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"You have to be alone"

by Marlena Anna about a year ago in advice · updated 10 months ago
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And other things I'm tired of hearing

"You have to be alone"
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Dating in your 20's in the 20's - Part 2

"You have to learn to love being alone."

"You're not being treated right because you need to love yourself first"

"You have to be mentally healthy to be in a relationship"

"You jump from relationship to relationship."

Those are all excerpts of unsolicited advice from people without credentials.

Those are all things I have been told.

I can't help but be painfully honest at all times in my life. If you need me to tell a white lie, chances are, a coy smile will paint my face and a slight giggle will escape my lips and ruin the entire rouse. So here it is, I have been in 4 relationships in my 24 years of life. I have mentally health problems. And I am a hopeless romantic. You mix this all together, with my ability to word vomit, people just love to tell me how I'm doing it wrong.

I find these things to be very damaging to someone who struggles with mental health issues. Telling someone that they are incapable of love or not deserving of love because of their illness is, frankly, mean. My anxiety doesn't make me any less able to give or receive love. Neither does my depression. As long as I am not causing HARM to the other individual, there should really be no focus on either of those components of me.

When I was 21 years old I signed myself up for therapy after a really bad break up. I realized that I was going to carry the trauma from an incredibly manipulative, abusive relationship onto my next boyfriend. And I didn't want that. I didn't want that at all. And it scared me. So I did the best thing I could think of. I went to work on myself.

Now I'm 24 and still in therapy. I've come to my therapist several times with these "concerns" from others. Her response?

"First of all, love can not be defined as healthy or unhealthy. Love will make people act out of character and can be incredibly hard to navigate. Mental Illness doesn't define your ability to be in a successful relationship. We are all works in progress at all times."

But the most important part?

"In order to really work on yourself and be able to utilize what we go through in these therapy sessions, you must apply them to your real life."

What does that mean?

In order to get the greatest benefit out of my therapy, I have to experience real life relationships. It is great to talk about how to healthily cope with issues, but completely different to be in a situation that tests that.

Since starting therapy, I have also recently began going to Relationship Coaching. During my first session, my coach said to me:

"If you want these sessions to be the most beneficial they can be, you must be putting yourself out there and date so that we can really work on who you are while you are with other people."

I can't help but be slightly bitter towards these individuals that taunt me with their "advice." Almost none of my friends go to therapy. Almost none of my friends are deeply working on themselves as I am. Yet, they think that they can tell me how I am "supposed" to be acting.

I NEVER force myself into relationships for the sake of being in a relationship. I only open myself to experience love of any kind. If I meet someone I want to spend time with, I will not prohibit myself for any reason. I don't want to live my life with any ounce of regret towards my romantic relationships.

I don't enter relationships to fill any void. In fact, I am most comfortable BY MYSELF. I am an introvert at heart. I look forward to nights in solitude where my only companion is myself.

If someone asks for your advice, in any realm of their life, I think it is always best to objectively answer it. I go to therapy and coaching because I know that they will have no bias towards my decisions. They won't be afraid of losing their fun, party friend to a boyfriend. They won't be afraid of the loneliness they will feel when someone else is receiving love they wish they had. They won't let their lives effect the advice they give me.

At the end of the day, you have to live with YOURSELF and YOURSELF ONLY. This is YOUR life. You must remember that late at night when you are alone with your thoughts, your friends are not experiencing any of it first hand. They don't have to wake up everyday in your shoes. Everything is easier said than done. You have to do what makes you happy. Don't live for other people. Ever.

And that? That has been one of the hardest things for me to learn in therapy.

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About the author

Marlena Anna

I am a 24 year old hopeless romantic that enjoys writing. Whether it be expressing emotion through songs or poetry, I enjoy the power of words.

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