Embracing Solitude: Learning To Enjoy Being Alone

Here's a harsh realization that most people won't acknowledge: You can still find yourself to be incredibly lonely while in a relationship. This means that you need to be satisfied with yourself above all, or no one will ever make you happy, no matter how beautiful or successful they might be.

Embracing Solitude: Learning To Enjoy Being Alone
© Nicklaus Walter

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Some people are naturally independent throughout life, and don't feel the need to be with someone else to complete them. They live to pursue their dreams first and foremost, they're always moving towards the next goal or experience, so it's a challenge for them to settle down. For others like myself, even as a young child I've always felt the longing of having a significant other in my life in order to feel complete. A hole in my heart so to speak. I imagined that once I had found someone, everything in life would finally be perfect. I wanted so badly to be with somebody, even if deep down I knew they weren't right for me.

I spent eight years in a loveless and unhealthy relationship primarily because I just didn't want to be alone. This line of thinking comes at a tremendous cost however, and as I've discovered the hard way, it's no way to live. Once that relationship ended, I still felt an aching emptiness inside and immediately threw myself in another serious long term relationship, albeit a much healthier and happier one. Nearly a decade later, I was finally forced to be alone for an entire year due to travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a brutally hard (not to mention unwelcome) experience and the loneliness was unbearable at times. Something funny happens though when you're alone for a prolonged period of time. You're eventually left with no choice but to face yourself.

As a result, those moments in isolation are when I had some of the biggest periods of self-growth in my life. To sit in silence and feel all of the buried emotions that had been hidden by distractions and life partners, I was at long last facing my demons head on. I couldn't remember ever feeling so uncomfortable or desperate. But as the weeks turned into months, I slowly started to grow independently for the first time and began to see the value in solitude. That was the first instance, but there have been many seasons since then that I've had no choice but to embrace solitude for a significant stretch.

As I've grown since then and worked hard to become a higher value individual, my self esteem has improved and I now realize that I am enough. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I'm so thankful for it. I suspect much of this transformation comes down to perceived self worth. What can be done to improve your self worth? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Treat your body and mind like a temple
  • Accomplish difficult tasks that you are not sure you can achieve
  • Always do what is right
  • Tell the truth (not just your truth)
  • Do not disrespect yourself for the sake of fleeting pleasures
  • Lift weights
  • Be consistent everyday with whatever you choose to pursue in life

For me personally, my belief in Jesus Christ has also helped to bridge the gap of feeling like I am enough. I do realize however, that faith isn't something that everyone subscribes to, so to each their own.

Here's a harsh realization that most people won't acknowledge: You can still find yourself to be incredibly lonely while in a relationship. This means that you need to be satisfied with yourself above all, or no one will ever make you happy, no matter how beautiful or successful they might be. While they will hopefully compliment you, it is a fallacy to believe that another person will complete you. I'm not advocating to avoid committed relationships by any means, but don't feel compelled to be in one just for the sake of loneliness avoidance. Guard your heart, don't be desperate, and don't chase others. Maintain high standards, and don't settle when it comes to your deal breakers.

As Robin Williams once said:

I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.

It is far better to be alone than to be in an unhealthy relationship. When you're single, you have the utmost freedom to follow your dreams and pursue your passions. You're most capable of building a better you without interruptions. The world will eventually take notice of your hard work and you'll level up accordingly. Then, once you become enough for yourself, it is far more likely that you will attract the right kind of like minded higher quality person. Ideally, they'll be on a similar wavelength as you, looking for a serious commitment, and emotionally healthy. Deep down that's what most people truly desire, and it's a great starting point for a new relationship.

If you're yearning to be in a relationship but still find yourself alone, strive to find out how good being unattached can truly be. It can easily feel like the darkest time as I know all too well, but it can also be the perfect occasion for growth and discovery. Really think about it and use your imagination. You can go anywhere or do anything:

  • Start a business
  • Transform your body
  • Travel the world
  • Meet new people
  • Improve your education
  • Discover new hobbies
  • Pursue something you've always wanted to, but have been scared of trying

I could go on, but you get the idea. People are attracted to others who have something going for them, a higher purpose and a deeply rooted sense of self. They want to be a part of the journey, rather than simply be the sole pursuit. So if you currently find yourself without a life partner, don't fret because adventure awaits. You have time to really get to know yourself, challenge yourself, and find out what you're made of. You never know, you might just find the person you've always dreamed of right when you stop looking.