I was sitting at my desk, crying. I must have been 18 years old.
There’s a German saying that translates like this: The worst way of missing someone is to sit next to them, knowing they’ll never be with you.
For three years, I had sat next to her, and it was never going to work. The day I finally admitted this to myself, I cried.
It’s one of those rare, distinct memories you can access like a Youtube video. You hit play and, instantly, you can see it. Of course, it plays out the same way each time.
The clearest part of this memory, however, is not the sadness. It’s the relief. I sat in my desk chair, thinking: “Well, at least I still have myself. I guess I’ll always have myself.”
Yes, I had made a huge emotional investment that failed, but I also learned something else that day: My parents have raised me to be my own best friend.
That was a lot to take in - and that’s why I was crying.
Emotional self-sufficiency is the foundation of good mental health. It’s the soil on which happiness is built. The better you can deal with your emotions, the more positive moments you can extract from even the worst of situations.
It’s also attractive in the most literal sense of the word. When people realize you can handle them, opportunities, relationships, and freedom will gravitate towards you.
I know I was lucky. I had a wonderful childhood. Not everyone gets that. You can’t change your upbringing in hindsight, but you can work on emotional self-sufficiency.
Even after I found out I had a good baseline level of it, I worked hard to maintain and improve it. I have done so for the past ten years. Today, I’d like to share three habits with you that have helped me the most in doing so.
May they help you become your own best friend.
All my posts are part of the Medium Partner Program, but since you’ve given me so much of your trust, I want you to have this one for free. It’s called How To Become Emotionally Self-Sufficient, and, with the button above, you can access it any time without running into a paywall.
I hope the three habits I describe - meditating, writing, and, most importantly, sitting with your emotions - will help you comfort yourself when you’re down. If they do, please consider adding up to 50 claps and sharing it with a friend. 🙏🏼
Maybe, the next time you have to cry, you’ll even remember that, at least you’ll always have yourself.