We are social creatures, and it’s very natural to want to spend time with other people, or at least one other person. It’s also in our nature to desire relationships of all kinds with others. When it is difficult to find these relationships, it’s very easy to feel lonely. Because of personal experiences in my life, I personally ache for anyone who feels alone. During a very difficult time, I learned that I am never truly alone because there is always someone who loves me, though it may not always feel that way. But there’s a certain kind of loneliness friends, family, and religion can fill, and another kind that they cannot (or that we don’t feel they can).
I think the number one complaint I hear about loneliness, is the complaint of being single. Some people try different methods to cope with their singleness: surrounding themselves with people who care about them, deceiving themselves into believing being single doesn’t bother them, etc. Others are truly happy being single. Others desperately want to find someone.
There seems to be a stigma about singleness in our culture. If you’re single, you start to believe things like: I’m not worthy to be with someone; why does no one like me?; there is no one good for me, etc. We are sold the lie that being in a relationship will make us happy and solve all of our problems, and we all seek happiness and an easier life.
But singleness shouldn’t be something you try to “cope with.” It isn’t a disease. It isn’t contagious or harmful. It’s just one of many ways of living.
I recently spoke with a professor about wanting to be published. I’m an aspiring novelist, and it is one of my many goals to publish a novel. He told me that I’m young and many young people make the mistake of trying to get published too early instead of honing their craft in writing. It was some of the best advice I received. How does this relate to being single?
I think too many people focus on seeking that relationship instead of focusing on themselves. Have you ever thought that maybe you’re not in a relationship right now because there is something about yourself you have to change? Maybe you're just not ready? In relationships, it becomes very easy to get caught up in emotions and think about yourself in relation to the person you’re with. You spend a lot of time focusing on the other person. But maybe you need to spend time focusing on you, and making yourself a better person. Maybe in order to be happy and fulfilled, you have to find that for yourself first before you can try to give that to someone else.
A relationship is not meant to be the solution to a problem. It’s not meant to “cure” loneliness, because you can be just as lonely or more so while being with someone. Relationships are meant for more intimate companionships – to find happiness within one another, but while still being happy on your own. Relationships of any kind require mutual effort and come with their own set of problems.
Being single is not a problem. Being unable to be happy or fulfilled without someone is. It’s not wrong to want someone special in your life, but you shouldn’t want that person so you can feel better about yourself. You should just want someone to share the ride with.
p.s. still feeling worried about being single? "Over 50% of all singles in America have not had a date in more than two years." You're not the only single person out there.