man looking

Laying there at night, taking inventory of your life between self-induced orgasms, it is inevitable that you will think on a past relationship and ask yourself, “did I fumble?” Hindsight is always 20/20; coulda-woulda-shoulda’s abound when you look back at experiences that seemed muddled at the time. Now, everything appears exceedingly clear: you should have gone left instead of right, zigged instead of zagged, on and on to infinity. I am convinced that the easiest way to give yourself a meltdown is to second-guess your moves in life. In love, like chess, you can’t take a move back.

At times like these, you are experiencing a normal reaction to being alone. As social creatures, we all crave intimate connection to an individual, family and community. So a streak of loneliness while single is natural, and to be expected. But it can also be dangerous, leading you to engage in behavior to satisfy short-term needs, while having long-lasting effects. And so we must learn how to identify the signs, work through lonely periods, and conduct ourselves properly when interacting with others from a place of neediness/loneliness.

There is a difference between being alone, and being lonely. Alone is a status –someone who is single with little or no action in their draws is technically inactive and alone. They don’t have a special someone to share their burden, they must keep their own counsel, and their rise or demise is entirely their own. When alone, you can take all the credit for the wins, but you assume all responsibility for the losses. It is as frightening as it is liberating, and you will discover exactly what you are capable of – to the most positive and negative extremes. With a determined mind you can make phenomenal strides in self-improvement, or descend into a pit of depravity because you have no one to catch your fall, or propel you forward.

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This self-sufficiency makes single life so important because tests that determine our passage to the next level are often solo endeavors. You may even notice that certain doors only admit one at a time, and spiritual discoveries only happen between you, your spirit and The Everlasting. And with a constant focus on companionship, you can slow or even block personal progress. If you don’t acknowledge the value of solitude, embrace and develop your oneness, you squander valuable opportunities to become even more of a catch for your next mate.

Which brings us to loneliness, which is not a status, but a feeling – and in extreme cases, a mindset. We all experience short periods of loneliness, even when in a relationship. The benefit of companionship carries with it physical and emotional perks that simply cannot be had elsewhere. So yeah, you’re gonna miss “The D” (or The P) from time to time. In the midst of trials and tribulations, with no one to lick your wounds or your kitty, it is natural to feel a heightened desire for your other half. Family and friends can offer support to a point, but they’ll never match the closeness that accompanies romantic connection.

It is important to note that loneliness is a temporary feeling, so be careful not to open a door that cannot be closed. You risk ruining the emotional well-being of an innocent lover by opening something that, for you may be temporary, and for them may be permanent. Karma frowns on that type of behavior, so beware of awakening someone’s desire only to placate your temporary needs. That is perhaps one of the greatest missteps you can make as a single man or woman. The problem is, we often don’t know which desires are temporary and fleeting until after we take the plunge.

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One indicator that you shouldn’t dwell in your loneliness is that you only desire companionship during a low point in your own progress. Whether this is due to unfulfilled expectations, or you seeing people winning in love, the fact remains that these thoughts emanate from a place of longing, not a genuine desire to kindle a new flame. When you’re riding high, you couldn’t give two shats about what’s going on with so-and-so, because you’re focused on building your empire. But in those drought periods where your money is acting funny, your situation isn’t ideal and your confidence is bruised, we are weak enough to accept damn near anyone.

The pressure is enough to break your composure like a matchstick. And when you begin to have lingering doubts, frustrations, and a willingness to sacrifice your standards just for physical or emotional attention, you have accepted the mindset of loneliness. This ongoing state of neediness is reached when we have so many holes in our lives that we rely on another to distract us from doing the work of filling them. Unfortunately, that does more harm than good. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that lonely individuals are not with you for you, they are with you because they cannot stand to be alone.

To cut to the heart of the matter, suffice to say that many people are not comfortable in their own skin, their own space, in their own lives. They long for the physical or emotional company of others, and it really doesn’t matter who provides it. They seek distraction between the arms or legs of another, simply because isolation forces one to confront his or her flaws, insecurities, and shortcomings rather than ignore their realities. You become almost like a drug to help numb them from whatever pain they are avoiding. Viewed that way, do you really want to answer that 2am “Hey Stranger” text?

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You must begin to see whether people are reaching out to you because they genuinely desire you, or because of a deep-seated loneliness. In addition, make sure that your interactions with others are not born from the same emptiness that causes people to make decisions in poor judgment. As a general rule of thumb, matters of the heart ought never to be made from a position of desperation – and as obvious as that sounds, we’ve all done it. The solution is to learn to identify the source of your desires in order to pursue the genuine, not the superficial. It may take longer, but it will be well worth it. See you there.

Grace

About the Author: Jontae Grace is a 27 year old, single father of 1 son. His blog, “My $0.02″ can be found at http://jontaegrace.com, and he has a free app in the Google Play Store (search My $0.02). A graduate of the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), his literary goal is to empower people to take control of their social and romantic relationships.

Website: http://jontaegrace.com

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