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These are common thoughts and emotions that can be evoked with the holidays here. At a time where we’re surrounded by more friends and family than any other time of year, we can feel more isolated than ever in a society that tells us that if we’re not with someone, there must be something wrong with us as individuals. Most of the time these external sources are the people closest to us questioning why we’re single which can make us feel even worse. “So who are you dating?”, “Why you haven’t met someone yet?”, and even worse, “Are you depressed?”
So if I’m not dating someone this automatically makes me “depressed?” What if I’m happy being single? What if I like my independence and autonomy? What if I enjoy being able to focus on finding what I like as an individual and what makes me happy outside of a relationship? After a while it can be exhausting and seem pointless explaining to each person the why’s and how’s while actually having to justify my relationship status. We get it. After hearing this over and over the message is that there is something wrong with us if we’re not dating someone or married…yesterday.
There is a huge difference between being alone and being lonely, and being alone isn’t always the negative thing people seem to think it is.
It is important to be comfortable with being alone. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself, learning what makes you happy as an individual, and discovering what makes you feel good about yourself. It makes a difference being able to love yourself and knowing what you need to be happy. If you’re always looking for happiness in other people, you could be devaluing yourself causing you to feel sad, empty, and lonely when others can’t provide those feelings of affection and encouragement.
This makes a massive difference in your relationships too. Rather than being co-dependent on a significant other, two people who love themselves first are aren’t relying on other people for their happiness and are choosing to be in a relationship not because they need it, but because they genuinely care about each other. Great relationships consist of individuals that can function as well separately as they can as individuals. For self-reliance and personal growth, becoming comfortable being alone is important as we see many problems in mental health stemming from individuals staying in an unhealthy relationship or a relationship based on convenience rather than love. The benefits of being alone come from you developing yourself to be the best version of you, a person that you can actually feel proud of, so that when you actually meet that person you care for, you have something to offer them.
You just have to start by loving yourself. There’s a great quote delivered by Jim Carrey in the movie Yes Man, after his struggle with loneliness, low self-esteem, and unhappiness that really puts this into perspective.
“The old Carl didn’t think he was enough for anybody. I thought if I said ‘yes’ to things and got involved with people sooner or later they’d find out I’m not enough. I didn’t think I had anything to share. But now I know what I have to share is pretty huge. And I want to share it with you.”
Keeping in mind that this is a comedy, it’s still a very good depiction of how to combat feelings of unhappiness, loneliness, and how self-care and self-love impacts all areas of your life, including relationships. The first step to overcoming loneliness is being able to be comfortable with you. You have worth, you have value, and you don’t need someone else to define you. Actually living in the present and being comfortable with yourself will allow you to develop into a person that other people want around.
It’s alright to feel lonely once in a while. In fact, it’s a normal feeling you don’t need to feel ashamed of. However, loneliness can be very damaging to self-esteem and long-term development if unaddressed over longer periods of time. If you’re struggling to take steps to accept and love yourself, let us help you with your personal struggles and goals.
You don’t have to go through this alone. Our professional counselors can give you the guidance you are searching for. Counseling can help you gain a better understanding of yourself and identify what you want in life whether that means being single or being in a relationship. As a St. Petersburg, FL based counseling clinic, our individual counseling services help people like you all the time! We’d love to help you regain your self confidence and feel connected to the world around you. Whether you’re coping with anxiety, trying to figure out how you fit into the world as a woman, struggling to co-parent with an ex or just trying to figure out who you are-we can help. Contact McNulty Counseling today to learn more about our mental health counseling services. We are located in Pinellas County and serve the St. Petersburg, FL area. Give us a call at 727-344-9867!