My parents divorced when I was seven, and they spent a lot of time being angry and resentful toward each other. It was hard to express my opinion to them, or even get them to notice me. Because of this, I obsessed over pleasing them, making them happy, and trying to keep the peace. It took me a few years before I realized that I couldn’t depend on my parents for my emotional well being. They weren’t there for me when it came to that. I had to find happiness within me. Over the years, I learned to trust and believe in myself.
In the meantime, I entered high school and I made many friends. The best friends are the ones you can tell anything to, who will do exactly for you what you do for them. Unfortunately, I came across a lot of people who seemed sincere, but were very cliquey and self-absorbed. At the time I saw a general goodness in everyone, so I was willing to be friends with them. I tried to please them to keep their friendship and because I love to make people happy. I feel good when I know I am able to help others. However, the friendships were one-sided. They weren’t there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to share good news with.
I grew tired of being hurt and let down. One day during my sophomore year I went up to my room and had a chat with myself. I knew I couldn’t stop trying to please others, but I could stop expecting anything in return, even love. I began to think I could only rely on myself; this was true at the time. It took some practice, but I was able to be independent. I found that if I believed in and trusted myself, I was happy. I no longer looked to others to point out my qualities and downfalls. I found them on my own, and I respected myself for it. During this time I learned so much about myself, and I discovered the power I have over my thoughts, actions, and life. I saved myself a lot of pain and sadness by not letting others’ opinions and influences bring me down.
However, I couldn’t go on depending on only myself forever. I eventually found that the category of friends who will do for you what you do for them does indeed exist. Later my sophomore year, my friend Aimee and I began to get really close. She’s still my best friend and is always there for me. We give to, take from, and respect each other. Even though I have found this friendship, my time of self-reflection gave me my independence and taught me how to believe in and rely on myself. It gave me the confidence to make it known who I am and what my morals are in college. It put into the right crowd of people who appreciated me. This gave me more of a sense of self-respect knowing that I would believe in myself every day. I am who I am and not who others want me to be.
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