I love my TAFE class. They’re a great bunch of people and they really allow me to be myself. For some context, I often make a point of not talking about anything too deep with people unless I’ve known them quite some time. The other day, on a TAFE trip, I was asked whether or not I was in a relationship. A harmless question but for me… a charged one.

I’m glad not to be. It’s something I’ve only started saying recently, but it’s true to my deepest feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I hope to have a family one day, but I can’t right now. Bear with me.

There’s a part inside me, buried deep somewhere, that just doesn’t work. It controls my ability to deal with romantic relationships. It’s melodramatic for me to call myself a little broken, but that’s just the way I feel sometimes. It isn’t to do too much with any past relationships, but more to do with me, with my mind and my current stage of life.

The hardest thing with something like this is explaining it to another person. How can you make them understand something that you don’t fully understand yourself? I can’t fully grasp why I feel this way. Sure, I encounter people that I like, but I can’t get the idea of a romantic relationship in my head. If I could explain it, it wouldn’t be such a problem for me.

I suppose this isn’t so different from many things in life. I’ve mentioned before that the most difficult and important thing in life is to understand another person, but it must be nigh impossible to understand the parts of a person that they don’t understand themselves.

I spoke a lot about this with a good friend of mine – about my issue with relationships. She’s kind and wise, and was able to talk a lot of it through with me. It’s still something I don’t fully understand, but every little bit helps. Most importantly, she asked me if I’m scared. Perhaps I am.

Over time I’ve become used to being a lonely person. It’s something that’s always come naturally to me. I’m not the kind of person who readily makes friends. I have to work at it. I’ve always been a bit of an oddball. I’ve come to accept that too. At some point I accepted the nature of my loneliness. We’re always going to be lonely at some point or another, but I don’t want to be someone who claws into people who slip away. I prefer to let them make the choice as to whether they stay or go. Some people have just faded from my life.

That doesn’t mean they’re truly gone though. Friendships can last a lifetime if you let them. I think very differently about friendships to other people. I don’t often talk to some of even my closest friends, but when I do I go all out. I’m happy to see them when I need to and to have them see me when I need to, for us to hang out time to time. Perhaps there’s some word for that I’m not aware of.

I’ve always struggled with loneliness in varying manners before, though. I’ve come to realise that in the end there will always be one truth – we’re always going to be alone. Loneliness comes in different forms, after all. You can be lonely in a room full of people, in your family, with your significant other. When you’re lying in bed, mind racing at 2am in the morning, you are alone. No matter how full your life is, you will be alone sooner or later.

That’s why it’s so important that you love yourself. I can never, ever stress this enough. Since sooner or later you’ll have to deal with yourself alone, you might as well work with what you’ve got. I love people and having them in my life, but I’m not so sure that I truly love myself.

I’ll be honest – this is a lifelong battle. If the one constant in life is change, then chances are you will only sometimes love yourself. That’s okay. What’s most important is that you work at it a little every day. I can’t ever give you a good guide for how to best do this – I’m still learning myself, and it’s different for everyone.

When loneliness strikes, and you have to deal with something entirely on your own, self-love is perhaps the best base from which to build a response. That being said, there’s only so much one person can handle. I can’t rely solely on self love, but it’ll certainly help.

If there’s one thing that can be said for self-love, though, it’s a half-way effort. You can’t make yourself into a perfect person worth loving, nor can you accept all the things that make you unsatisfied with your life. It takes the will to change what you can, and accept what you cannot. After all, they say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Will you choose love?