Being alone is not synonymous with being lonely.

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked why I was single, I would never have to work another day in my life. Okay, that may be a bit dramatic, but it feels as though I am always being asked this question, and I find myself always asking instead, why does that matter? Why does it seem that so many people are more worried about my relationship status than I am? After being asked this question enough times to inspire myself to write about it, I now beg the question: At what point did we decide that being alone meant the same thing as loneliness?

I have been lonely before, and you know what, it was always in the presence of another person. For as long as I can remember, I have always been with “someone.” Whether that be a boyfriend, or someone just playing the part, there was always another person in my life because I had always thought I needed someone else to feel complete. How wrong I had been for so long. When you find yourself in a relationship and you are constantly worrying about their whereabouts, or focusing too much on what it is that they are doing, you start to lose bits and pieces of yourself. You start second guessing your worth, and you start becoming someone that you are not. There has never been a relationship where I didn’t try to mold into the person that they wanted me to be. This is how loneliness is created, and this is where I learned that you can be in a room full of people, all the while feeling lonely.

I had been in all kinds of love, except the one where you love yourself. It took years of heartbreak, and picking up the pieces from other people to finally figure out that you can’t fix others, unless you have done the work for yourself first. With each new person that passed through my life, it seemed that the only thing that changed were the red flags I should have avoided when letting them into my heart. Please do not think that I am blaming them for my loneliness; I am simply just saying that two broken people do not make for a happy ending. This is something I should have learned much earlier, but it is a life lesson that I would keep reliving until I would finally come to a breaking point in my reckless love life.

I was never any good at picking good people. Everyone I allowed in usually had some kind of ‘issue’ ranging from being a cheater, an addict, an alcoholic, or my parents least favorite, a misogynist. I think this stemmed from the fact that I was avoiding dealing with my own handful of self-destructive tendencies, and with my innate desire to want to fix people, I ultimately was just destroying myself in the end. With my last “relationship” ending right around the same time of my sobriety, I decided to stop feeling lonely, and instead, try being alone.

For the past 19 months, I have spent my time getting to know myself, and learning to love what it is that I have to offer. This time has made me see how wrong I had been loving for so many years, and I am grateful for this time that I have allowed myself to grow. The biggest point that I want to stress is that being single, and being alone is a choice as well. I am not living out my days looking for the right person, and I am not going out with the intention of meeting someone to complete me. I am out completing myself, because there is not one person who will be able to love you more than you can. People are only ever to match the worth that you value your own love with.

There are too many people afraid of what they think of when they hear the word “alone.” Alone does not have to sound like a death sentence, nor should it ever be considered something bad. It is what you do with that time that either hurts or heals you. When you begin to enjoy your own company, and see that you are capable of doing all things on your own, you are alone. If you are waiting around for someone to come back into your life, or you have put your growth on hold because someone hurt you, well now you are flirting with the feeling of loneliness. You can’t stop living your life just because someone else stopped showing up for their part. You were a whole person before someone else walked into your journey and decided to stay for a while. When you start to see that some people are just intended to be chapters in your life, you will begin to keep writing the rest of your story.

The time that I have given myself to repair what was broken is something I would never trade for the world. To understand who I am became important to me, because I grew tired of always letting others define who that was. I spend time learning new things, and getting out of my comfort zone. I like to read books that allow me to know myself more, and what I want out of this life. I strike up conversations with strangers, and I give everyone I meet a fair chance. I do this, because I am genuinely interested in why someone is the way that they are. We are all a collection of our experiences, and I was tired of my life repeating the same kind of heartbreak, just with a different face. There had to be more to life than that, and my god how right I was.

I have been lonely, and I promise you, that is not the same as being alone. I hope if there is anything that you take away from this post, it’s that you are so much more than your relationship status. Currently, if you find yourself alone, take advantage of this time you have been granted. Live life for you for a change, cater to your needs, and figure out what it is that you enjoy in life. Whoever you are meant to be with will be thankful for this time you have made your own, but first and foremost, you should never be worried about someone else loving you. I think that just falls into place when you are complete on your own. Life is too short to never really know who you are all by yourself.


-Megan Lawrence