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Being vulnerable takes immense strength. It takes putting yourself out there, and doing what is in your heart and your soul. It means showing when you are sad. It means learning to be okay with your anxieties and fears and learning to turn them into strengths that lead you to emotional freedom.

Learning How to Love Unconditionally

I am a feminist; I believe in true equality between the sexes and equal pay for equal jobs. Whatever the reason may be, once I learned to accept this difference, it made me more comfortable in a relationship. I can only really speak for myself, but I know I think differently than men. I overanalyze at times; when I am sad or lonely I want to cling to the person I love.

From my understanding, men retract when they are thinking things through. They need space and time and don't always want advice. They take longer to process emotional subjects. They like to spend time with their guy friends a lot of time , and don't always want to be the person to whom you gossip every little detail of life.

Even at my age, I often forget this about men. I'll mistake the need for space as something to take personally. It's just in my blood, and I can't help myself sometimes. Learning and understanding these differences takes time and a certain level of patience. It takes being in tune with your partner and leading with trust, kindness and love, rather than fear and anxiety. Learning how to respect others is huge.

Respect is not a self-serving action. As with some of the other lessons here, this one is based purely on approaching life with positive energy rather than negative energy. I believe there is no such thing as too much respect.

How to Be Alone: The Subtle Art of Learning to Love Yourself

Because of that, I am still learning to be even more respectful, no strings attached. As important as it is to respect other people, it is equally as important to respect yourself. I have disrespected myself before, especially in my teenage years; I have allowed people to call me names and walk all over me. In my early 20s, I became mean and rude to these people in response to their disrespect.

But, I've learned that you can't change people, and being mean and rude just makes you less worthy of respect in return. However, you can change your response to disrespect. I am a giver; I love to support people, and sometimes, this comes from a selfish place. I know that sounds somewhat contradictory, but I have had to learn how to support people in a non-selfish way.

I have learned to try and listen to how they are asking for support. In turn, I have also been awkward at taking support. I sometimes don't know how to accept it, and it is just as important to accept support as it is to give people the right type of support. Learning to give support if you are a natural taker is really important. Everyone needs support, and you can compromise with people about the kind of support you are willing to give and they are willing to take.

7 Lessons That Helped Me Learn To Love Again

It's okay if it takes a little while to figure out, as long as you are trying. Never put all of your eggs in one basket. Before I left my apartment, I actually kind of enjoyed some banal tasks like doing my dishes. Second, genuine thinking. I consider myself a thinker — I read a ton, write to distill my thoughts, and talk about ideas constantly.

But being alone for this long of a period allowed me to articulate my thoughts in a much better way. If a certain feeling arose, I could name the emotion and process it. I thought about my past, present, and future strategically, both long and short term, without strain. I have a Google Drive with ideas for articles. I wanted to first learn it, then teach it, as I do with everything I write.

See, I had to learn how to be alone because life gave me no choice. Went to visit a friend in D. He had to work during some of the days, so I was left to venture the city alone — something that would be extremely fun to do now because I now know how to enjoy myself alone.

Then, though? I felt crippling loneliness. I visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture and posted pictures of exhibits on social media, pretending like I was having a good time, but the pain I felt was so palpable I literally had trouble reading the captions underneath the exhibits. My loneliness consumed my mind, heart, and soul. B efore this, my life was great, or so I thought. Loneliness presupposes that you need the company, attention, validation, acceptance, and love of anyone other than yourself.

Is it okay to want these things? I want them. We all do. But to need them and make them a core pillar of your existence sets you up for a huge fall. It certainly did for me.

Some of the most valuable lessons are the most painful. Not better in that being single and living in a new city is better than having a family. I loved having a family.

Or, the worst, but most accurate title I could think of. Sorry.

But now, I can have one and will have one again with the proper sense of self — independent of others first. Being alone forced me to look at my life clearly, be honest with myself, and create an identity that fully belonged to me. T he first day I moved into my new apartment, I cried. Nah, it was just sad. To dig myself out of sadness and apathy, I tried anger. I tried becoming my own drill sergeant, and literally yelled at myself out loud. Deal with it!

This is where you will raise her! Anyway, the first few days and weeks were spent in a sort of malaise, really. I still wrote, but I went through the motions so everything sucked. The first step of learning how to be alone is finally accepting it without fighting it.

You spend too much of your life imagining your life differently than the way it currently is. In one form, visualization is fine, but in the form of hiding, it only compounds the problem. My first instinct was to rush and fill the void, but instead, I chose to work on myself. W hen you develop too many co-dependencies, you lose boundaries. Having boundaries is both better for you and the people you interact with. This applies to men, women, people of all genders. The partner without boundaries will sabotage both themselves and the relationship.

Two partners without boundaries equal an absolute mess of comingled pain. The more you need something, the more it eludes you.