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Simply Solo Spotlight: Finding Yourself First

November 22, 2011

Happy Tuesday! Today’s guest post is written by Emily Wynn. I hope you enjoy her story. It really resonated with me because I have finally started to realize that good things only happen once you are ready for them. (Wish someone had told me earlier because that would have made things a lot simpler!) When you’re done reading and commenting, be sure to check out Emily’s blog.

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at:

Finding Yourself First

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I can’t help but stop to think about what I’m thankful for. There’s a lot. This year, I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had, the people I’ve met, and both old and new friends. Life is good. I’m especially thankful for the confidence I’ve gained and, along with it, the guy I’ve started dating. Had you told me last year at this time I would be seriously dating a great guy, I would have looked at you like you had three heads. But I am. And I’m incredibly lucky. It was a long year, but definitely one of the best chapters of my life. So, without further ado, here’s my story.

My freshman year of college, one of my best friends (who at that time had recently started dating a mutual friend) told me the minute I stopped looking for love, it would find me. I thought she was crazy.

“How can you find love if you’re not looking?” I thought. It seemed counter-intuitive.

It still does. But for some reason, it’s true.

At this time last year, I was preparing for a semester abroad in Germany. I was in the midst of being the news editor for my university’s paper, working an extra job for menial work-study wages, putting in my all at an internship – all on top of a full course schedule. I literally had no time to think about boys: I was busy finding myself.

Throughout my college years, I’ve looked back repeatedly at my only other “serious” relationship. It was a saga that took me years to get over. Imagine attending prom in the same group with your ex and his new girl only a few weeks after the breakup AND traveling internationally just a month or two later with him and you only get part of the story. I didn’t know what I’d done wrong, or why my ex didn’t like me enough to stick it out into our college years (correction: MY college years) even though he felt brave enough to take a stab at a trans-Atlantic relationship (which, looking back, probably meant no commitment on his end, rather than more commitment). I kept thinking back and asking those crazy “what-if” questions.

My friends, both at school and at home, told me not to worry about it – I would find the right guy eventually. I “deserved” it. I was a nice, successful, talented girl. Some guy would be incredibly lucky to have me. Several of them took it on as their project to find the perfect guy for me. (Of their attempts, even the most successful tries were epic failures.) At one point, I was the only single friend among a multitude of happy couples. Everyone wanted me to find “the one.” And I did too, so I played along.

But last fall, something changed. Through my job at the paper and my internship, my love for journalism exploded. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I’d picked the right major. And because I was getting ready to go abroad, I didn’t care about finding “the guy” – I didn’t want to have to leave him behind. I focused on myself and, as a result, discovered the confidence that everyone else saw in me. I finally saw what all my friends had seen in me all along. I am successful. I am talented. Any guy would be lucky to have me. And I knew with or without a guy, I could be happy.

Then 2011 came. I was at home in Colorado, waiting to go abroad. (I didn’t leave until March, because the semesters in Germany are different.) I got an internship at the TV station in my hometown, and I concentrated on that during the day, and my blog at night. I loved it. I grew a lot, both as a writer and a reporter. And then Eric happened.

I “found” Eric when I was stumbling around on WordPress one day, looking through the “Blog Buddies” posts. I randomly decided to click on this blog titled Sylvester Says. I read one post and thought to myself, “Hey – this guy is pretty funny.” So I commented. And the rest is history.

skype emily and ericEric and I became “blog buddies” and started commenting back and forth. We started talking more and more, and soon we were Skyping, calling each other and texting pretty much constantly. And due to the nature of our relationship, we were completely honest and open with each other from the start. I told Eric things it had taken me years to tell some of my closest friends. We just trusted each other. I think it came from the fact we could easily sever contact, and pretend we never met if something went wrong. But when Eric nobly tried to do just that, saying he didn’t want me to miss any chances abroad, it failed miserably. We were too attached already — and I didn’t ever want to let him go. We were falling in love with each other’s virtues and flaws, our personalities and everything else that comes out when you talk to someone for hours every day.

Eric and I didn’t start officially dating until he came to visit me after my semester abroad. At that point, we’d been talking for more than seven months, and I was INCREDIBLY nervous when I met him in person for the first time. But when I was finally in his arms, I knew he was everything I had hoped he would be and more.

And the best part is I know he loves me for me, because I know who I am. I wasn’t able to find a guy until I knew myself, and until I stopped looking. Until I was entirely comfortable being on my own, I wasn’t able to find someone to complement me. emily and eric

Both of us are entirely ourselves around each other because we know who we are. We know we can function without each other, but when we’re together, it’s the best thing in the world.

I’m thankful every day. I am thankful that I was able to accept myself and, subsequently, find a wonderful man to take care of me. And I only found him when I wasn’t looking: I was just content with being me.

What are you thankful for? How has this year changed you? Have you felt the same confidence I was finally able to find?

Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2011 8:52 am

    Emily –

    I wanted to say “thank you”…

    Obviously we’ve never met, so you may be wondering why I’m thanking you, but the reason is simple…you reminded me of something that I had forgotten…

    As a mom, a wife, an employee, others are often at the forefront of my mind and when it comes to me it’s more of “if there’s time for that…” mindset…

    But in the past 6 months,without my consent, my life was turned upside down…and I find myself on this journey…

    I think the purpose is to figure out ME, what makes me happy, what makes me tick, what I want, what I need, etc, but I continue to stumble because I’m constantly thinking of others – “Will they be disappointed by decisions and/or changes I make?” “How can I be ok making a decision for me that will impact significnatly the lives others?”

    And with your words…you reminded me…it may not be easy, it may not be comfortable, but I have to…I have to take care of me, find me before I can take care of anyone else…

    And for that, I thank you…


    • November 22, 2011 1:35 pm

      You’re welcome! Finding yourself and being true to yourself can be one of the hardest things, but in the end it’s your life. I had a hard time with that too — not quite the same, but for a long I always put my friends and family first. They’re still important, but I’ve been a lot happier since I started taking my own feelings into account too.

      I’m so glad my post helped you! Good luck with everything in your life 🙂


  2. November 22, 2011 10:15 am

    Such an important message, particularly for young women. For whatever reason, it is a female’s first tendency to try to mold herself to be more desirable. Laugh at certain jokes, act interested in certain sports, dress, speak, flirt a certain way . The kicker is that even if those things work, and you snag “the guy”, you’ve convinced someone to be in a relationship with an inauthentic version of yourself. There is something so comforting in finally finding a person who adores you just as you (naturally) are! Great post, Emily 🙂

    • November 22, 2011 1:38 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

      I see so many of the girls I know making themselves into what they think guys want. You might find a guy, but in the end you won’t be as happy cause you’re always putting on a show instead of being yourself. And let’s face it: life is always easier when you’re yourself!

      — Emily

  3. November 22, 2011 10:46 am

    When I started hanging out with my boyfriend, I said to him: “Look, you’re really great, but I don’t have time for a boyfriend and I’m really not looking for one. I’m in school and work 2 jobs. Let’s be friends”. 4 years later, that person I didn’t have time for and wasn’t looking for, is the love of my life! It’s completely true, when you stop looking for something, something finds you. I’m so thankful for what I have, and am happy you found something worth not looking for too 🙂

    • November 22, 2011 1:39 pm

      I feel so lucky! It’s wonderful, isn’t it? 🙂 I’m glad you found someone too!

  4. November 22, 2011 10:59 am

    I believe in everything that you’re saying.. especially being confident and comfortable in your own skin. Once you think everything is going so well and you’re perfectly well off single, BAM! Here comes prince charming… It’s a wonderous thing!! Congratulations on finding your prince charming.

    • November 22, 2011 1:41 pm

      Thanks!! 🙂 Life is funny that way. I love it! 🙂 [at least now that I’m on this end of things!]

  5. Val permalink
    November 22, 2011 2:02 pm

    First MALE post!

    Oh Emily, my first Creighton friend, I’m so glad I read this. (you really need more articles in the Creightonian) I’ve missed having you around the past couple of years. The occassional chat on the mall is always nice, but we should really hang out some time away from campus. Hope you have a fantastic mini-break, say hi to Eric for me!


    • November 23, 2011 2:19 am

      Thanks for reading it Val! Eric says hi back, and we definitely need to hang out more. We’ll make it happen, have no fear! — Emily

  6. November 22, 2011 10:22 pm

    Great post! This year, I am thankful for so many things but in the top 5 would be the return of my confidence and esteem after a hellish year filled with heartbreak, pain and frustration. I am finding “me” again, and I find I am able to be more truthful (I firmly believe that there is a difference between being honest and being truthful) and objective not only with the relationship but also with myself.
    This year I am able to open my heart and home to family and friends again AND I am cooking (again) for Turkey Day…far cry from being depressed, in the dark and eating re-heated wings and pizza last year. I am able to be okay being a “me” instead of an “us” or a “we” and while I am ready to date, not looking for the next big thing.
    Congratulations to you and your second chance at love and have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • November 23, 2011 2:21 am

      Those are definitely things to be thankful for! I’m happy for you and the fact you’re in a better place this year. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends… enjoy some delicious turkey! 🙂 Thanks for reading! — Emily

  7. November 27, 2011 11:10 pm

    Absolutely, finding and knowing yourself well first is key before unravelling the complexity of a potential/existing love/intimate relationship.

    And one cannot rely exclusively on the other person to help find yourself. It’s too much of an effort and not realistic long-term.

    • November 28, 2011 5:09 pm

      Exactly! And if you don’t find yourself on your own, is it really the same? I don’t think so. You have to figure out what it means to be true to yourself before you can be true to someone else.

      Thanks for reading 🙂 — Emily


  1. ‘Tis the season… « Taking time to smile.

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