Don’t be afraid to let go of what hurts you

Christina Popik

I’ve always hated change. I adapt to things very slowly and when I do, I want to stay in that place for as long as possible because it’s what is familiar. Plain and simple, people naturally love to be comfortable. Unfortunately, when we try to stay in our comfort zone indefinitely, we become ignorant of what is going on around us. For example, we don’t notice when this lack of change is keeping us from growing and developing or even when an environment is toxic and actually hurting us. But because it’s what we are used to and because it is what we know, we stay where we are.

Last year, I found my comfort not in a place but in a person. I am a relatively reserved person. I was always independent and I had always focused on myself and put myself first. I was comfortable with having just me. But when I met this person, I bonded with him so much that I began to place my sense of comfort with him. Being shy, it was really nice to find someone that I could open up to and be myself with. The only issue was this person was not necessarily good to me all of the time. For as many times as this person built me up, they did just the opposite to bring me down. Unfortunately, I became so comfortable having this person in my life that I didn’t always see when something was wrong. We tend to look at people we love with rose-colored glasses, like they could do no harm to us when in reality they are sometimes the people who hurt us the most. I was too stuck in this mindset of familiarity that it took me a long time to realize I had to go outside my comfort zone, take a stand and walk away. In the blink of an eye, I was now back to being on my own, except this time it was scary.

The past month, I have learned that one of the hardest things to do will let go anything that hinders your growth. People will come and go throughout your life, but the one single constant in your life is yourself. No matter where life takes you and no matter who you build or friendships or relationships with, don’t lose sight of who you are. It’s very easy to lose yourself in people, but you have to remember at the end of the day that your safety, mental health and happiness should always come first and should not be compromised for others.

Love is a beautiful thing to experience with another person, but you must remember that loving yourself is just as important. I never understood it when people always said, “You need to love yourself before you can love anyone else.” But now it all comes very clear to me. If you don’t love yourself then you don’t notice when somebody treats you wrong. I promise you, anybody who doesn’t treat you with the utmost respect is not worthy of your time.

I’d like to think that each time we leave our comfort zones, we get a little bit stronger, and may even make it easier for next time. If something in your life ever doesn’t feel right, know that maybe it’s time to start fresh.