I’ve been separated/divorced for almost four years now. Before that, I was someone that was always in a long term relationship. Always. From the time I was in High School. These last four years have been a bit of a roller coaster and learning to deal with loneliness played a big part.
I didn’t love me but if someone else needed me (notice I didn’t say loved me) then I must have some value, right? Today I see how sad that was and my heart is heavy for the girl who thought that was the answer.
My first year living on my own was hard but I didn’t have time to think a lot about loneliness. I was focused on my anger, the divorce process and just figuring out how to do it all on my own. The next year, I did everything I could to avoid being alone. I went out with friends, on dates, anything. I didn’t see that I was scared to be alone.
Once I started my journey of learning about self awareness and transformation, I saw my fears and began to understand them. I realized I needed to learn to enjoy being alone.
That first six months was incredibly hard. I got depressed. Being alone for the first time, I had to face feelings I had been ignoring for years. As I learned to practice self awareness, I was learning about myself and why I made the choices I had made in life. How I truly felt about myself became clear.
Self compassion was something I still had a lot to learn about at this point, so there was a lot of anger and disappointment. Anger at myself for not seeing this before. I was embarrassed because other people saw it, but I didn’t.
What I lost out on by never really being alone and being the type of person that was always a people pleaser was, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was alone. It sounds a little silly but it’s true. My hobbies were other people’s hobbies. When I went out, I did what my friends/partners wanted to do.
It was about that time that I went on my first solo vacation. I drove to Colorado and rented a cabin in the woods. That is when I rediscovered that I loved hiking and being outdoors.
I began to enjoy spending time with myself. I accepted that I needed to go through everything I did to be me. I was learning to love myself.
But that didn’t mean I never felt lonely. I knew the old me would have looked to unhealthy ways to fill a loneliness void. I was determined never to go back to the old me though. I had to find new ways to fill that void.
The way I fill the void is to do something I love. Whether that’s hiking, reading/learning, blogging or walking my dog. I had to stop focusing on what I didn’t have and spend my energy on something I love. It has made all of the difference.