We are supposed to love being alone. We’re told that we are in some way defective, or not fully matured, if we long for a relationship. We’re told that the right one will come when we’ve learned the lessons that our solitude is meant to give us – as though it is a punishment for not being ready. We’re supposed to love this purgatory. We’re supposed to use it to learn things about ourselves.
In many ways, this isn’t untrue. You are with yourself until you die. You are the only constant in your life. Unless you are comfortable being with yourself, you will become half the person you have the potential to be. You’ll surround yourself with the wrong people. You’ll stay in the wrong relationships. You will do anything you can to avoid being by yourself. You’ll compromise your life because you never befriended your first, and only, lifelong companion.
But what happens when you get too good at being alone? What happens when you get so used to relying on yourself that the prospect of having another person in your space and sharing your money and living life beside you feels invasive, and uncomfortable?
We live in such a heavily individualistic culture that we forget we need people. We forget that living alone is, historically, not the norm. We are a social species. We need to feel acceptance, we thrive within communities. We become drastically sicker – both mentally and physically – when we are left to age, and die, by ourselves.
It’s like a textbook case of anxious or avoidant attachment, but we’re doing it on a mass scale. Rather than turning toward people when we need comfort and love, we learn to turn away from them. We begin to believe that aloneness is not only a solution, but safety. This is how our growing period morphs into our comfort zone.
Love doesn’t only come when you’re perfect, though that’s how the world makes it seem. We used to think we needed to attain a physical or domestic perfection to find love, and now we’re being pushed in another direction, being told that if the Universe hasn’t handed us our perfect companion, we’re underdeveloped. Immature. Lacking, in some way or another.
You are not alone because you’re broken. Some people find their partners when they still have a lot of healing to do. Others find them once they’ve gone through the fire on their own. Your wholeness doesn’t determine whether or not someone will love you. You are not supposed to work on yourself up until the day that you find that person, and then stop. It’s a lifelong journey, and at some point, someone special will join you on it.
… If you let them.
That’s the thing about getting too good at healing, getting too comfortable with only relying on yourself. It can build a fear of opening up and sharing a life, even if that’s all you really want. It can make you feel like being alone is the norm, and being around others is a labor. It can make you feel ashamed for wanting love, as though it’s a sign you aren’t quite whole yet. As though that’s not one of the most natural, human desires.
We do ourselves a disservice when we get too good at being alone. We abuse the time our life gives to us to find ourselves, using it instead to become so set in our ways that becoming a partner seems more unnatural. We’re not physiologically, psychologically or emotionally designed to only rely on ourselves. We’re not broken because we’re single for a time, but we are breaking ourselves when isolation becomes safer than companionship.