I have witnessed it time and time again with friends and including myself: Most of us are so terrified by the thought of going through life alone without a partner, that we tend to rush into relationships to avoid that feeling of solitude. And sure enough, in the beginning it’s all so wonderful and we are convinced that this time we found the one. Months and possibly years pass by and the initial romance gives way to that feeling you know all too well: “Is that it?”. That little inner voice of yours, which you thought long gone is back, telling you once again that something is missing and that you are not as happy as you thought you were. Sound familiar?
What if I told you, I believe that spending a longer period of time alone (without being committed in a relationship) is how you set the base for future, successful and happy relationships?
The truth of the matter is, each of us comes with “baggage”. We all have them to some extent: those dark thoughts, sad memories and insecurities, which we prefer to keep bottled up inside and hidden away for nobody (including ourselves) to see. In fact, when it comes to our deepest fears and emotions, most of us would rather run a mile than acknowledge their existence. After all, it’s difficult, it’s embarrassing – not to mention annoying and depressing, so why even bother?
By suppressing our difficulties however, we inevitably make them worse. Our unexpressed insecurities become anxieties and create a void similar to a black hole deep within ourselves. The longer we ignore our “inner demons” and just gloss over them, the bigger the void becomes and the more desperate we become to fill it and to find ways of shushing out all those negative voices inside.
And what better way to fill that void, than to rely on a loving partner to give us a sense of self-worth, right? Except, it’s not your partner’s job to “fix” you, it’s yours and yours only! You need to know how to deal with your fears and insecurities on your own – whether it’s your abandonment issues, your jealousy, your low self-esteem or your anger issues, to name a few.
This is exactly where most couples fail: Most enter a relationship confusing their need for comfort, their need to fill that inner void or their need to feel worshiped to keep those underlying insecurities under control, for love. We fail to realize that those very emotions, which we keep under wraps are part of us (whether we like it or not) and will surface at some point: Not today, not tomorrow and maybe not for another year, but they eventually will and then what? How can you expect your partner to deal with them if you can’t even handle them yourself? Your partner will tire of having to compliment you all the time because you need the validation or you’ll become fed up with putting up with his commitment issues.
The foundation for a successful relationship is to be in complete sync with yourself before even entering a relationship. Know yourself inside and out (including all your flaws) and be comfortable with who you are. How do you do that? Spend time alone without being in a relationship. Learn to rely on yourself first and foremost and to give yourself the validation you need, without having to rely on a partner for this.
I’m not saying you have to spend years locked up in an Ashram in the middle of nowhere (unless you want to – then go for it). The goal is simply to deal with your inner demons (again, we all have them to some extent) and to ensure that you are capable of giving yourself what you need, without looking for others to fulfill your needs. Not only does this build character but it will make you more confident as well, and we all know the positive effect confident people have on others, don’t we?
A relationship is all about moving forward and growing together. It’s not about having to constantly build up your partner’s self-esteem and dealing with his insecurities. Supporting each other through tough times is great and a sure sign of love and trust, but it should never get to the point where it becomes a full-time job for you or your spouse/ partner. You have to come up with your own coping mechanisms and techniques to handle yourself. You are after all your own person and don’t need approval or validation from anybody else.
So, if you are not currently in a relationship or have just broken up, see this as the opportunity to be in a relationship with yourself for a while. Get to really know yourself and address your deepest emotions. I guarantee, you’ll come out a stronger person and your next relationship(s) will benefit greatly as you’ll be able to be yourself 100% and give yourself completely to your partner.
I’m a huge advocate of spending time alone (even when I am in a relationship with someone). I see it as a way of maintaining my inner independence and of taking care of myself. When I take care of myself, I feel in charge or my life and more self-confident. Being more self-confident allows me to enjoy life and my relationship more as I get to focus on things other than my insecurities and problems (for tips on improving your self-confidence, read my post “my 7 steps on boosting self-confidence“)
My advice to you: don’t view being alone as a punishment of the universe. See it as a blessing in disguise, a well deserved “me-time” that will help you have better relationships in the future.