Important Lessons of Being Single
Each time we are single we have important lessons to learn. Many of us resist learning these lessons and prolong the connection we deeply desire. After a devastating heartbreak a few years ago, I have finally surrendered to these lessons, and my life is better than it’s ever been.
There are some experiences in life that act as portals for our pain to come through. While we often focus on the loss of partnership with another, the most important relationship breakups reveal to us is the one with ourselves. They show us about the beliefs we carry and ask us to prove how much we truly love ourselves.
Throughout my twenties, each time I ended a relationship that wasn’t working and the pain flooded in, I turned my energy toward salvaging what was left of the relationship and trying to make it work. Instead of facing the beliefs that emerged in his absence—that I didn’t believe I was worthy of the love I longed for or the fear that I would be alone forever—I used his love to fill the wound.
Except no one’s love can fill our wounds, so it never really worked; the pain was always there bubbling under the surface.
By the time I reached my thirties, I had developed a soft foundation of self-love so when the man I thought I was going to spend my life with decided to leave me with no warning, this time I did things differently. I let the relationship die and nursed my heart back to life.
It was grueling—excruciating really—and I didn’t know how I was going to come out of it or what that would look like. Even with the healing work I’d already done, I resisted learning what I needed to learn because I didn’t believe I could bear the pain.
My mantra after that breakup was that I didn’t need to be single for long.
I convinced myself that I was busting the belief that it had to take a long time to heal. I wrote affirmations that went something like, “My soulmate is on his way to me, and he will arrive quick and easy.” In reflection, I was resisting the fear of being alone.
The portal from this breakup opened so wide that it felt like my soul vomitted thirty years of pain into my heart. I had no choice but to slow down and listen. I spent months crying, deeply depressed, and holding myself as I said, “It’s okay. I love you.”
I began to develop a new relationship to myself and to life. Compassion heightened through every cell of my body, and I understood a depth of human pain I’d never known so intimately before.
Through the darkest moments of my life my heart opened wider than it ever had.
About a year and a half after, I felt healed from that relationship, and I wrongly assumed that meant I was ready to date. Not long after I began dating again, I recognized that being over someone didn’t mean that I was ready for a partner. This was the time for me to enjoy who I was, free from heartbreak and in love with my life. Again I found myself letting go of the idea of where I should be and trusting my heart to lead the way.
One of the big lessons I’ve learned through looking back at my relationships is that I have been afraid to be me. A part of me knew that if I listened to my soul I would outgrow my partner and lose the safety of that love. Being single and committed to healing has allowed me to explore all the parts of myself I had abandoned along the way.
You see, I’m not looking for a relationship. I am preparing myself for my partner—my sacred love—the person my soul has known for lifetimes and who I will get to grow with and through in the coming years.
This person would never have shown up in my life two years ago because I hadn’t reclaimed those parts of myself. I didn’t know who I really was, what I loved, and how to feel safe enough to share my soul with a partner. While I will always be growing, there are some lessons I know I have to learn on my own.
Six months ago I found myself feeling depressed and lonely. I realized I was being given a lesson and it was to deepen my relationship to myself. Instead of spending the summer the way I thought I would—at pool parties and falling in love—I was inside doing Breathwork, releasing some very old sadness, and loving myself harder.
That time taught me how to be alone without being lonely, and I knew it was for something much bigger than a carefree summer.
I reflect on how far I’ve come in understanding my emotions, expressing my needs and desires, and finding the strength to do what is best for me. The first relationships of my life were full of fighting and disrespect, boundary crossing and enmeshment. Now I look forward to a love that is mature and respectful because I have learned how to treat myself the way we all deserve to be treated.
When I look around and find few models of romantic relationships that inspire me, I know it’s because most of us don’t take the time to do the deep digging within ourselves for the pay off. We settle for a love that isn’t quite right because we’re afraid of the pain or the alternative—the fear of being alone. Many of us don’t see what is possible.
I have been single for two years and eight months and every single one of those moments of single-hood have been essential, and though it has taken longer than I believed it would, I have no doubt that my love is on his way.
All the times of being alone and choosing not to ask friends and family to make me feel better were the tests for me to know that I will no longer ask a partner to do for me what I am unwilling to do for myself. I have mourned love, healed my heart, and dug into the depths of myself to uncover who I am here to be. I am in a place where I am truly ready to be in a relationship, and I love myself and my life so much that I don’t feel incomplete without him.
If this article has you feeling like you’re ready to face your pain, learn your lessons, and call in true partnership, and you’d like my support, you can learn more about working with me 1:1 here.
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My first book about what it means to lose more than you realized and rediscover yourself through heartbreak.
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The kit I created to help you begin your Breathwork practice. It includes 3 guided Breathwork meditations, an ebook about how Breathwork heals, an FAQ, and a series of printables for a 30-day Breathwork challenge.