Why Boundaries Are Imperative For Those Who Love Hard And Care Deeply

Boundaries are so important for those who are empathetic, and for those who love deeply.

When you have so much love to give others, when you just want to be the person who shows up, when you just want to be the person who fixes and helps and makes sure that the people in your life feel the sunniest kind of happiness, when you take on their emotions as your own, when you just want to make sure everything is okay, everyone feels seen, everyone feels loved — you attract human beings who are kind, and compassionate, and who give you that same love back, but you also tend to attract human beings who see your heart as something they can take advantage of at times. This is why so many empaths, or people who are deeply compassionate, fall into these relationships or friendships or family dynamics that end up draining them, or end up becoming one-sided, or toxic. The empathy, the love, the depth — it can be something so light filled and soft, but it can also, in a lot of cases, leave you feeling depleted, or leave you feeling empty because you’re not always poured into the same way.

And that is why it is so important to learn how to protect your energy as an empath. It is proven that a lot of highly sensitive people lack boundaries. They care very deeply, they want to nurture those around them, and they want to give and give and give. They pour out for the people they love. They have hearts that just can’t say no, that sometimes can’t walk away from situations that hurt them, or that drain them, because they ultimately don’t want to give up on the people in their life, they don’t want to turn their back on them, or abandon them, or make them think that they don’t care for them.

If you are like this — you don’t have to apologize for that. It is beautiful to be the person who cares, and often, a lot of us have grown up around this belief that love is sacrifice. That you don’t ever give up on someone. That you don’t ever walk away. That you give, and give, and give, and you fight for those in your life; you put them first. But that doesn’t mean you sacrifice at your own expense. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have boundaries and be empathetic, and compassionate, and of value to those in your life.

However, it takes a long time to learn that because, often, a lot of compassionate people don’t realize that they need to set stronger boundaries with those they care about. When you give so much of yourself, you often continue to give and you don’t pay attention to how your relationships or how the people in your life are affecting you, or your heart, or your happiness, until you’re burnt out. Until you feel alone. Until you’re in a toxic friendship, or relationship, and you just feel disheartened.

As an act of self love, it’s important to step back and find self-awareness. To really ask yourself what is building you up in life, and what is tearing you down. What hurts. What drains your energy.

Really ask yourself:

Do you ever feel like people take advantage of you or use your emotions for their own gain? Do you ever feel like you’re constantly having to “save” people close to you and fix their problems all the time? Do you find yourself deeply invested or deeply attached to very intense relationships, very quickly? In your relationships, does it feel like things are always either light-filled and beautiful or heavy and haunted with no in-between? Do you, in your heart, hate drama or anything along those lines, but you constantly are the person who gets put into the middle of it as a fixer or as a voice of reason? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed when you have to go and see people in your life because you know it will leave you drained afterwards? Do you feel like you often don’t have enough time for yourself because you’ve promised it away to others? Do you feel like you’ve let yourself down, or let yourself go, because you’ve given so much of your energy and time to others, and now you don’t have any energy to pour into yourself?

If any of these questions hit your heart, or made your stomach flip — it’s time to stand up for yourself and to create boundaries that help you protect your energy. At the end of the day, you are your own home. You have to take care of yourself. You have to take responsibility for not only the energy you’re putting out into the world, but also, the energy you’re allowing around you. We teach people how to love us. We teach people what we can handle, and what we cannot. We teach people how to respect us. And you deserve love, and respect. You deserve the same empathy you give to others. Love should not be something that leaves you feeling exhausted and drained. Nor should friendship, family. There is only so much you can give, before you need to really defend your heart.

So — how do you start to set boundaries?

You do it by being intentional, and by really coming home to yourself and being honest with yourself. People who love deeply often need to most learn how to create balance and boundaries around the amount of time they give to those they care about.

  • Ask yourself — really take the time to think about what your heart needs, what you need, for once.
  • How much space and solitude do you need to feel nourished, and energized?
  • What genuinely refreshes and recharges you?
  • What tends to drain you, what asks for you to lose yourself in order to keep it in your life?
  • What people tend to drain you?
  • What people tend to make your heart feel like it isn’t being held, like your love is not being valued, or reciprocated, like you’re giving and giving and giving to the point of exhaustion?
  • When do you feel your best? The most you? The most free?
  • When do you feel your worst? The heaviest? The loneliest, even when you’re surrounded by certain people?
  • When do you feel anxious, like you’re trapped, like you know you need to walk away or give less, but you just can’t?

That is where you begin. The things that came up for you when you were asking those questions to yourself — you know them deep in your heart. You know where you need to be kinder to yourself. You know where you deserve to pull your energy from, where you deserve to let it flow. You know. It’s a matter of allowing yourself to create boundaries around those things.

Start small

It can start by allowing yourself to say no to helping someone when you genuinely know that you don’t have the energy to do so. A healthy boundary looks like taking time for yourself, really giving yourself space to do even 15 minutes of something that makes your soul come alive, or that grounds you. A healthy boundary looks like pausing before you say yes to something, and really checking in with yourself. Do you actually want to do that thing? Do you actually want to go to that event? Do you actually want to be surrounded by those human beings? Or are you just saying yes to please people? Are you just saying yes so you don’t disappoint the people you care about? A healthy boundary looks like reinforcing your worth, and your needs. It looks like really affirming that you are allowed to ask for space, for help, for time away from someone, and that doesn’t take away from the value of your love, and that doesn’t mean that you are letting anyone down.

A healthy boundary looks like checking in with your feelings, and your thoughts, and asking yourself — is this mine? When you are compassionate or empathetic you feel things very deeply, and you often can take people’s emotions home with you. You can take their problems on as your own. You can make it your responsibility to fix what is going on in their life, you bring it into your mind, your heart. It’s like having an emotional hangover in a way, you walk away with conversations, feelings, fears, negativity, and it’s all stuck to you and it can drain you and exhaust you and really impact your mental health. Learning to assess those feelings, those things you’re holding onto and reminding yourself that often they are not yours to hold, is important. Let them go. You are not responsible for fixing the people in your life. You are only responsible for loving them. And you can love them deeply, and well, and also take care of yourself, and your heart.

A healthy boundary looks like really being honest with yourself about what hurts, and giving yourself permission to let go. To stop fighting for those who aren’t fighting for you. To stop pouring so much of your love into those who cannot value it. To really stand for what you desire, and what you need from a relationship, or from a loved one, and understanding that if they cannot give that to you, or reciprocate, then it is okay, but that you might need to match their energy. There is only so much you can give. There is only so much you can fight for until it breaks you. A healthy boundary within this is truly standing up for your heart and really making the decision to uphold that each and every single day. It’s checking in with yourself whenever you are made to feel like you are hard to love. It’s checking in with yourself whenever your heart aches, or it is mistreated, or you feel like you’re not being valued or respected. It’s about saying “I deserve more than this.” And it’s about sticking to that. It will be difficult at first, it will be so tough, but you have to defend your heart, and the way you desire to be loved. Again — you teach people how to love you. You do that by being dedicated to what you deserve, what you truly want. You don’t settle for things that don’t nurture, or nourish you, or fill you with love. You commit to that.

However, boundaries are not easy things to set. They come with a lot of guilt for people who love deeply. When we set boundaries, there are so many voices inside of us that tell us that we are being selfish. Or that we aren’t being a good person, or partner, when we don’t put someone before ourselves. We tell ourselves that putting someone’s needs before our own is the compassionate thing to do, that it is the right thing to do. We convince ourselves that by not giving them what they need, or giving them our love, or giving them every aspect of ourselves, we are unkind, or uncaring. We tell ourselves that we are responsible for their happiness, that we can’t just turn our backs on them. We tell ourselves that we are strong enough to give even if we aren’t receiving, that we were made to be the people in this world who pour even if no one is pouring back into us, that we can handle it.

But this is something I want you to really understand and sit with. The guilt you feel when setting a boundary is not because the boundary itself is wrong, it’s because of all the deeper, limiting beliefs you have that tell you it’s wrong. That tell you it is selfish. That tell you it is uncaring. That tell you it is dismissive. That tell you it is cruel, or unloving. But the boundary isn’t any of those things. It’s not wrong to want to take care of yourself. It is not wrong to walk away from a love that only ever leaves you feeling unworthy, and trapped. It is not wrong to advocate for your heart. It is not wrong to stand up for yourself. It is not wrong.

Try your best to remind yourself of that whenever the guilt bubbles up in your chest. It will be often, and consistent, at first. But you have to talk it down. Tell yourself: A boundary is not a lack of compassion. Boundaries are not a lack of caring. A boundary is not a lack of empathy. Boundaries are an act of self love, that better help for you to love those around you. The more you show up for yourself, the better you can show up for others. It’s why we’re always told to put our oxygen masks on before those we are seated beside when we are on a plane. We cannot pour from an empty cup. Boundaries help for you to ensure your cup is always full. And imagine how much more love you can give from that kind of place. How much lighter it would feel.

Lastly — be aware of how people react to your boundaries.

It’s important to see these reactions as valuable signs. Pay attention to how others react to your boundaries. Do they push against them? Do they have a hard time taking no for an answer? Do they make you feel guilty or bad about yourself in some other way? Do they take you seriously or think your boundaries are unreasonable or don’t apply to them? All of this is helpful information about the quality of that relationship. It hurts when we come to terms with the fact that the people we love and care for don’t have the same consideration for us. But it can be a guiding light. It can be a moment of clarity that encourages us to invest more in relationships where our boundaries and needs are respected than in those where they are not. And that is what you deserve.

You deserve the love you give to everyone around you. Your heart deserves more than just exhaustion. And you know that. It’s time to stand up for that. To really commit to that. The most important boundaries of all are the ones that you set for yourself. Whatever behaviour you permit for yourself and the rules that you live by will signal to others what you’ll accept from them too. You can’t help others until you help yourself first, so the ultimate act of self-love is setting a high standard for what you will accept in your life. Know that you are worthy of that standard.

6 Promises You Deserve To Make To Yourself This Year

This year, promise to treat yourself like a friend.

This year, just be kinder to yourself. In everything that you do think of yourself like a friend, treat yourself like a friend. It can be difficult to change that mindset at times, because we live our own lives, and we all have these internal worlds where we are constantly in our own heads. And those internal worlds are not often the most peaceful places to be, because I know that we all hold ourselves to such a standard. We want to grow, we want to heal, we want to do better, and be better, so much so, that we can sometimes be extremely hard on ourselves. And that is valid, because it means you care. It means you care about what you’re putting into this world, about how you’re showing up in this world. It means you care about meeting your potential, about being who you want to be.

But within all of that, I think a lot of us have a hard time being kind to ourselves. We’re always pushing for more, always letting our pasts or our mistakes create this narrative of negative self talk, or self doubt within our minds, it’s like we are constantly putting so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, that we’re not really allowing ourselves to be real.

So, promise to treat yourself like a friend this year. You care about so many human beings as if it were the deepest extension of yourself. You are empathetic, you have compassion for them. You want the people in your life to experience all of the beauty it has to offer. You want to remind them of their worth every single day. You want to protect them from anything that could hurt them or harm them, you want to encourage them to walk away from the things that ask them to settle for less than what they are deserving of. You encourage them when they doubt themselves, you remind them of their unique potential, you speak so much love into them on their hardest days. This year, I want you to promise to do the same things for yourself.

Ask yourself :

  • Would you talk to someone you loved the way you talk to yourself?
  • Would you allow for someone you loved to be treated the way you allow yourself to be treated?
  • Would you let someone you loved, someone you saw so much potential and beauty in, give so much of their energy, their time, and their heart, to those who did not value it?
  • Would you let someone you loved vilify themselves for their mistakes, for their pasts, for the person they had to be in order to survive or to heal?

You wouldn’t. You’d be in direct opposition of it, and you are. You are constantly defending the people you love, protecting them, reminding them that they are good enough, that they are worthy, and you do this because that is what you do for the people you love. So love yourself enough to be that for yourself, as well. Promise yourself that, even if it is hard at first, to work towards that kind of compassion for yourself. When you feel self doubt creep in, when you start to tell yourself that you aren’t good enough, when you stay in situations that hurt just to make someone else comfortable, or just to not be alone, when you know you deserve more but you can’t push yourself to stand up for that — remind yourself to treat yourself like a friend. Would you want any of that for them? If not, actively work towards being kinder within the thoughts, actively work towards fostering compassion for yourself in a situation, actively work towards giving yourself the same empathy you give to everyone around you. Make it an active thing, combat those thoughts, and that pressure, and that negativity, and meet yourself with kindness as best as you can. You are your own home. Make it a beautiful place to be.

This year, promise yourself to let go of almosts.

Promise yourself that you will stop allowing yourself to settle for less than you know you deserve. To keep giving so much of your heart to those who do not value it. To put so much time, and energy, and effort into those who are only loving you in halves.

I know how difficult it is to walk away from almosts. How difficult it is to be in a situation where you care so deeply for someone, or where you are genuinely excited about the potential you see in another human being. I know how dismantling those relationships can be, I know how hard it can be to see them for what they are, because they are often filled with a lot of hope, and a lot of intensity, and you’re just waiting for the day all of that is realized, and all of that is concrete, and rooted, and whole. I know how hard it can be to hold all of that hope within yourself, how heavy the weight of almosts can be. How much they can make you doubt yourself, how much they can make you question if you are enough for this person who only wants to love you in miminums. Almosts shake up your heart, they make it question itself, and you don’t deserve that.

Because the love you have to give someone is good love. The love you have to give someone is deep, and honest, and empathetic. And if someone cannot see that, if someone cannot value that, or meet that — you deserve to find the people who can. Please, just promise yourself to let go of the people who leave your heart confused. Let go of the people who make you feel like you are compromising all that you desire, all that you hope for, all the goodness and the beauty that you know exists in this world, for a malnourished version of love, for a skinny version of love. Let go of falling in love with potential, with falling in love with the idea of someone rather than who they truly are. Let go of the fears you have that keep you holding on to something that hurts, something that is so heavy, something that has only left you feeling misunderstood, or unworthy, or at war with yourself. Let go of waiting for the people you have always treated kindly, to treat you kindly. Let go of waiting for the people you have always treated with respect, to treat you with respect.  Let go of waiting for the people you have always chosen, to finally choose you. Let go of waiting. Let go of holding your breath, just hoping that things change.

Let go. Don’t allow yourself to get comfortable existing in spaces where you know you deserve better. Love is not meant to hurt. Let me repeat that: love is not meant to hurt. Love is not meant to be given in bare minimums. Love does not require for you to be cooler, or less emotional, or less yourself, for you to be worthy of it choosing you. Love chooses you. In the good, and the bad. It isn’t an almost thing. It isn’t something you have to beg for. It isn’t something you have to fight for constantly, something that is always a source of pain and confusion and hurt. There is power in letting go of anything that is forcing you to let go of yourself. Don’t ignore what you know in your heart. Remember — it is better to be alone, than to feel lonely in what you’re settling for. It is better to be alone, than to try to fit your heart into the hands of someone who does not want to hold it. It is better to be alone, than to fight for someone who is not fighting for you. It is better to be alone, to be your own foundation, than to spend any more of your time waiting for someone to see the beauty in what you are giving them. You deserve good love. Promise you will let go of anything that does not feel that way, this year. Promise to stand up for your heart.

This year, promise to believe that nothing is too good for you.

This year, promise to believe that you are worthy of everything you want in life, and that you are not asking for too much. And I know that isn’t easy, because I know that the world has ways of convincing you otherwise. I know that we have all gone through this life, and have sometimes been weathered by it in ways we didn’t necessarily ask for, but in ways that have stuck. In ways that have caused us to doubt what we deserve.

And I am sorry for that. I am sorry that you had to experience things you did not ask for, that you had to go through certain losses that carved into you lessons you were too young to learn, or lessons that were heavy to carry within yourself. I am sorry that somewhere along your journey, society convinced you that you were not beautiful, that you had to be smaller, that you had to want less, or settle for things outside of what you always dared to hope for. I am sorry that at times the world made you feel like you didn’t hold space within it, that you didn’t deserve to be here, or to be loved, or to be the kind of person who achieves great and beautiful things. I am sorry that you had to endure things at the hands of love that made you stop believing in it’s goodness, that made you stop believing in just how possible it was for you to find someone kind, and honest, and committed, in this generation. I am sorry that somewhere along your journey, you were convinced that you couldn’t dream the way you wanted to dream, that you couldn’t strive to experience all of the beauty this life has to offer.

And I know that sometimes because of all that you have been through, you doubt the part of yourself that knows there is more out there for you. You doubt the part of yourself that is trying to push you to believe that your past does not deserve to control you anymore. But you have to do it. You have to have the courage to believe in things you have yet to feel. You have to have the courage to believe that you are capable, that you are strong, that you are worthy, no matter what the world tries to tell you. You have to have the courage to be your own guiding light, to validate your own purpose, to push yourself to believe that nothing is too good for you, that nothing is out of reach, that nothing you want in this life exists within impossibility if you’re willing to leap towards it. You have to have the courage to crash every ounce of your hope into this world, outside of your past, outside of the opinions of others, outside of what society tells you is appropriate or achievable. So whenever you feel that doubt creep in, remind yourself that nothing is too good for you. Whenever you doubt if you are deserving of the good things that come into your life, remind yourself that nothing is ever too good to be true for you. The things you want, the life you want to live, the people you hope to love, the way you want your life to feel — it’s possible for you. It’s possible. Don’t convince yourself that it’s just not in the cards for a person like you. Promise yourself to believe that you are worthy. Each and every single day, and especially on the days the world tries to weather you into believing otherwise. Hold fast in your hope. Believe in impossibility. You are worthy of all that is kind, and good, and awe-inspiring in this world. Promise yourself that you will never forget that this year.

This year, promise to remind yourself of just how far you have come.

I know that in a society that makes you feel like you have to constantly be moving forward, in a society that puts so much value in external achievements, and often sells this concept of success or achievement as being a very specific thing, it can be difficult to connect with just how much you’ve achieved along your own unique journey. It can be difficult to connect with just how far you have come.

Because, at the end of the day, while it is beautiful and inspiring to be the kind of person who is pushing themselves to achieve a level of happiness, and success, that exists on their own terms, sometimes we can be so focused on what is ahead of us, that we forget to honor and embrace what we have survived. Sometimes, when we feel like we haven’t grown at all, it takes looking at who we used to be, to realize that so much growth happened when we didn’t even feel it taking place. That in the dark, or moments of rest, we changed, we healed, in the quietest of ways. We pushed ourselves forward. We managed to evolve. We managed to stay strong enough to make it to where we are now, and that within itself is an achievement that deserves to be celebrated.

This year, promise to remind yourself of just how far you have come. When you feel like you are falling behind, think back to all of the moments in your life where you thought the same thing, and just how much those seasons of confusion, or slow growth, taught you about yourself. When you feel like you are never going to heal a broken heart, think back to all of the moments in your life where you held the same heart in your hands and you put it’s broken pieces back together — how you healed slowly, and in the smallest ways, day after day. When you feel like you will never get out of the dark, remind yourself of the moments in your life that enveloped you in a heavy kind of hope, remember how you tucked light into yourself and fought to be here today. Remind yourself of all of the ways you survived, when you didn’t think you were capable. Nothing in this life has ever had the ability to defeat you. If anything tests your resilience this year, remind yourself of that. Remind yourself of the ways in which you have saved yourself so many times before. You have come so far. Honor that.

This year, promise to stop comparing yourself to others.

Within the last year we have all grown even more attached to social media as a means of experiencing life. Apps like Instagram, and TikTok have the capacity to fill our days with so much stimulation, and so many perspectives, and illustrations of people, and while we know that most of social media is a highlight reel, it can be difficult to disconnect from that when it is a main form of what we are consuming each day. It can be difficult not to feel a little sad that we don’t look like someone we admire online, it can be difficult not to feel a little discouraged or lonely when we see beautiful videos of happy couples splashed across our feeds, it can be a little difficult not to feel like we are falling behind when we see the achievements of others scrolling across our phones constantly. Social media can be really disarming, and very polarizing, and it’s extremely difficult not to compare our lives to those we see online.

And so I just want to remind you that this is human. These feelings are very real, and very valid, and it’s important to really pay attention to them when they arise, because it is within that awareness that we can reframe how we’re letting them affect us. When you start to notice yourself comparing yourself, when you start to notice yourself wishing that your timeline looked more like someone else’s when it comes to their career, or their success, or their relationships — remind yourself that you are living your own unique life, and that your journey is an extension of that. You are going to achieve the things you want to achieve. You are going to find good love. You are going to heal. You cannot lose what is for you. You will never miss out on the things that are meant to happen for you in life. So you do not have to rush yourself forward, you do not have to force anything into happening before it is meant to happen in your life. Get clear with what you want, and more so, get clear with yourself on how you want your life to feel, rather than what you want it to look like on the outside, on social media. And go in that direction. Have intention with it. Believe that it is going to happen for you, that is unfolding within its own unique way in your life, and do not compare that journey to anyone else’s, because it is your own.

This year, promise to take 15 minutes out of each day to make yourself the person you want to be.

How can you take fifteen minutes for yourself each day? For your goals, for your self care, for your heart — how can you show up for yourself?

We build so many resolutions around these large and looming things, and while I think those hold space, I also think that they can be overwhelming. They aren’t always sustainable. So start small. Make a micro-shift in your day, each day. You don’t have to run for an hour — but you can push yourself to move your body for 15 minutes. You don’t have to read three books a week — but you can push yourself to read for 15 minutes before bed. You don’t have to only treat yourself to a self care moment when you are depleted, and you feel like you will bubble over with anxiety if you don’t. You can take 15 minutes each day to put your phone down, to connect with yourself, to do a face mask, to take a hot shower, to sit and drink water. These things sound so small, but they add up.

And it’s not often even about the specific things you’re doing, it’s more about the fact that you’re doing them for yourself. You’re showing up for yourself. You’re being kind to yourself. You’re taking time or yourself no matter what, on even your hardest or busiest days, to take care of yourself. To do something that makes you better, in even the quietest way. I promise, it improves your life, because you really start connecting with the fact that you are nurturing yourself, you are nurturing your body, you are nurturing your mind, and it becomes a habit. And that is really special. That is something you learn to embrace, that is something you learn to celebrate, because in a way, it’s teaching you to celebrate and honor yourself, to treat yourself with kindness, and to stand up for the future version of yourself that you’re becoming. Fifteen minutes each day. Whatever it may be, whatever that looks like for you — dedicate yourself to it, promise it to yourself each and every day. You deserve it.

On Learning How To Be Alone, Because The Love You Find Within Yourself Will Be Yours Forever

The love you find within yourself will be yours forever. However, I know that the journey back home to yourself, the journey towards being comfortable, and at peace, on your own, and learning how to hold your own heart, and hold your own space, in a way that doesn’t scare you, but rather, in a way that empowers you, isn’t easy.

We live in a world where we are constantly being fed so many distractions. We don’t have to learn how to be alone with ourselves, because we never really are. We can fill our lives to the brim with other people, with being busy, with work, with scrolling, with so many energetically and time consuming things, that we never really have to sit with ourselves and be alone with ourselves if we don’t want to.

I always ask myself: “Who are you when you’re alone with your mind? And are you happy? When the world is quiet, and the distraction and the noise is stopped, what is asking to be felt? Do you feel at home with yourself?”

Often the answer is no. And that is why alone is considered something that is uncomfortable, and something that most human beings avoid. It’s difficult, it’s hard to be alone. And that is something you don’t have to be ashamed of. You don’t have to vilify yourself for maybe finding it hard to love yourself, or to be okay on your own. At the end of the day, we need one another. We need meaningful relationships, we need that interaction. It is why we have evolved and survived for so long as a species. Learning how to be alone does not mean that you need to shut out the world, that you need to never ask for help, that you need to be closed off and removed from connection. It’s beautiful to want to love, to want to experience so much at the hands of life with the people who make you feel seen and heard and at peace within this world. But when we focus so much on finding that feeling externally, sometimes we forget that we can give it to ourselves as well. Sometimes we forget that the love we have always sought in others can first, and foremost, be found within ourselves.

This is your reminder that alone is not synonymous with not good enough. Alone is not a weakness, it is not something to be ashamed of. Alone is a gift. It is a foundation, a steady ground within yourself that will be there whether or not you are in a relationship, or you get a good morning text. Alone is knowledge, in yourself and in your hopes. Alone is a ruthless dedication to understanding your heart and fighting for what compels it after years of allowing for it to be loved in halves. Alone is not lonely. Alone is not broken. Alone is an anchoring, a healing — a reminder that the love you find within yourself will be yours forever, a reminder that you have the capacity to be your own home.

I believe so deeply in learning how to be alone, because often when we are afraid of being alone, we tend to keep things in our lives that are not meant for us. When we are afraid of being alone, sometimes we settle for less than what we know we deserve, or need, or deeply desire, because we would rather have something than nothing. We tolerate behavior, or things that do not inspire us, or encourage our growth, or love us the way we have always dreamed of being loved, because we do not want to lose what we have just in case something better does not come along. And if something better does not come along, if we don’t have another human being or their attention telling us that we are loved, that we are worthy, that we are valid, then who will? Learning how to be alone teaches us that even if everything external leaves us, even if the home we have built within so many things in this life suddenly shatters, or disappears, we will always have the ability to step into the home that is our own heart, our own soul, our own mind.

Learning how to be alone is important because it is in our capacity to be alone that we no longer settle for things that we have outgrown. We no longer grip. We no longer seek external validation as a means of feeling loved, or worthy. We have done the work to love ourselves. We have done the work to be okay within our quiet, within our calm, within our minds. We have broken up the dirt within ourselves, we have looked the scary things in the face, we have no longer swept them under the rug, we have no longer allowed for fear to allocate our energy to things that are not deserving of it. Instead, we have faced the fear. We have grown within it. We have learned how to be strong on our own. How to build that foundation.

And it is within that, that we start to see the things that come into our lives from a place of self respect, and self love, rather than fear. When you are comfortable on your own, the things that you allow into your heart, into your life, are only ever going to be adding to it. You are no longer allowing yourself to accept things that ask you to settle, that ask for you to be less of yourself, that make you feel like you are hard to love, or like you just have to accept them because they are there. Instead, now, the things that you allow into your life, are things that are growing you, and inspiring you, and helping for you to stay true to yourself. It is no longer a question of if someone likes you, if you are good enough. It’s a question of if you like them, if they can give you what you need, what you desire. There is no longer this worry of being without, because you are never without when you know you have yourself.

From this space, your capacity to love others also increases. When we love from a place of fear, from a place of being so worried that we will lose someone, from a place of being so scared that we are going to end up alone — that is not love. That is attachment. And we know that attachment will never turn into love, because attachment is the kind of dynamic that makes us think we have to possess something in order to be happy, that we need it in our lives in order to feel fulfilled and at peace. When we can be our own peace, when we can fulfill ourselves, when we can be our own happiness — we love freely, and openly, and with ease. We can be fully present, we can love from a place deep within ourselves, from a place of deep understanding of our hearts, and our worth, and we can give so much to those in our lives from a place of compassion and empathy, rather than giving from a place of fear, which is often just us trying to possess something.

However — this kind of growth is so incredibly difficult at first. Studies have shown that people would rather administer an electric shock to themselves than be alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes. There is such an aversion to being alone, because we are so stimulated, we are so convinced that we always have to be seeking our happiness outside of ourselves. But there is a lot of beauty that can be found from committing to yourself and to committing to working through that discomfort. On a biological level, when we work through things that are creating a stress response like discomfort within us, when we commit to a task or achieving something, and ensuring that we are pushing ourselves along, it actually creates a dopamine reward system within our brains. We are literally learning how to reward ourselves, not externally, but within the act of committing to something deeper for ourselves, within the act of committing to being better, to doing the work — that act of self-love actually creates a happiness response within ourselves. Slowly alone becomes something that feels less uncomfortable. Slowly, our alone becomes a beautiful place to be.

And so in understanding that — no matter how difficult it is, this is your encouragement to commit to yourself. To start leaning into your own soul. To finally sit with yourself and listen to your needs and know yourself. To do the work.

If the idea of being alone scares you, that is when you know that you need to remind yourself that you are your own home. That is when you know you need to start learning how to give yourself the same love you seek externally. That is when you know you need to quiet the distractions, you need to be okay in your own company. Because it is better to be alone than to be with someone who makes you feel lonely. And it is better to be alone than to be settling for things that you know deep down are not for you. It is better to be alone than to make love into something you feel you have to grip at, something you have to possess, instead of something beautiful and soft. It is better to be alone than to lose yourself in the need for external validation. It is better to be alone.