Feeling alone can be a big frustration for singles, but there can be advantages to the times in our lives when it’s just me, myself and I. In “The Perks of Solitude” Debra Fileta writes about the things she learned during an intense time feeling alone.
“1. We struggle to be alone because we were not made to be alone
“I remember feeling so disappointed in myself for struggling with loneliness. I wanted to be a woman who was independent and strong. I wanted to resist the urge to ‘need a man’ and have the ability to stand alone.
“Looking back, I judged myself needlessly and harshly. The truth is we struggle when we are alone because we were never meant to be alone. God made us with a strong desire for relationship and a need to connect with others.
“2. Our search for validation has to start with us
“Why did I feel so uncomfortable being alone? I think part of it came down to the fact that I wasn’t really comfortable in my own skin. It’s as though I needed someone to tell me I was fun, smart, beautiful and worthy.
“True value, worth, identity and affirmation must come from within. There is a God who witnesses our lives when no one else does. There is a God who is intensely aware of our every move because He is so darn in love with us that He just wants to know. He is keenly aware of us, because we matter. Because we are valuable. Because we are worthy in His eyes.”
I would add a few notes to the author’s thoughts. First, there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. Singles probably tend to spend more time alone that those with a spouse and/or kids. But loneliness is something everyone experiences and isn’t conditional on having people physically present in life. You can be lonely even in the midst of a crowd because there’s no one who really knows you.
Second, being alone can be a valuable time of communion with the Lord if we let it. A time of solitude, and the silence that comes with it, creates space for God to speak in ways we might ordinarily miss. Rather than filling the space with the noise of social media, movies, TV and music, just being still and drawing near to God can be a benefit when we find ourselves alone.
Third, the only way to know you’re OK with being alone is to be alone. As Fileta reminds us, looking for validation in other people only leads to eventual disappointment because that’s a role they weren’t created to fulfill. Learning to find your value from your Creator can be one benefit during a season of being alone. And while different personalities and temperaments need more alone time than others, I still think that everyone can benefit from a little bit of solitude.
Have you benefited from being alone and embracing the solitude you found during that season? What did you learn?