All Posts, Relationship Advice, Self-Love

Be the Source of Your Own Happiness

Enter my life a year ago (or even a few months ago): 

I carefully compose a text, inserting “lol” or “haha” in the appropriate places. I send it.

I flip my phone over so that I won’t think about whether or not he responds right away.

I pick the phone back up in about 15 seconds. Yup, it’s on ‘vibrate’. No, I haven’t received any new texts yet.

I throw the phone under my bed. It can’t demand my attention while it’s under my bed, right?

Wrong. I reach my arm under the bed, feeling around for the phone, after a failed attempt at trying to distract myself  by reading.

It’s been a few minutes. Why hasn’t he responded? What the hell does he have going on in his life right now that’s more important than talking to me?

Obviously he doesn’t want to talk to you because you’re an idiot!

No you’re not! Stop it. Get a grip. Jesus.

Okay. Okay. Well I have homework, might as well start on —phone vibrates, buzzes twice– SHIT.

He responded.

All is right in the world. He doesn’t hate me. I’m not stupid. I LOVE MY LIFE.

I text him back, making sure I sound nonchalant, charming, and funny.

I flip my phone over again.

End scene.

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Does this sound familiar to you? If it doesn’t, then good news: you’re much less crazy than I used to be! But if it does sound painfully familiar, then you have a problem. In other good news: it’s a fixable problem.

It’s completely normal to freak out over someone not texting you back when you expect them to. I know lots of people who antagonize over late replies and wonder why someone isn’t responding. It may be normal, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

It’s dangerous to let your happiness depend on external factors. If someone doesn’t like you back, or if someone cuts you off in traffic, or if your boyfriend gets mad at you about something even if you didn’t do anything, you need to learn that it isn’t about you. 

One of the most important life lessons (which I’m still trying to learn myself) is that most of the time, it really isn’t about you. While you’re busy focusing on your own internal narrative, everyone else is doing the same thing too. For all you know, you’re probably hurting someone else or even unwittingly making their day better, without even trying. You’re too busy focusing on what’s going on with you to notice, but so is everyone else.

Although it’s hard to remember not to take things so personally, you need to remember that everyone is going through their own hardships and doesn’t mean to negatively affect you. So if your crush doesn’t respond to your messages, it’s probably not that he doesn’t like you, it’s because he has his own things going on in his life. And you should have things going on in your own life independent of him, too.

If one of the sources of your unhappiness is feeling neglected, you should re-evaluate how much attention you really need from a person. You shouldn’t expect someone to give you their attention 24/7 — that’s humanly impossible (not to mention stalker-y).

Whenever you feel sad because your special someone isn’t texting you back, text someone else instead. Unless you’re a hermit, you have other people in your life who’d love to hear from you (your BFF, your mom, your cousin, a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time, or even me!). This gives you the opportunity to talk to other people in your life, and you should never make one person be your everything. That’s unhealthy too. Appreciate what you do have.

I always mention this in my posts, but you should remember that you’re awesome. Whoever this person is that’s making you so miserable should be so lucky to have your attention. If they’re not making the effort, then why should you? You have a lot going for yourself. Sometimes you just need to remember the good aspects of your life when the bad parts are really weighing on you. (When I need to remember the good parts about myself, I make a list — that usually helps.) You might not believe it at first, but you are enough and you can make yourself happy. Other people will come and go in your life, but you’re going to be stuck with yourself forever, so you might as well learn to make yourself happy.

–Chloe