Single life: What I have gained from being alone

Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.

I have been looking for my significant other for as long as I can remember. As a young girl I was dreaming away while listening to love songs, falling in and out of love from the age of 4. Disney movies were my favorite because the princess always ended up happily ever after with her prince charming. I could not wait to have my own happy ending. But as I grew older this longing for a relationship never quite disappeared, there were even moments of desperation along the years waiting for ”That One” to come along. My first experience with a boyfriend was not as dreamy as I thought it was, it was pretty dysfunctional to say the least. My second relationship was everything my first was not, and even though we loved each other very much it just did not work out. These two experiences really confused me and colored my views and expectations of what I thought a relationship was. It left me quite hurt and filled with fear of future relationships even though I could not see it at that moment. What happened next is a long period of single life with all adventures that come with it. It was a turbulent time filled with lots of moments of extreme highs feeling on top of the world. partying every week, meeting a lot of new people, experimenting with drugs combined with moments of total loneliness, emptiness, despair and depression. In those years I experienced nights where I just could not fall asleep because I felt so intensely saddened by the fact that I had no boyfriend, no future to build and no house to make a home. But now that I look back on it as a 26 year old woman, I must say that it has been a great gift being alone for a few years. I decided to wrap up my gift in to this little blog post and unpack it with you:

  1. I learned how to be alone This has took me years I must say! There was this darkness inside of me that I was afraid of, so every time I was by myself I got confronted with it. I did not want to face it, and did everything in my power to run from it. Finally, I just gave up. There is just no possible way someone can be with another person all the time, doing things and being busy. I realized I had to accept that sometimes you are your only company and therefore it’s best to start enjoying it. I turned my loneliness into solitude and now a days I come across moments where I’d prefer to be by myself than in the company around me. In learning to be alone I gained Self Love, and I have built a steady and loving relationship with my self.
  2. I got to explore who I was and what I wanted Being in a relationship as a young woman who is very nurturing and sensitive, I used to get lost in my togetherness. What I mean by that is that I got so caught up in the ”being the girlfriend” and ”having someone to love” that I forgot about myself. After I got done with waiting and longing for that special someone, I got in touch with who I was and what I wanted in life. My life goals, my dreams and what I’m passionate about, it all came to me when I was single. In standing alone I learned where I was standing and where I was walking towards. It’s fair to say that I have gained myself because I was single.
  3. I was free to go places, travel and explore the world Being single I did not have to discuss any plans with any one other than myself. This helped me experience a lot of things I don’t think I would have experienced had I been in a relationship at that time. I worked in Amsterdam’s nightlife for almost 3 years, traveled to Surinam for three months, visited Paris alone, Berlin with a friend and went to lots of festivals, friends and family in all of these years alone. Single life helped me gain life experiences I would not trade in the world!
  4. I know what it is like to be alone, so I know what I gain in being together Because I am comfortable alone, I do not need anyone else anymore to fill up my void. I am full and complete and being together is only a choice out of love and commitment. This has totally changed my perspective and expectations on relationships. I’m not clingy or dependent and I don’t need validation or attention 24/7. I understand the need and value of individual growth and time, take my time for that and give my partner the space to do so as well. Mutual respect for individuality is very important to me today. A healthy loving relationship is about two people loving each other AND loving themselves equally. So that no one is responsible for either’s (un)happiness but themselves.

I’m fascinated with myself and love hearing the sound of my own voice. I’d like to hear what I have to say. A lot of people don’t like being alone because they truly don’t like themselves, but I love me.

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Surya Tanya