At 18, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Harsh statements like ‘You’re stupid’ and ‘No one will ever want to marry you’ were customary to me. Living this, my confidence decreased and my self-doubt grew. I kept feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I was incredibly insecure: constantly changing my hairstyle, covering up my skin with makeup and essentially, aspiring to an ‘improved’ version of me that, I now realize, was unrealistic. This relationship pushed me to my lowest point – I doubted my abilities, I gave in to my weaknesses and I was controlled by anxiety.
At some point, I managed to take charge and detach myself from the situation. I’m not going to lie, it took tremendous strength to separate myself from this negative individual. But I did it. I then immersed myself in positivity. Day in and day out, I had to work on myself. I recognized my strengths and honed them. I had to learn to grow and invest in my physical and mental health. Coming out of this dark place was extremely time consuming – it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. But four years down the line, I’m in law school, I’m much more confident, and I’m in a place where I can love myself unconditionally. I no longer do things in order for society’s acceptance and gratification. No matter how hard it was, investing in my self-improvement was completely worth it. I was worth it.
If you’re going through the same thing, or anything of the sort, remember to be patient with yourself and understand that self-actualization is a slow process. Even with my struggles and triumphs, I still have to remind myself daily to be content with myself and that ultimately, I am my own hero. Tough times do not last but tough people do.
Lihini Konara is from Colombo, Sri Lanka, where she grew up. She is currently studying law at the University of Sydney.