As humans, we need affection, we crave attention... and we need the safety of knowing that we have someone out there in this crazy world, that cares so deeply for us, they would drop anything and everything when we are in need- its human nature. But until you are able to love yourself, until you find comfort in being alone for a period of time, until you can DATE yourself… you will find it hard to maintain a successful relationship.
As I am sure you have come to realize, relationships are a primal importance in our society- I personally file it under the 'basic needs' category in the list of hierarchy needs of life. Because of this exact thought, I grew up with this tainted view of being alone, that without that important person... my life would be filled with gloomy days. I have dated, I have had long term relationships, some short term, I've had friendships that seemed more like sisterly bonds- and I became absolutely terrified with the notion of any of those relationships ending. I thought, like many people do, my life would just fall apart (it is seriously hard for me to even write this because of how foolish it sounds.) And I am about to get a tad bit personal here, but I need to get it out there to help explain my thought process. My father, for lack of a better description, walked out on my family when I was 17. No sympathy needed- I just want to explain that this was a large reason for that constructed belief that being alone was too difficult to even fathom. Move forward a year… and I was in a relationship, I was happy… I thought having this someone meant happiness…but in reality, I could feel my dependenceincrease and my independence (the little I had at the moment) decrease… these thoughts of, "what is better in life than having someone to love?" and for so long I believed that, but now I can say with confidence… loving yourself is so much better, once you love yourself, loving someone else is just the icing on the cake. Trust me, it took me awhile to believe this… and when that relationship ended, those miserable thoughts of being alone began to creep back into my life. This break up was difficult, my dad leaving was difficult… but these were lessons that taught me so much, lessons that inevitably saved my life in the long run.. they made me stronger, helping me with the future hardships I faced. Don't take this as me trying to scare you, or insist that all relationships are doomed- I don't think that at all, I just want people, especially young girls, to realize that they can be alone. That they should not be terrified of the life after the relationship if it doesn't work out.
Of course this is all easier said than done… it took me until Ashley passed away to realize all the lessons and strength I had gained from my time alone (and I use alone loosely… as I was never without my family and particular friends, I am just relating it to not having that significant other during this time, and having just lost my sister who I told everything to.) My best friend, my sister, the girl who would do anything for me- gone. My first thoughts were that my days would be full of gloom, full of loneliness. How would I ever function without her? But it hit me, MacKenzie… you are going to function like you always have. You are going to wake up, get dressed and go on your way- that's how. Hell, there will be some tough days, but thats to be expected… and right here, these exact realizations, came from the lessons I had learned from the break ups, some disintegrating friendships, and my absentee father. If I didn't accept being alone, these friendships ending, boyfriends leaving, father walking out, would have pushed me into a hole of darkness.. I wouldn't have been as strong as I was once Ashley died. I need you all to understand that until you LOVE yourself, until you realize being alone IS NOT the same as having that daunting feeling of loneliness, you are going to find it hard to deal with whatever life may throw at you you. Nothing is set in stone.
I'll leave you with this… Relationships bring you joy, but they should never be the only thing that creates joy for you. When you meet someone, you should still enjoy your own adventures, this other person should just be adding something new into the mix. You are not forming, right away at least, into one synchronized life, but rather, adding an exciting element into the life you have already created.
So date yourself. Take yourself to the movies. Paint your nails. Go out to dinner alone. Learn to love the time you spend with yourself… once you have reached that comfort, your relationships will flourish.
And the winner of the giveaway is Emily McLaughlin! Congrats! I will be messaging you soon for your address! Thanks for all entering… there will be another giveaway this month.