As we grow through life developing our sense of self, we learn to label ourselves by our accomplishments. “Hello, I’m Melissa and I’m a writer.” It is with great pride that we can celebrate where we are in life by branding ourselves into these categories. What if you fit into more than one category? When it comes to relationships, we sometimes become so focused on becoming a “we” that we forget to take pride in being a “me.”
I have a boyfriend, and that is the least interesting thing about me. Can you say that about yourself?
I know a girl who is very accomplished. She has a good head on her shoulders, she has faced many obstacles in her life and has gone far in her career. She has done incredible things, traveled to exotic places, experienced things that some of us can only dream about, but the only thing she can talk about is her boyfriend and his accomplishments and their plans and his dreams and aspirations. It is so frustrating to see her put herself on a backburner.
It is very important to maintain your individuality when getting into a couple. Far too often people fall into the trap of getting so secure in their “we-ness” that when the relationship dissolves someday, they have no sense of who they are anymore. Suddenly, you look around and see that all of your friends were ancillary and only talked to you because it was convenient. Maybe it was your boyfriend’s best friend’s girlfriend, so they no longer talk to you. When you look back on all of your friends you had as a single girl, you realize how much you abandoned them when you got into your relationship.
Even if the relationship doesn’t dissolve, can you clearly look at your life and distinguish who you are? Will you be known as “Bob’s girlfriend,” “Susie’s mom,” “Ellen’s daughter” or can you proudly stand up and say I am _______ and in my life I have accomplished _______and I enjoy ________. Can you fill in your own blanks with ease or are these blanks causing you to draw a blank? Who are you?
When is the last time you did something for yourself because you enjoyed it? What is the last gloriously selfish thing you did for the sole purpose of making yourself happy? Can you remember the last time you laughed until you cried or the time you felt totally at peace with something you did on your own?
Take a moment and think about who you are. What makes you special and how can you be a stand out at what you love? When you learn to fully embrace your sense of self and are secure in the amazing person you are, only then you can you be sure to not lose that amazing “me” to the “we” syndrome.
Melissa Hughes is a 30-year-old single mother of one. Girl Talk started as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa has a weekly TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, discussing activities in Weekender and a Girl Talk radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.