In the familiar, harrowing stretches of sadness, you relentlessly ask yourself how you have failed. You wrack your brain for what piece of you, inside or out—or both— is defective. You go over it constantly, replaying the past few weeks, months, even years— trying to pinpoint where you first went wrong that led you to all this.
If you just start over, you think, this could all end. Be a new person, live in a different city, surround yourself with completely foreign air, and things will start to make sense. Life around you will piece together, and in turn so will you. It’s that simple.
I thought so, too.
I was convinced that I would go away and create a finished, complete masterpiece of myself: everything I wanted to be, and more. I put an entire ocean between the “old” me and the “new” me that was going to miraculously blossom from my new surroundings.
But this new and improved person didn’t emerge; instead I withered, utterly defeated from the all too-familiar failure to make this dream identity a reality. So I was sad and confused and felt helplessly lost.
I stayed lost for a long time, even more distant from the person I had wanted to become than before.
Then after awhile I realized something. I had already been complete. I was already whole to begin with. I was waiting to become someone that admired themselves, that loved themselves wholly—but by convincing myself that I was incomplete, that I was not enough until I was everything I wanted to be, I was actually doing the opposite.
It’s a wonderful thing in life to strive for change and to have goals of self-improvement; that is how we grow as people. But to completely discard who you are and think you need to tear down everything about yourself in order to build anew is not healthy, it’s not positive, and it’s certainly not going to make you happy. This is what I’ve started to learn. And I’m writing about it because as a writer, as a thinker, and as a person, I strive to help others who are experiencing sadness as well.
It’s a terrible thing to feel alone or depressed, no matter what stage you are at in life. And no one ever has these things completely figured out. But when we do go through something, I think the best thing is to simply know we are not alone in feeling it. So if you’re not completely happy with yourself at the moment and you aspire for change, please remember to always love yourself throughout the process. You must stay irrepressibly true to who you are, and of all things, don’t think of yourself as any lesser form of a person. You are whole, just as you are now. You don’t need fixing; you may grow, you may improve, you may soar higher, but you are not incomplete. Right now and always, you are everything you need to be.