From Our Readers
February 04, 2015 7:00 am

The first time my heart was shattered, I must have stayed in my bed for three days straight (and yes, there is a possibility that it was more). I couldn’t get up, and it really wasn’t out of a lack of trying. I just simply couldn’t do anything aside from inflicting the self-torture of watching and then re-watching The Notebook while downing my daily caloric intake through a pint and a half of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. The only time during those few days of self-imprisonment that I even felt somewhat good about myself was when I was watching the episode of New Girl where Nick collects his tears in a mason jar after Caroline breaks his heart.

Granted, my room had started to smell like a mixture of tears and stale air. And, well, there was also my bed; covered with empty Ben and Jerry pints, pizza crumbs, and an empty Svedka bottle. Then there was his stupid shirt, that I was still wearing. So yes, I wasn’t too far off from a Nick-level breakup crisis. I just couldn’t get his face to stop coming to mind in a series of flashes; it was as if all of a sudden my brain had become a vintage projector showing me everything I would have done just about anything not to see. His little quirks, things that used to give me butterflies, were now making me feel as if I just swallowed a dose of hatred with a side of gut-wrenching nauseousness.

I honestly couldn’t even comprehend how things fell apart so quickly. I mean, didn’t we promise each other over and over again that we were each other’s person? I thought things that were said were meant. I’m still not sure if they were, but during my weeks of grieving over him, I really started to believe that they were nothing more than air from his lungs and the roll of his tongue. Feelings of just absolute worthlessness started to invade my mind. Was I not interesting enough, pretty enough, smart enough?

But the sad thing is, the more that time passes, the more I realize how much of a true struggle it is for so many of us to find a sense of worth and confidence in independence. And trust me, it is much more obvious than I think we realize. How many times have you seen movies, media, or even your friends go through/portray rebounds instead of enjoying being alone? After a few days of crying, for a lot of people it is the next step to filling a hole that somebody’s left behind. I would be lying if I said that I also didn’t try to fill the hole of emptiness that was left within me with slurred compliments and random kisses from men I would never think twice about; it’s as if we truly believe that somehow engaging in these forms of self-destruction can wash away the relationships that seem to plague us for too long.

Eventually, I realized that no one ever really talks about how engaging in rebounds usually has the absolute opposite effect from what we want them to have. Which really isn’t our fault, given the fact that so much of media tells us that jumping from one relationship into another is the best decision. But I am here to say that it isn’t, and that no one should feel worthless after a breakup or for being single. So here are some tips to help you feel confident in your independence.

Accept the things you cannot change

For me, the first and best decision I made on my road to finding self-confidence was to simply accept the things that I couldn’t change, because it’s just about the most useless thing you could do for yourself when trying to discover the value of your worth. You can’t change your bone structure, or whether or not your ex cheated on you, but you can change your confidence, your self-worth, and your self-esteem.

Let it go

I won’t start singing the popular song from everyone’s favorite movie, Frozen, but seriously, let it go. And please do not think I am implying this in the sense that you should just throw your hands up to the heavens and give up. Rather, just list all those things that you can’t change about your past or your present, and try to do your very best to come to terms with all of these things—or, better yet, do your very best to accept them, even if it’s only momentarily. Now go outside, preferably somewhere in nature where you can be with your thoughts, and simply release all of these negative feelings and memories into the wind.

Do things for yourself

Let’s just make a promise right now that we will no longer only get dolled up if we are hanging out with friends or going on a date. Start doing it for yourself! You deserve to look your absolute best even if you are staying in for the night with a glass of red wine and Netflix. I promise you that this alone will make you start to feel more confident. Also, all the compliments you will be getting from random people and your coworkers isn’t such a bad thing either. Get it, girl!

Date yourself

I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous, but hear me out because this truly is one of the biggest things that has helped me. Take yourself out on a weekly date! Whether it’s going to an arcade, shopping at cute boutiques, catching a movie, or grabbing a martini at a local hot spot. I think we definitely undervalue how great it makes us feel when we do things to make us feel special, by ourselves. (And I promise it really isn’t that awkward to eat at a restaurant alone.)

Buy yourself something sexy

Just because you are a happily single lady with an air of confidence does not mean that you need to stick with your normal cotton undies! Go out and buy something that makes you feel sexy and beautiful. No, you probably won’t be showing it off. But who cares?! It will make you feel great throughout the day, and at the end of the day when you are putting on your PJ’s at least you can say, “Dang, I look good.” Nobody needs a significant other to tell them that when you have yourself.

Find a new hobby

Or just really anything that will make you feel more fulfilled. Whether it’s joining a volunteer organization, learning a new language, or learning how to cook a certain type of food really well. You wouldn’t believe the amount of things that are available at your fingertips if you just put a tiny bit of effort into trying to find them.

Figure out what you want and what you don’t

When doing this, it is vitally important that you are completely honest with yourself about your likes/dislikes, and remember how truly lucky you are that you can make these choices without any influence but your own. And make sure you write them down! Do you want a new job? Go out and find it. Do you want to move? Go do it! The best thing you could really ever do for yourself is to just believe in any idea or dream you have, no matter how big it is. Take your own advice, and take it confidently.

I really hope that some of the recommendations I have listed above are things that you at the very least will try to adapt into your life. I know that when you are on level 0 of the confidence scale a lot of these might feel really overwhelming. But remember there is no shame in starting small, and be proud of yourself that you are even starting.

Danya Taylor is her name, and writing is her game! Born in the Pacific Northwest, she currently resides in the coolest city on the West Coast (aka Portland, OR). In her free time, you can generally find her rambling on about her latest and greatest business idea or invention while pouring herself another glass of wine and watching Netflix at the same time. Danya is currently a student at Portland State University, as far as careers go she has no idea what she wants to do (aside from writing & traveling). You can find her at www.danyataylor.com.

(Image via.)

Advertisement