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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 December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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