I have this friend who’s an amazing, beautiful person and I love her to death. She’s so smart, funny, kind, and she does so much for other people, all the time. But she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Every now and then, she’ll complain to me about how lonely she is and how she wishes she could meet a cute guy to make her happy.
I used to feel the same and would join in with her, whining about how we wanted a Sean O’Pry lookalike to walk into our lives and want us back. But now, being single makes me incredibly happy. And when she tells me about how lonely she is, it breaks my heart. I know how she feels, and it makes me so upset knowing that countless girls feel this way too.
Being alone doesn’t mean you’re any less desirable. It could mean that you haven’t met anyone that meets your standards for a partner. Or maybe you aren’t at a place in your life when you have enough time to give to one specific person. Maybe nobody is asking you out on dates. No matter what your reasons are for being single, none of them mean that you’re any less of a catch or any less desirable.
Being alone can feel horrible, but it can also be a beautiful thing. I used to be terribly afraid of being single for too long because I thought that if nobody wanted to date me, then nobody thought I was special, which meant that I wasn’t special at all. That’s bullshit, and I want everyone to realize that. If that’s your internal monologue too, then tell your inner critic to shut up and leave. And if anyone you know is actually saying that to you, forget about them — you don’t need that negativity in your life.
As I got older, I realized how much happier I was on a day to day basis while I was single, in contrast to how happy I was when I was in a relationship. In some of my relationships, I spent a lot of my time worrying about what my boyfriend thought about me or worrying if I was as pretty as other girls or thinking irrational, jealous thoughts. I’m not saying that relationships are crappy for everyone just because they weren’t always great for me. But I needed the time I had to spend alone in order to grow out of those insecurities.
During my teens, I didn’t allow myself the time to grow on my own without a boyfriend, and I continued that pattern for years. Now, I’m 20, alone, and happy beyond my wildest dreams. During my freshman year of college, I didn’t join a single organization on campus because I spent all my time talking to my long distance boyfriend. Now that I’m single, I’ve joined several organizations I’m passionate about, taken on leadership roles, made dozens of amazing friends, started an advice blog, wrote for my school’s newspaper, got a few editing/writing jobs, got closer to my family members and longtime friends, and so on. I never realized my full potential and what I could do with my time when I wasn’t giving my all to one person!
My life is amazing and fulfilling now that I’ve started to actually live it for myself. I’m so happy with my life that I’m actually tearing up as I write this. I wouldn’t have reached this peak in my life though, unless I took the time to be alone. Sure, there were plenty of nights over the past few months when I cried. I seriously considered trying to win back a guy I used to like, just so I could get that attention I craved, just so I didn’t have to feel so terribly alone.
But sometimes you need to hurt. You need to be alone. You need to push through the discomfort and the loneliness, because once you spend enough time with only yourself, you’ll learn that you’re actually an awesome person. Or if you don’t feel that awesome yet, you’ll go out of your comfort zone and pursue the things that will make you happy.
My mom always tells me that the time you spend alone is the most important time for personal growth, because it forces you to be okay with who you are, apart from anyone else. Take the time to be lonely, even if it hurts. It really does get better, and I feel like my own life is a testament to how happy you can be if you deal with the discomfort of being alone.
So be happy with being alone, and let’s all be alone, together!
And to quote Donald Glover‘s tweet from a few weeks ago, “alone doesn’t mean lonely tho.”
P.S. Treat yo self dates are awesome ways to pass the time when you’re trying to be happy while being alone! Check out this article for some ideas to get you started!