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The Whole World Thinks I’m Alone, What If I Never Felt That Way

The Whole World Thinks I’m Alone, What If I Never Felt That Way

Every year as Valentine’s Day approaches, I dread the infamous question “Do you have a date for Valentine’s?” I don’t dread the question because I don’t have a date, which is supposed to make me sad. I dread the question because people are convinced that I will spend the day crying over my unfair fortune, and that single equals miserable. Well, guess what – I’m single and I love it!

Don’t get me wrong – I am still looking for a fulfilling romantic relationship. But I learned that I can be perfectly happy on my own. Whoever says you need to be with someone to be happy – has some deep insecurities to work on.

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Nobody can truly love you if you don’t love yourself

I’ve learned so much from the last time I had a relationship, a long-term “serious” relationship. What I mean by serious, is that we were constantly asked “When are you going to get married?” or “When are you going to have kids?” And I was smiling and politely responding to the questions, eagerly waiting for those things to come. I thought it was supposed to be that way, and that I will miss out on happiness if I don’t perfectly follow the timeline: meet – start relationship – get married – have children. Why? Because that’s what my surroundings led me to believe – do it as soon as you can, or you’ll be miserable for the rest of your life. You are worth nothing if you are not in a relationship.

We were perfectly happy (or so I thought). But one thought came to my mind and it wouldn’t leave me alone. I started feeling like I was in somebody else’s shoes. Is this really me? Do I know what I want and what I like, it has just aligned, over time, with what my partner wants or likes? Is this happiness, or I’m just too afraid to be alone? Am I really satisfied with myself? Do I really love myself?

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Am I going forwards or backwards?

I realized I’m lost in all the expectations I didn’t create myself. I’ve lost myself in the process. I felt so alone. I realized that deep down, I’m not happy. I needed to find myself.

The unavoidable conversation came. “But I love you!” “How can you love me if I don’t love myself?”

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After the breakup, people were walking on eggshells around me, constantly asking “Are you OK?” Of course, I felt sad, but I was excited at the same time, because for the first time in years, I didn’t know what the future holds, and I could build it the way I wanted to, not the way people expect me to. The word “single” stopped having the negative meaning. It now meant that I can take the time to really get to know and love myself. I started doing everything that came to my mind – learned a new language, read a whole load of books (epic fantasy is what I like the most, if you want to know), tried new foods,  and took up new hobbies (I’ll stay away from volleyball in the future, thank you very much, but at least now I know). I came to realize who I truly am.

I can truly appreciate the meaning of love now, since romantic love is not the only kind of love. I found that the love I have for myself is the most important part of happiness. I now love myself and only now I can find my significant other who will love me for who I really am. I also found out that the love I have for my dearest friends and family can warm my heart and make me a better person. That’s the kind of love that gives you strength. So, me being single was the best time of my life, because I learned so many things. Now, I’m ready to find my significant other. My truly significant other. And I will wait. I won’t settle for less. Because being single is not that bad after all.

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Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/ via unsplash.com

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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