If you’ve ever felt the cold touch of loneliness—welcome to the club, it’s (unfortunately) a part of the human experience. In your lifetime you’re going to have moments that make you cry tears of joy, you’re going to watch children you love grow and prosper, and you’re also going to spend nights feeling so alone that make you wish you were still in a relationship with your ex. Having somebody is better than nobody, right? Not exactly.
To start off, let’s take a moment to talk about codependency… Mental Health America defines codependency as “an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship.”
Codependents have a difficult time living life without being attached to someone, whether it’s a friend, a coworker, a family member, or a romantic partner.
Now, it’s up to the person to decide if they are codependent or not, but codependency in any of its forms can damage a person’s life. Especially when it comes to romantic relationships. If you’ve ever felt as if the world is going to start crashing down on you because you and your significant other aren’t in a healthy place, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing codependency on some level.
However, it may be less noticeable—instead of feeling like the world is crashing down, you may feel a sudden drop in self-esteem. It may manifest into negative self-talk or feelings of undesirability — and you may start to become obsessed with seeking validation from your partner to reassure the attraction that exists between you.
While codependency isn’t a label you should lightly throw around, it’s a normal part of the human experience. But, when depending on other human beings becomes a necessity instead of a comforting asset in your life, it’s time to rethink how you’re handling your personal relationships.
So, you’re feeling lonely… and your immediate knee-jerk reaction is to quench this loneliness with human interaction (quite preferably human interaction of the romantic kind). What do you do? Do you give into the biologically natural phenomenon of not wanting to feel loneliness and seek out a romantic partner, or should you give yourself some time to sit with this feeling (possibly even grow past it)?
You would think it goes without saying—the ability to stand in this world alone without a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse is an imperative one.
Your emotional coping capacity stands a greater chance in the face of adversity if you are able to embrace the sanctity of solitude.
Why do I think this is so important? Let me explain.
Before you achieve a healthy relationship with a romantic partner (or any relationship, for that matter), it’s highly suggested that the relationship you have with yourself is intact. There’s many ways that your relationship with yourself can seem whole, but there’s one factor more important above all: Self-love. If you don’t have love for yourself, it’s impossible to radiate love to anyone else.
You can’t give away what you do not have.
If you don’t feel love for yourself, chances are you will attempt to seek validation from your partner. This causes all kinds of problems—low self esteem, codependency, unhealthy boundaries—and when your partner isn’t giving you the kind of love that makes you feel secure, this causes a slew of unhealthy habits in the relationship.
As for the process of cultivating self-love, it’s something that is easier done when you’re not in a committed relationship, giving you time to focus on who you are and what you really want (without another person’s influence involved). This gives you the space to cultivate your passions, to reconnect with friends and family, and to remember what it’s like just to be you.
In addition to reconnecting with who you are, you’re also granted the space to reassess the kind of partner you’re interested in spending your life with. Chances are, there are a handful of patterns that have caused your previous relationships to fail—maybe you tend to choose significant others who aren’t ready for commitment, or you possibly aren’t ready for commitment yourself. You may have a tendency to ignore red flags or to settle for a partner who doesn’t meet your standards.
In this place of self-love and reassessment, the power is now yours to make executive decisions on how you want your future to look, along with the kind of partner you wish to share that future with. Ask yourself, “what am I willing to do to cultivate authentic self-love? What do I want my future to look like? Have I been going about relationships and self-love the wrong way?” Taking the time to focus on yourself in between relationships and coming to love and cherish this time is key for personal growth.
Luckily, once self-love has been attained and you have found your two feet firmly planted on the ground again, this raises the chance of success for your next relationship by leaps and bounds. You’re grounded at this point, you’ve taken the time to reassess, you feel centered and you’re sure of what you want.
This is attractive…
…and it makes for healthier future relationships.
Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself to figure out what you really want from life, time to reconnect with friends and family, and time to find a way to feel perfectly okay living life without a relationship. Ultimately, it will benefit you.
Here’s to bettering our lives and ourselves,
Dixie Wright, Writer + Business Owner, Self-Belief Wins Every Time