Bzz bzzz. My iphone buzzes.
I frantically jump to pick it up and check the screen.
It is a BBC News notification.
Disappointment floods through me.
I am still waiting for a text back from the guy I like.Why hasn’t he texted back? He was last online 10 minutes ago! Is he ignoring me? The message has double blue ticks on whatsapp! He’s clearly read the message! Did I do something wrong?!
This scene has happened so many times to me in the past. Waiting, wishing, and hoping for the guy I like to like me back.I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that I need to let go. Let go of the constant need to be validated by someone or something external, and to let go of the insecurities I had (and continue to have, for that matter-- it’s a work in progress).
I sometimes wonder how I can decide to be so strong in certain aspects of life, but when it comes to personal relationships, my brain decides to have an ‘Error 404: Brain not found’ moment.
Recently, I noticed this unhealthy obsession of mine with needing to be constantly in conversation with someone else: through constant texts, Whatsapp conversations, Facebook messages—the list is endless! My rationalisation for my overuse of technology was that I needed to be connected. How will my friends keep in touch with me if I’m not on Facebook? Everyone else is just as connected, and I have to keep up, if I want to be friends with people, much less if I want to date!
But as I continued to think about it, I asked myself, what exactly are the qualities you admire in the people who matter the most to you?
When I stopped to think about it, I realised that the one thing I appreciate and admire the most is when people who matter to me make an effort to show how I matter to them.I’ve learnt that whether it be a call after two months of not talking, a coffee at midnight on a random Tuesday night, a picture sent to your email with the subject matter “Reminded me of you”—the people who truly care don’t need for you to constantly text them. They don’t mind if you respond a day late, a week late or even month late.
The people who matter to you most want to create experiences with you and want to be in your life, without expectation of reciprocity or payback.
And isn’t that the most wonderful thing about good relationships?
So, I’ve made a concerted effort now to start the process of learning to let go. To put my phone down after I’ve sent a message and leave it screen down, on silent mode, while I live in the moment (and try to get work done—shhh don’t tell my boss).And when at home, to leave my phone in another room, because out of sight, out of mind.
This process has helped me to recognise that I’m worth it (and you are too!!). If someone doesn’t want to spend time with you and give you attention, then it’s the other person’s loss and not yours! You are wonderful inside and out, and waiting for someone to validate you isn’t necessary for you to be the beautiful person that you are.
It’s been a long journey, but I’ve started to realise that adopting these new habits have helped me cope with relationships so much better. As we all know, hope springs eternal. Talking to someone you’re interested in involves having hope and expectation. It’s fun and enjoyable to flirt, and get compliments from the person you like. That is normal and you shouldn’t get scared or nervous about these feelings, or the fact that you have them. But, through all this, I’ve learnt not to obsess over these feelings. It’s all part of the fun of enjoying yourself in this short life!
Finally, I’ve also started to (try) not to sweat the small details. Worrying before something bad has happened is futile, because sometimes there is no bad incident that will happen. I’ve started to recognise that torturing myself before anything bad has happened creates unnecessary stress, which is never good (especially for health).
This has helped me to slowly enjoy the time, events and people happening around me. I’ve started to have conversations with people I never expected to get along with, I’ve noticed small things in people’s habits and attitudes that have helped me to understand and know them better. I’ve also started to enjoy the quiet in my mind—the calm contentment where my mind isn’t buzzing like a busy bee from flower to flower.
Because life happens when you least expect it-- and when else do you least expect it, than when preoccupied on the phone?