Over the last year or so I’ve probably written and re-written and deleted this post a dozen times; maybe that’s because I know the whole subject of being alone versus loneliness is quite a sensitive one to many. I’ve been away for a while, busy flitting between work and a trip to the UK to visit family, but I’ve had some time to myself to think about this. Let’s give this a shot.
The world is saturated with quotes and films which lead us to think that we’re perpetually in search of some other half, implying some sort of lack on the part of the single person. There’s a sense that you should be looking for someone to complete you because as things stand you’re incomplete. You need to go out and hunt that ‘other half’ down before all the available men and women are taken by more fortunate parties. If you’re alone, then you damn well better be feeling lonely because that’s just how things work. Right? Wrong.
Now before I start to sound cynical, here’s a quick disclaimer to let you know that I’m all for the romance and the fluttering feeling you get when that guy you like looks at you, talks to you, or likes your latest selfie on Facebook. And don’t get me started on when the date happens – I’m a sucker for all of that good stuff (especially if said date involves excellent food).
What I’m not a fan of is perpetuating the idea that a person isn’t complete unless they’ve got a significant other. The anxiety and misery that this type of thinking creates is not just unfair but bordering on the ridiculous – and I regret not having realised this sooner (which explains why I’m writing this, hoping that it might help someone else realise this earlier on in life than I did). If you’re constantly in search of an ‘other’ to complete you, you’re walking around feeling like you’re not good enough, like there’s a big hole in your chest; that’s just not right and definitely not healthy. Instead of embracing the notion that you should be out there looking for ‘the one’ why aren’t we helping people realise that being okay alone is what comes first, before getting into a relationship? Why aren’t we helping people value themselves as whole, complete human beings who don’t need someone else to function on a day-to-day basis?
When that special person does come along, then what you’ve got is a really great partner to go on adventures with. I don’t mean Indiana Jones style adventures (but I’m not discouraging that) – I mean life in general with all the possible experiences waiting at every turn, whether it’s trying out that new Indian restaurant or planning your next trip together. What we need to look for isn’t another half, because we’re already whole. What we’re looking for is another whole to complement your own complete self. And when that happens, it’s beautiful and you are ridiculously happy.
But don’t forget that you are okay in solitude. Your time alone with yourself is valuable – use it well. We spend so much time giving our energy to the world out there that we need the down-time to recharge and build ourselves up as individuals. It’s about having time to read a book, do something creative, exercise, unwind, or simply reflect on the week’s events and write a few lines in your journal. Invest time in yourself. Be kind to yourself and be okay alone because you deserve to feel whole and there’s nothing wrong with it. At the end of the day, you might end up giving yourself the space you need to see that you’re not really as alone as you felt in the first place.
That’s my 2 cents, anyway.