Every year I look forward to July, mainly because my birthday is in July, but most other people living in America get excited for Independence Day on July 4th. This July 4th I had the realization of how prevalent the word independence is used in our society to portray strength, courage, and a sense of self awareness. The second part of this realization was how negative the stigma of the word dependence is, and how very little publicity the issues of dependence is. There are many different types of dependence: on drugs, on other people, or on material things, just to name a few.
I never considered myself as falling under the dictionary definition of codependency, however from the age of fifteen I unintentionally found myself in a pattern of serial dating. Every failed relationship I was in I quickly moved on to another love interest without ever considering why the previous relationship didn’t work out. I understand now that not only was I hindering myself from being able to understand how to be in a healthy relationship, but I was holding myself back from knowing who I truly was as an individual.
For the most part I was always good at being in a relationship because without fully grasping my own identity I conformed to the relationship and the expectations of whoever I was with at the time. I liked having constant company to keep me from feeling lonely, but I was never going to figure out the true me without having time alone.
The time spent between your mid-teens through your mid-twenties is a very important time for most people to figure out who they really are, what they are looking for in a partner, and what they want out of life. As I mentioned I squandered a good bit of that time constantly pursuing different relationships and never gave myself that opportunity. For the last three years now I have remained single, and I have learned a lot about myself that honestly I wish I had learned earlier.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in these last three years is that it is completely okay to be alone. I’ve discovered interests, hobbies, skills, and other traits about myself that I would have never had time to discover if I had spent that time trying to fit myself into another person’s life. Not only do I know more about who I am, but I know what I want from a relationship. Previously there was no way for me to determine if I was actually compatible with another person because I believed I could make any situation work without even understanding why I had an interest in the relationship in the first place.
Loneliness affects everyone, including those that exude independence. It affects everyone differently too. The important thing to remember is that being alone isn’t a bad thing. It gives you time to focus on yourself and the activities in life you truly love. Instead of giving into loneliness, use that time to make your life as happy as you can without having a partner. The more you are yourself, the easier it will be for the people that are most compatible with you to find you.