure that there is an emotional experience more frustrating, heart-wrenching, guilt-tripping, or generally horrible than unrequited love. If you remember feeling like Rosaline in Romeo and Juliet – the brief object of his whims only to be side-lined for the flashier, younger model – then you're in the right place. It is so hard to find value and validation in who you are as a person without reciprocal feedback from another person.
Indeed, if your feelings of worthiness stem from the emotional support of another person, as so often it does, that person is, for better or worse, responsible for your state of mind and sense of self.
This isn't fair on anyone
But don't we know it as we angst and stress about the lack of emotional reciprocation we're receiving, all the while lamenting that it's not necessarily even their fault. That's always the kicker, that the people causing such emotional distress and pain aren't actually aware they're doing it. The quest for a satisfying and enduring, comfortable love is a long journey and often one that doesn't have a specific endpoint. Certainly, 'enduring love' cannot be achieved through sheer force of will. Oh, but haven't we tried!
We all want to feel like we should be able to cut it alone, but that's easier said than done. It's our natural instinct to band together and form communities around adversity. But not always. Sometimes, it's the lone wolves that, through necessity, grow stronger and more resilient than the pack wolves with a soft underbelly.
While I love a pep-talk with my mum as much as the next gal, there are some realisations that we must come to alone. Not just when we are on our own, but when we feel at our lowest or drifting away, that can often bring the greatest perspective and clarity. It's a long journey and there isn't necessarily a specific end-goal in learning to be comfortable alone, but it's so worth it if you feel even slightly more self-sufficient.
That said, the heart wants what the heart wants.
If you want a relationship, hold out for the best!
We need to let our guards down – do you guys remember what it feels like to go home to your family for the holidays when you sit by a warm fire and get fed to within an inch of your life by your slightly overbearing mother and father? That's what we acclimatise to as children, and it's right that we should desire it as adults. These feelings are valid and rooted in social structures that have pervaded for centuries.
Desiring romance is not weak or 'anti-feminist' – It shouldn't need to be said, but it does. I'm going to say it again louder for those of you that didn't hear it in the back: whatever your political agenda or goals, no way of life or worldview should invalidate your need to be loved. We're fighting for equality for all, not isolation and island-mentality.
The right guy – who will treat you the way you deserve – is out there for you. There's no reason you should pressure yourself or push for what you aren't ready for. Don't worry about what other people are doing around you – they don't matter. Seriously, it's your life that you need to live – not theirs. You can't judge your success on their terms, or constantly be comparing yourself to them, because then you can never win, or feel satisfied. That will be because you are living your life by other people's timelines and stressing yourself needlessly over something over which you have little control. Emotions and the heart are liable at any given moment in time to do whatever the hell they want. Therefore, it stands to reason that we are sort of wasting our time trying to fit into someone else's template.
I'll say it again – the right guy is out there for you, I promise
There's nothing wrong with you, either. People are constantly worried about whether they are behind or ahead in the cosmic game of life markers that we are constantly surrounded by in the media. You can't go three paces without a Facebook engagement announcement or honeymoon insta-spree. That's the nature of the world we live in, but you can try to avoid those feeds if it's really becoming toxic for your mental health. In fact, I would advise it.
But back to the matter at hand. Relationships. I'm not saying that soulmates are a provable thing or that fate exists in the way that we hope it does. However, I firmly believe that too many women believe in that trashy quote from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. You accept the love you think you deserve.
Truthfully, however – you are worth much more than that. Make sure you get it, friends.