If you had asked me a couple years ago, I would have thought that I was already on my way to being as independent as I could be. Turns out, fast forward to now, that I had no idea what it meant to be fully sufficient on my own. Just because I was able to pay my own bills, and capable of making my own decisions, did not mean that I had any clue on what it meant to be independent. When it came to the relationships I had with the vast majority of people in my life, I was still extremely codependent; a term I would not become familiar with until this past year while living alone.
Why are so many of us afraid of being on our own? Well, for the most part, we have been convinced that being alone means that there must be something wrong with us. In western culture, your relationship status seems to hold far too much weight in the value of who you are as a person, and I refuse to fall into that trap. When we are able to change the way we look at being alone, and the freedom that it truly offers us, I think many more would be on board with spending more time with themselves. As someone who has always jumped from one toxic ‘situationship’ to the next (‘situationship’ meaning that the term ‘relationship’ would be giving too much credit to what it actually was), this past year spent truly alone has been eye-opening in the way that I view the importance of those we choose to have in our lives. By choosing to stand alone, I have been able to clear any distractions I would have had while catering to the needs of another person over my own. When you spend time with yourself, you are able to distinguish, and discover what it is that makes you happy, and what it is you were always doing to please others.
This goes for all relationships in our lives. The connections we have with others will greatly influence our choices in life, so it is of great importance to make sure you are around those that impact you in a positive way. Toxic friendships, relationships, work acquaintances, and even family members are all included in the group of people that you need to be honest with yourself about. The title of this post was created with the idea in mind that we must be willing to stand alone, because if we are standing with others who bring us down, or negatively impact our lives, what does that say for how we choose to treat ourselves?
By standing alone, I have been able to learn why I have always put others above myself, chosen to see my worth through the lens of those I thought I needed, and why I was more concerned with the happiness of others versus happiness for myself. My sense of purpose was always built on the foundation that I needed to cater, and please to feel as though I am important, valued, and needed. When we are being driven to do things out of fear of being abandoned, or rejected by the ones receiving our best efforts, there will come a point where we will need to reevaluate the actual strength of these connections, and if we are just acting in fear of being alone. If we find that our motivations are for the wrong reasons, then being alone is exactly what we need to do for ourselves. What will feel scary at first, will end up being the best step in the right direction that is YOUR life.
Throughout my recovery, learning to live with myself has, and still is, the biggest challenge I face. Even after a year of being completely on my own, I am still noticing areas in which I have neglected over the years, and that still need my attention. This post is not to say that being alone will give you ALL the answers, but it is a good start. For me, it certainly was a key factor in who I am today, and where I want to lead the direction of my life. When it comes to your own happiness, and what you want to set out to do in this world, you must first know exactly who you are (or at least a large percentage, since we are all works in progress). We are not able to do that when so much of what we believe about ourselves is just a compilation of outside opinions. By standing alone, and being on your own, you have no choice but to find what makes you happy, and what makes life worth living for YOU.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.