So often we have had relationships, romantic or non-romantic and they leave only pieces of us behind after they’re over. The person takes little things from you here and there, the person also destroys little parts of yourself that you used to love. You can’t stay broken forever, someone has to fix it, someone has to fix those parts that were mangled by another human. Most likely 9 times out of 10 it’s going to be you. And it is a journey that only you can walk alone. The journey to self discovery, recovery and becoming who you really are without toxic people.
Step 1: Acknowledging being alone
Often when we feel lonely after a break up or the end of a friendship or even a fight with a loved one, we tend to try and fill our days with random things as to not be alone. For example sometimes I would reach out to people I don’t particularly like to go out for dinner or drinks just because I didn’t want to sit at home with my Labrador and watch a whole season of Grey’s Anatomy…again. After I was declined several times or bailed on by these people I didn’t like, I decided to acknowledge the fact I was alone. No real friends in the area to just pop up on and have a movie marathon with or eat a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Instead of forcing myself I accepted my loneliness. I was in fact alone.
1st season: Self-loathing
At first accepting the aloneness feels awful. I mean who wants to be 21 and alone on a Friday night after working 8 hours? No one. I felt as though there was something wrong with me. You may feel this way too. ‘Why do people hate me?’ You may ask. It’s not that they hate you or are against you, it is that they are for themselves. Right now you hold all the power in your hands because this is where you take the time to think about you. Some things you can think about are #1: How you end up in bad relationship, after bad relationship, or #2: Why you perhaps push perfectly good people away? It will suck digging through those terrible feelings and that is where the self loathing will begin. You will have nothing to do with your free time other than hate the position you are in now. That’s okay, you will move past this.
2nd season: Coping with loneliness
After getting over the self-loathing part, eating, and wishing you had the type of supportive friends like you see on the early 2000’s teen show One Tree Hill (if you have never seen this, compare to 90’s show Friends) you will develop coping mechanisms. They are different for everyone. I for one like to immerse myself in young adult fiction (young adult series are best for prolonged instances of loneliness). Other people might take up knitting, or running/other forms of exercise. The bold fellow loners will think about group exercise classes or hiking groups where they may meet new people. However you cope make sure to pick something other than feeling sorry for yourself.
Step 2: Learning to repair what was broken
This step is very essential to feeling complete and feeling alright with being alone. Toxic relationships are no joke, and they take a toll on us emotionally. It takes some time to really recuperate and become who we really are again. Skipping this step will do you no good, since inevitably unresolved feelings will come up again, and they will manifest themselves in ugly ways. One of my favorite things to do is ignore feelings and pretend they don’t exist. It was a way to cope with pain for me. Only I would lash out at everyone around me if I was feeling crappy instead of just picking someone I found trustworthy and just talking about it. It is incredibly hard to open up to people about painful situations you were in, but it is better to let it out than keep it in. If you keep it in, no one will ever want to be around you, ever.
3rd season: Accepting your job as you
You are the captain of your own ship, master of your own soul. No matter how badly someone hurt you or knocked you down. You have the option to stay on the ground, or to ride again. None of us get a free pass to just blame everyone in our lives for our misery, and you can’t depend upon one person for happiness. If you are miserable or unhappy with something, there is something inside of YOU that’s broken or Un-healed, and guess what? It is up to YOU to fix it. Contrary to popular belief, wishing on a star doesn’t work. Neither does waiting on a vapid prince to come ‘rescue you’. Believe me I’ve tried. I would love if things were that easy but they simply are not. We learn through pain and the learning makes us grow into who we are. You have a lot of work to do to fight and be YOU and hopefully that fight continues your whole life. There are many people who let what other people think they should be poison who they are. Don’t be that person. Don’t let someone else be the captain of your ship. Take time and appreciate the freedom and the view from the top as you gaze upon the billions of people who look to someone else for self validation.
This season is very similar to the one mentioned above, except this season is the one in which we fight our hardest against. This season makes it difficult to accept your job as you. Why? Because we all have these little evil voices in our head that tells us that we aren’t good enough, it tells us that if one person hurt us, what’s to say that everyone isn’t the same? For most this voice is present with them throughout the day when making any sort of decision. You are stupid, no one loves you, why do you try, you aren’t pretty enough, or cool enough- they say (they being the voices). Those are some of the kinder things my evil voice says to me, I’ve heard worse. If you have ever been in any sort of toxic relationship, then you well know that these voices only become louder. The reason is likely because the person you were with was always pointing out your worst qualities and after taking in that toxicity for so long, you began to believe it. The good positive voices were no longer present letting in the clean oxygenated air into your brain, so to speak. This being said after you work on repairing what was broken it is easy to be paranoid and think that people are talking bad about you or don’t like you. These things are magnified when you are alone because you may be the only one in Barnes and noble cafe drinking a chai tea latte by yourself while others chat with their friends or study in groups or gossip about celebrities in magazines (I may or may not have had this experience myself). It is rarely the case. People really don’t care that your there alone and you shouldn’t either.
5th season: Me, Myself, and possibly someone else?
To be completely clear I know that we as humans can not survive on bread alone. We need acceptance, love, and companionship. So if you are in the 5th season you may be seriously thinking about someone to talk to, confide in, and have fun with. The thing about this season is that you are not ready to be social yet. Although you may be thinking about it, you aren’t going to jump out of bed in the morning to join a hiking meet up group. At this stage planning to not be alone is enough. One too many Friday nights drinking beer and eating pizza will wear on you. Beware of voices in your head and talking pets. This is a sure sign that you are in the 5th season and ready to find the people who illuminate the best in you.
Stay tuned and subscribe so you can read my next article: a continuation of the one above ‘1 slice in a pie: Finding people who belong in your life’.