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The truth is, I haven’t spent much of my life alone. By alone, I mean living by myself (I think that’s what I mean). I grew up with my family, moved to college where I had roommates, and shortly after I graduated, my ex and I moved in together.
When we split up, I got my own apartment and the majority of the time I was there was only to sleep. I was dating, hanging out with friends, staying with friends, and doing everything I could to NOT be alone for extended periods of time.
I loved having my own physical space, but I don’t think I’ve ever just sat alone with my feelings. I mean, I suck at stopping. I’m constantly doing.
Maybe it’s in fear that if I stop long enough, my depression will make another appearance.
Andrew (my husband) and I started dating soon after I moved in to the apartment and eight months later, I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Muskegon, Michigan to live with him. My point is, I’ve never spent much time alone with myself.
Andrew left for an entire month, and I had the dogs and the house to myself. That month was the longest I’ve ever been “alone.” I have a few new friends in Michigan, but not many, so I found myself spending hours at home clueless on what to do with myself. Like I said, I’m a do-er so for the first two weeks, I did everything I could think of.
I cleared out our entire living room to sweep and mop under the furniture, re-organized the pantry and our kitchen cupboards, laundered all the curtains, and every other wacky cleaning project under the sun. I went to the gym three times a week and cooked meals on the days I didn’t. I worked from sun up to sun down almost every single day.
But by the end, what I learned was, I have finally accepted myself for who I am, how I act and what I love to spend my time on. The entire month while Andrew was away, I felt this deep contentment. It is exhilarating and refreshing to no longer run from myself. The ability to embrace yourself, your flaws, your desires, and your being is insanely powerful.
What I can tell you is that this didn’t happen overnight & your path to finding contentment might look incredibly different.
The entire month, I had time to reflect on my growth and how far I have come as a human being, and, wow, this has been a roller coaster of a life so far.
Them Versus You: Unsolicited Advice
There were so many people wanting to give me advice back when I was living alone. They told me to slow down, give myself space after the breakup, and not to rush into dating.
I definitely fell into some unhealthy patterns during that time, but I’m SO thankful I didn’t rule out dating. I look back and can say with certainty that I wouldn’t be this far along my self-growth and acceptance journey if Andrew hadn’t came into my life.
People think that you need to “figure yourself out,” when you are young. That you need to spend time by yourself to learn who you are and what you like, but I would like to flip that on it’s head. My entire life before Andrew (single & engaged) was unpredictable, unstable, and unsafe. My time and energy was spent striving for stability not focusing on personal development.
Our marriage has given me the comfort and space to move past that and focus on myself and my relationship with God more than I ever have before. I’m no longer in fight or flight mode and it’s freeing. I’ve never felt more capable and free to live life by my own design.
No one Knows Your Heart Like You Do
You can’t let other people tell you what is right or wrong for you. You have to listen to your heart, your head and the tiny pit in your stomach because your intuition does’t lie. Sometimes that intuition (or a greater power above) is going to point you to the hard decision. That is life. Don’t ignore it.
We all know deep down in our souls what we need. Sometimes we just let fear or anxiety get in the way of taking actionable steps towards that need.
Making those deep down, gut wrenching decisions will never get easier. You have to get uncomfortable to live your truth. That’s why so many of us aren’t. That’s why so many of us are living for society, or our parents, or our demanding partner. Thankfully, God gives us mercy and grace and a fresh start day after day.
I read/listen to A LOT of personal development books. Okay, mostly listen because life is crazy busy, but I want to share some of my favorites for helping you step into your true self. I hope these books (or if I’m really lucky, this post) bring to light what your heart desires in love and life. They have helped me get through some really tough times, and come out on the other side of pain and heartbreak as a stronger, more confident woman.