I’m 21 and just feeling unloved at the moment, when I know it’s not true. I have reached a point in my life where talking about my problems don’t seem to help anymore. Those that I convey to, their advice is just generic, some that I already knew I should be doing.
You see Winnie, I’m quite similar to you. Friends come to me for advice as well. And recently, I had to do something I didn’t know I had in me. I had to knock some sense into a close friend of mine that she is worthy of the guy I love.
To be honest, I couldn’t bear seeing her sad at that moment and I have come to a realisation that I have to push my own happiness aside. Because if I were happy, she would be miserable and I can’t live with that.
It’s all very simple — two girls liking the same guy, and he made a choice already. The after effects are just complex. The hurt is still here, I have to accept the reality of it to move on but I can’t seem to do that now.
– A Reader
Winnie: What a complicated situation you’re in! I have so many questions that I’m finding it difficult to fully address your concerns, but I’ll try to break it down.
“I’m 21 and feeling unloved at the moment, when I know it’s not true.”
It can be quite a battle to reconcile what your mind knows is real and what your heart feels. I’m glad you know it’s not true that you are unloved. But heartbreak is an overwhelming emotional current, one that even your most rational thoughts can’t stand up against. The heart will feel what it wants to feel, and right now it seems like your heart kinda wants to feel sorry for yourself.
We’re all allowed to indulge in a bit of a pity party every now and again, but personally, I always feel gali once I’ve landed in this territory. This is the point where I’ll take a moment to think about all the ways that I am loved, and all the things I take for granted that I should be more grateful for, and I’ll say to myself, “Eww girl, stop with the gross self-pity already”.
I’m not saying this to shame you out of your emotions in any way, so please don’t take it that way. I am all for allowing yourself to feel your feelings, but I also believe in finding a balance so that you’re not too in your feelings for too long. The thing about heartbreak is that it doesn’t come and go at once. You will meet sadness again and again. You can’t control it, and I don’t recommend you try by shutting the sadness away. What is in your control is to embrace the sadness when it comes, but remember to just be a visitor and don’t stay with it too long.
“Talking about my problems don’t seem to help anymore. Those that I convey to, their advice is just generic, some that I already knew I should be doing.”
Maybe, you’re not actually looking for advice from the people around you? Perhaps you just want someone to vent to. It’s frustrating when you’re just trying to vent your feelings to someone and they try to fix your problems instead. I be like, “I don’t need you to tell me what to do, I know what I need to do but I just wanna whine about it a little bit, gawd.”
But you know what, it’s not their fault either. They are genuinely trying to help you because they think you want advice. So, if it’s the case that you actually just want to vent, that’s something you can make clear to them. Just say, “Hey, I’m going through a rough time right now and I want to talk about it, and I’d really appreciate it if you can just listen, show some understanding and offer some positive and reassuring words.”
Having said that, you might still not receive the kind of support that you seek, and that’s okay. While external validation feels good, it’s not something you can depend on to build yourself – that requires self-love: love from within.
“I had to knock some sense into a close friend of mine that she is worthy of the guy I love.”
This seems like quite a conflict of interest, and I imagine it must have been really hard to push your friend towards someone you love. But here’s where my talent for overthinking and analysing a situation from every possible angle shines through, and I throw you a tonne of questions.
Did your friend know you had feelings for the guy too? If so, did she care that by being with him, she would be making you unhappy? Did the guy know that you had feelings for him? You said that he’d made a choice – so does that mean he knew of your feelings and chose your friend? And was your friend unsure about him choosing her, which led to you having to convince her that she is worthy?
“I have to push my own happiness aside. Because if I were happy, she would be miserable and I can’t live with that.”
You make it seem like there was an option for you to be happy that would make her miserable. What was that option? For you to be with him? Was there an alternate reality where he chose you? There are a lot of gaps to your story, and I’m afraid I can’t comment on what I don’t know.
“The hurt is still here, I have to accept the reality of it to move on but I can’t seem to do that now.”
All I can do is address the facts that I do have: the guy you love is dating your close friend. That sucks. And it’s okay to own that. If you don’t feel like being around them, that’s okay too. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad or guilty about needing to take a time out from them. You should take some time away as you process all your complex feelings.
What motivates you to place more importance on your friend’s happiness than yours? What is at the root of that? Is it completely altruistic? Is it some kind of saviour syndrome?
What is it that you love about this guy? How does it serve you to continue to love someone who does not love you – because it must in some way, otherwise you wouldn’t keep doing it. What beliefs about yourself and about him are you clinging on to that you should probably let go of?
I’m afraid I have no magic solution for making the hurt go away. You probably already know this, but time really is the healer.
But what you definitely don’t know, is everything about yourself. You’re 21 – you’re only just spreading your wings. So, what I do recommend, is for you to take this heartbreak as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the relationships in your life. Reflect, contemplate, and find your truths.
Tiwin Aji is a Brunei-based comedienne known for her popular web series, #WinnieonWednesday. Equipped with empathy and a preternatural knack for doling out advice, she discovered at a young age that she loved telling people what to do.
If you’d like to get her take on your dilemma, fill out the contact form below or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers to reader-submitted questions will be published fortnightly in the ‘Winnie Wisdom’ column. All submissions will remain anonymous.