You don’t have to be by yourself to feel lonely.

Popular wisdom would have us believe that when we’re part of a couple, we’ll never feel lonely again. Unfortunately, many people discover that spending time with the wrong person can be a wretched experience that leads to feelings of emptiness and isolation. If you are in a relationship with someone who isn’t right for you or even abuses you, time spent with that person is not the enriching, uplifting experience that it oughts to be. Instead, you end up cutting yourself down, censoring parts of your personality and generally making yourself smaller in an attempt to encourage them to feel positively towards you.

You may even find yourself bending and twisting yourself out of recognition in a bid to win over their approval. This can cause you to become alienated from yourself, which results in feelings of tremendous loneliness. If you have been in a situation like this, you may remember the moment you first wondered whether the relationship was really worth the struggle.

Why making the decision to leave is so agonizing

Taking the decision to leave a relationship with someone who makes you feel lonely can be very difficult. Leaving is an act of immense bravery. Whilst it may seem obvious to outsiders that you are unhappy, they may not be aware of the factors that make it so hard to quit.

For example, you may have shared some good times with this person in the past, or you may feel inclined to give them a second (or third) chance in the name of ‘being fair.’ You may also cling on in the hope that one day they will realize how they make you feel and decide to change.

The most loving decision you can take for yourself

As hard as it may be to leave a relationship behind, when you put yourself first you will understand where your loyalties ought to lie. To be absolutely clear, your first priority must be your mental and psychological well-being. When it comes to evaluating a relationship and deciding whether you ought to stay, treat yourself with the same care as you would show a loved one.

People can and do change, but if someone has made you feel lonely and sad on an ongoing basis, you can expect more of the same in the future should you decide to stay. On the other hand, freeing yourself from an unhealthy situation is an act of self-love that frees you (and the other person) to seek out more mutually beneficial relationships.

The opportunity to enjoy your own company is a gift

When you learn to enjoy your own company, you become truly empowered. No longer will you depend on other people’s’ approval to prop up your self-esteem or validate your life choices. Your faith in your own judgement will grow, and you will come to regard yourself as a competent, capable person with much to offer the world. When you spend quality time by yourself, you will be less likely to accept poor treatment from others in the future because you will know from first-hand experience that being alone is much better than being with someone who makes you feel hollow and inferior.

If you have recently left a relationship that made you feel alone, congratulate yourself. Too many people are scared to face up to the possibility of time spent in their own company, even though it can be healing. When you make a conscious decision to be alone, you are putting yourself first and recognizing that sometimes the healthiest step you can take is to spend time getting to know yourself as a person. This sets you up for a more confident future based on healthy self-knowledge.

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