Disclaimer: Being alone obviously sucks.
Even the most introverted, isolated hermit, who barely sees the light of day, understands that being alone is never truly wanted.
We are social creatures and crave some kind of social interaction. Whether that interaction is with other humans or not is a whole other story.
Half of us will unfortunately suffer from life lessons taught by divorce, others will feel heartbreak that result from dramatic breakups with supposed “soul mates” and the rest will wait for that “special someone.”
At some point, all of us will be alone, forcibly shunned into dealing with our hardships, thoughts and doubts in solitude. But congratulations, Gen Y-ers! There is no better time than now to deal with that loneliness.
Learning to be alone, especially when it comes to relationships, is a key development process in the adult world. Admittedly, learning to be alone will be a lot easier for some of us than it is for others, but as a young person, use this period in life to learn about yourself.
Part of that self-learning is about figuring out who you are and loving every single part as much as possible. When the time comes, you’ll learn what you want from yourself, as well as what you want from other people.
So, how in the heck are we supposed to do that?
Learn About Yourself First
The first step is to learn about yourself. Short of cloning yourself and taking said clone out on a date, the unpleasantness of looking within and self-examining is necessary.
There will be a few demons in there but there will also be a few angels, too. Hopefully, said angels will be dropping elbows on those demons’ faces.
But sometimes the demons get too powerful, which is when we need to find the silver bullet that will slay the detrimental thoughts stuck in our heads. We need to find acceptance.
Every day should begin with a promise to look inside yourself and learn something new. And remember, this is all about taking baby steps.
Don’t try to force a huge revelation — "I hate cats! I’ve solved my problems!" — because it won’t do any good. Learning about yourself is a lifelong process. Take your time when getting to know who you are and start by doing things you know you like. Are you a coffee person?
People watch at a café. Study the atmosphere. Why do you like coming here? Why is this particular coffee shop unique? Beginning with your preferences will help you to understand your tastes, which will make it easier to swallow your dislikes.
Acknowledging your faults, failures and dislikes can be tough, but it needs to be done, as it’s the only way to move on. Instead of being something you dread, it should be therapeutic.
Finding out where your deficiencies lie should be the greatest motivator in the world. Knowing the problem is half the battle and finding connections is definitely easier once you identify the relationship-killing landmines to avoid. It also helps you understand why being alone is a good thing.
Being Alone Vs. Loneliness
After you learn who you are as a person, it’s time to find out why you feel alone. Being alone and loneliness are as completely different as they are completely the same.
Both deal with solitude but if you are alone, you are isolated while loneliness is an emotional response that doesn’t necessarily have to do with your setting. You can learn to be alone and be okay with being alone.
Once you figure out that being alone and loneliness are different, you can understand that being alone is not inherently bad. Plenty of us understand that having some “alone time” is okay, so what makes being single so different?
You are the same person with the same goals and same dreams, but it just so happens that you are not sharing any of those goals or dreams with anyone at the moment. Essentially, being alone is perfectly okay.
Loneliness, on the other hand, is emotionally draining. The feelings of loneliness create a whirlpool of sadness will take everything out of you, and these emotions are why learning to be alone can be very challenging.
Simply put, loneliness is painful. However, it is an obstacle that can be overcome. Here is where your friends and others come in.
The best way to avoid dwelling on your loneliness is concentrate on others. Supporting others will help you support yourself.
Always show up when invited to gatherings, talk about your plans and dreams and listen to others intently. You may learn something about yourself as you learn more and more about the outside world.
This is NOT the time to shower your friends with your problems. While venting can help you in the short term, constantly bemoaning your loneliness is bad news for everyone involved.
Your friends will grow to dislike spending time with you because you are constantly bringing them down or making them feel guilty for your sadness.
In turn, you will feel terrible because you haven’t dealt with your loneliness healthily and your constant groaning will keep the bad thoughts in your head.
Enjoy Your Alone Time
Now that you are beginning to learn about yourself and are gradually breaking down the walls of loneliness, it’s time to enjoy being alone. There are no rules to being alone, and since you are in the prime of your life, you can explore anything your heart desires.
Since you are alone, no one can judge you for trying new things while making a complete ass out of yourself. Learn from your mistakes and absolutely disregard the consequences. You’re alone! You are the only person to whom you have to answer.
Being alone definitely has its setbacks, but the hardships can be enlightening and empowering. Being alone allows you to take everything in: your surroundings, your thoughts and your relationships.
And just like breathing, you will exhale everything back out again. The feeling of exhalation will be relaxing and comforting.
Coming to terms with these periods of isolation will allow you to join others and eventually, join your future significant other in a more conscious and healthy relationship.
And don’t worry, the relationship doesn’t have to last long either. You are still learning.
Top Photo Courtesy: Tumblr