I have been a loner for a long time, both on purpose and by accident. I am a textbook introvert – I love my quiet time, I need it to recharge. But more times than I would like to admit, I’ve been alone simply because life has worked out that way. There have been many times through school – middle school, high school, college and grad school – where I have just found myself without people. Some close friends moved away. Others I thought were close friends just decided they had better things to do. Guys I attached myself to decided other girls were more interesting….the list goes on.
What I began to realize as an adult (am I an adult? I question it at least 3 times a day. Everyday. All the days) is that, at some point, I developed a certain pride in being alone. It became kind of a badge of honor that I learned how to be ok by myself. That I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted because I had no one to hold me back. Don’t be confused, I think those are awesome things! We should all be cool with rolling solo and taking the time to have a full life while doing so. Herein lies the problem…
Somewhere along the way, it flipped from being something I took pride in into being a pride issue. It became a defense mechanism of sorts – and then I just decided to adopt it as my life philosophy. It’s one thing to be cool with being by yourself and confident in it, it’s quite another to be so satisfied that it ends up hindering you. Now it’s work, intentional and mindful work, to let people into my life. Specifically people who could change the course of lonesomeness for a long time or forever. When I began dating my husband, I almost messed up our relationship for this very reason – among others (more on that later).
I had been doing life one way for so long – I was too proud to change it. Too proud to give away that badge of honor. Too proud to be content in the fact that accepting help and becoming vulnerable to others is actually a much healthier thing to be comfortable with. In the end, I had to come to terms with the fact that keeping up that attitude would be a great way to be alone for a long time for a stupid reason.
There’s no such thing as being “set in your ways.” That’s essentially code for, “I’m too lazy or scared to change stuff so I’m just gonna cool out right here in this comfort zone.” There is only what you recognize in yourself and how much you are willing to endure the discomfort of change. Once I came to terms with this, I had to open myself up to discomfort and learn to let people in.
I was very satisfied with myself for learning to be ok alone – but the truth of the matter is, I didn’t do much. The reason I’m ok alone is because God was there to comfort me all the (lots of) times when I low-key slipped from simply alone to lonely. The reason I can be confident in being alone is because I’m never truly alone. And who am I to give myself all the credit for that? And as much as we think it’s noble to be alone when we get to the point of holding pride in it, issa problem. It eventually leaves little room for God & He makes no secret of how He thinks of pride, no matter what excuse we give ourselves for it.
You need people. And people need you. Don’t get fooled into thinking otherwise. What are some ways you can stretch yourself to make sure pride & loneliness don’t cut you off from who & what God has for you?