Solitude vs. Lonely: Which One?

A week ago when the ice blessed me with a day off from work, I took advantage of my free time and went to see the (relatively) new movie How to Be Single. I went expecting laughs and actually walked away thinking about a topic that has been in the forefront of my mind for awhile.

Not too long ago I had this conversation with an acquaintance (okay, a guy that happened to be sitting next to me at the bar during a happy hour) about being single. We both agreed that when a person is comfortable with themselves, when they’ve realized that even if they never meet anyone they’re good by themselves, they in turn hit a point where they don’t stay in situations that don’t serve them and are easily okay with walking away from situations. They walk in the knowledge that they deserve better…that they can be themselves and not be in the situation they are in.

I definitely recognize that for myself. As someone that has spent more time being single than in relationships for most of my adult life thus far, I’m good with being alone. But watching the movie amplified this epiphany of sorts that I’ve had. Basically, my mindset regarding being single has not been quite right. I’ve spent most of my time not in a relationship wanting to be in one. I’ve accepted being alone, but deep down have really wanted to be with someone. I love love and like being in relationships. But I think, for me, the quest for wanting someone has made me entertain people, stay in situations, and keep acquaintanceships that simply were not worthy, did not serve me, and simply were not going anywhere. And this was all still while having healthy self esteem and feeling comfortable with myself.

What I have not done, is stop and just enjoy, fully enjoy, being single. I’ve spent most of my time doing like I do in most areas of my life – looking toward the future. This isn’t to say I shouldn’t date, but I do need to enjoy not dating too. I need to enjoy all parts of my life as they are – if for nothing else than the fact that I know it won’t always be like this.

So what all this pondering loneliness and solitude has led to is me deciding to put my focus on the relationships around me. I would rather strengthen the relationships I feel for my family, my friends and put my focus on them and the real love they represent. That doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily closing myself to other people, because I’m definitely still dating. But what comes to mind is this video I saw from Za of FBF Fitness about lessons that she learned from 2015. One thing that stood out is how she said that at some point you have to look at the relationships you have in your life and realize that when you really love yourself, you will not stay in toxic relationships. She mentioned how she spent most of the year focusing on herself and her relationships and how that strengthened her relationships with her children, her family, and friends. And so I’ve been thinking that maybe that’s what I need to do. Yeah I’ll keep going on dates and meeting people, but I think that the “hunt” or making dating my key focus, isn’t what I’m going to do. My key focus instead will be checking in on my favorite cousins, talking to my sister more regularly and actually talking instead of venting as I so often do. Just in general being consistent in checking in with my friends that don’t live near me, as well as those that do, and finding ways to improve those connections- the real love connections that I already have in my life.

To be honest, when you’re single and alone, it can really create some different feelings and urges inside. And honestly, for brief moments I’ve actually considered settling. But just as quick as that notion has come to me, it disappears. That’s not how I was raised and that’s not something I believe in. Settling should never be an option, period. Ever. Gratefulness should though. We should put our energy into what it is that we’re already grateful for. We should all want the best for ourselves because we deserve the best. And I firmly believe that when we focus on that, both being grateful for the awesomeness that exists in our lives now while trying to be the best version of ourselves, we inevitably attract that which we seek. Sometimes that requires being in solitude for awhile. And that is okay.

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