• Maggie Dunsford

Being Alone but not Lonely

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

Being alone is not a new topic for me. I’ve covered feelings of loneliness before in “Healing after a Breakup” and “The ‘I’ in Loneliness.” Both of those were difficult to write, and I suspect this will be no different. I’ve been single for two years now, so I think I could be considered an expert on being alone. In those two years, I’ve healed after a tremendously painful breakup and realized how toxic that relationship had been for me. I’ve been on many dates, talked to many guys and girls on Tinder, then deleted all my dating apps. Then I realized I didn’t want to be in a relationship.

The past two years have been a roller coaster, but I’ve finally found peace with myself. I’ve learned to be single and content with that. In the past, I had simply tolerated being single. I saw being single as the space between relationships. I didn’t see it as a necessary period in itself. I saw it as a nuisance and crossed off days on the calendar, waiting for someone to come along.

I’ve gotten comfortable with being single and am really enjoying it right now. I’ve recognized that while being alone can be painful, it doesn’t have to be. I can be a very passive person, especially in relationships. In my last relationship, that was definitely the case. I lost parts of myself, and my voice became smaller and smaller as I let someone else take the reigns. It felt comfortable at the time, but I realized that I had allowed myself to become way too dependent on someone else.

Being single gave me the clarity to see all the cracks in that relationship I had been blinded to while I was in it. It gave me the time and space to cry, heal, and work through all of the toxicity of that relationship. It gave me the time to be myself and learn what I truly wanted, instead of clinging to someone else. I’ve realized that being alone is one of the most important things I could have learned. Being single is not something that needs to be changed, it can be a beautiful thing in and of itself.

It might not always feel like that, and it definitely did not always feel that way for me. I spent so much time waiting for someone to come along, waiting to be noticed by someone. I was bidding my time, and I wasted so much of it waiting passively on the sidelines for someone else to see how great I was. I recognize my greatness now without outside validation. I don’t need someone else to love me because I found the greatest love for me inside myself.

I’m not saying that I don’t want to fall in love again someday, because I definitely do. I’m just not in any hurry. I am no longer trying to rush along fate to bring me, someone, to love. Being content when single doesn’t mean I always want to be alone, it just means I’m content being single, and when love comes along, then great! I used to see being single, especially being single for a long time, as a failure, some kind of reflection on me, and my worth. But being single can be its own victory. I got out of a horrible relationship, and now my standards have risen. I now know how I deserve to be treated and love myself enough to walk away from situations I don’t want to be in.

There’s a massive difference between being alone and being lonely. When I got depressed, sometimes I would feel lonely even when I was surrounded by people. Loneliness isn’t necessarily about the number of people around you, it’s about connection. I didn’t feel any connection to those around me and wasn’t connected to myself. I have found peace in myself and can be completely alone and feel whole. This has helped me a lot lately with social distancing and everything going on with COVID-19. In some ways, I feel less lonely now than ever before.

It took me a very long time to get where I am today. And it’s okay to be struggling with loneliness or being single or whatever it is you’re going through. It is possible to be alone without feeling lonely, and everyone can be a whole, wonderful, beautiful person all by ourselves!

Image Credit: https://crossingenres.com/

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