The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love.

The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person – without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other. ~ Osho

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  1. First, I love the “Lessons Learned in Life” site. It makes me think. However, for the first time, I find myself disagreeing with “the capacity to be alone…” lesson. I’m now 67 years old. My husband of 25 years passed away in 2005. We had the kind of marriage everyone wanted. He was the love of my life. Now, I’m alone. My life ended for all intents and purposes when he died. I’ve dated on occasion, but nothing of any importance. I’ve been severely depressed for 9 years, with a respite from my feelings only on rare occasion. I have no purpose, now. My happiness was, indeed, taken when he left. And I don’t know what to do about it. Thank you for “listening”.

    1. Hi Marilyn
      I am sorry for your loss , but disagree with you on one thing , you where so lucky to have a wonderful life with your husband for 25 years, what about people who never get a chance in being happy, re really meeting someone who truly loves them? And really getting the feeling of being loved ?

    2. Dear Marilyn,
      Thank you for sharing. I actually think this post is a perfect reminder in your situation, which is the lesson of learning to be okay with being alone, to be grateful in life for every breath, and to be content in whatever situations. I think the Happiness referred to in this quote is actually CAPITAL Happiness, not little case happiness. Capital Happiness is similar to joy, which is not dependent of people or events. It comes from within the soul and trusting (in God) that everything will be fine. Small letter happiness is good feelings depending on people and events in life. I am really sorry for your loss of your beloved husband. It must be difficult to be without him. However, I bet your husband would want you to continue to be Happy, even without his physical presence in your life. Try to start each day with a list of things to be thankful for, look for appreciation and beauty in small things through the day, and always remind yourself that you are very loved by God! Positive thinking and positive self-talk go a lonooooog way! Allow yourself time to heal from the loss of your husband, to grow in life, and to cultivate Happiness in life! Jesus got your back and He will listen to your prayers! 😉

    3. Hi Marilyn,

      I am so sorry for your loss. In no way do I know how you are feeling, but I felt compelled to respond because sometimes I think about what my life will be like if the time comes that my husband passes before me. Like you and your husband, my husband is the love of my life….something rare that so many others hope they will find in their lifetimes. I feel so blessed to have found such unconditional love and I have never been happier, but he is 18 years older than I am so the chance that I will end up alone is great.

      My mom has been going through the same thing as you, but in her case, her husband (a wonderful man, step-father to me and my brother) died unexpectedly just short of their 10 year anniversary. This happened about 25 years ago, and she has since remarried, but she is very unhappy and never “got over” her husband’s death. I have watched her over the years turn from a happy and productive person, into an unhappy, bitter, miserable woman who lives her life every day grieving for the wonderful husband she lost and not able to live her life. Because of this, I wonder if my husband was to go before me, if I would end up like her. I see how her life has turned out and she is basically living each day waiting for the end. She has lost out on having a good relationship with her children, she really has no relationship with her 3 grandchildren, and has let every negative thing in her life paralyze her so that she is more comfortable staying home watching tv than getting out in the world. It’s safe to say I do not want to end up like her.

      If you haven’t done so already, the first thing I would suggest is some sort of counseling to help you process it all. It may not be something you feel like doing, but it would be so helpful in finding ways to be able to get through your days…..they can help you learn tools that you can use. One thing I have learned over the last couple of years is how important it is to process your grief, go through all of the steps, and then find a way to live the best life you can despite what you’ve been through. Getting “stuck” in the grieving process not only hurts you, but other relationships in your life whether it be children, siblings, etc….and you miss out on so many beautiful moments that happen each day. Although different, I suffered some debilitating health issues over the last couple of years that had me unable to continue working and unable to live the life I had imagined I would be living…and having to learn to adjust to a life I never imagined for myself. Short term counseling helped me get through my grieving process for my old life, and to adjust to a new life more positively. If I had not gone through that, I may not be the person I am now. More than anything, how we move on in our lives after something that can be so devastating, depends so much on how we view things. Our lives are definitely changed when we experience death, or anything else that is so major in our lives, but in the end feeling grateful for having met someone so wonderful and to have had such a wonderful and successful marriage will help you to have a much more positive experience for the remainder of your life. It’s hard, and I don’t pretend to know what you are going through, but your husband wouldn’t want you to miss out on the rest of your life. He would want you to find a way to embrace the life that you have been given, even if he can’t be here to live it with you.

      I use to hate to be alone…it created an uncomfortable, anxious feeling in me that I would do whatever I could to never be alone if I could help it, including leaving the tv on all the time for “company”. When I started forcing myself to turn it off and just be in the peace and quiet, I was able to start processing what I was going through after I had to stop working, and I learned that I really enjoy reading and writing. I’m not saying this would help you, but it’s important to find the things that work for you.

  2. These words have touched me. They speak the truth. They relate to me. I did not have the true meaning of love figured out yet. Thank you for writing an inspiration.

  3. I guess I’m the odd one here. I’m ALWAYS alone and I hate it! I had a 3 month relationship with someone very special. Then, about a month ago, I broke up with him over something stupid. I actually did it because I’m a mess, and I didn’t think I was capable of keeping up with him. Now, he’s all I can think about. I guess I should see a therapist. Sorry for venting.

  4. Frst i thank you 4 all de nyc qoutes dat so far ar inspiring me 2 be a strng prsn n nt care abt wat ader ppl think of me…

  5. Marylyn Young I am so very sorry for your loss. What a blessed marriage you had. Thank God love is eternal. In 2001 I lost a teenage son. I just wanted to die. I understand complicated grief and how it can turn into severe depression. My family finally insisted I get some therapy and also some meds for depression. It saved my life. We never get over such a painful loss. How could we? But in time and with the right help, we can learn to cope and live with our grief. Your wonderful husband would probably feel terrible knowing how sad you are. If you haven’t done so, I hope you will get some help. You deserve a good life. God bless you.

  6. Dear Marilyn Young,
    Very sorry to hear about your loss. I have no words of consolation or wisdom to pacify your pain. I am 30 and I live alone in a foreign country for last 5yrs. I am extremely fortunate that my parents do visit me often and live with me for months. I am very loved and cared in my home country by parents, relatives, friends, but I am living away from them for a better career here. This is by choice, not by force. So, I can’t imagine your situation which is by nature’s force. Nevertheless, I thank God for teaching me how to live alone. I like to believe this is for a reason, that my living alone is teaching me all the intricacies of life.

  7. I like very much the Lessons Learned in Life. Very inspiring. I learned many many things here.

  8. Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my comment(s) – especially to Kim (whose mother is going through the same thing) – and to JoAnne, Yanyi, Sandi (I’m so sorry for the loss of your son. I can’t even begin to imagine such a painful loss.), and to Avipsa. I’ve read your comforting words, thought about what you’ve all said, and you have given me some hope. I do have a strong belief in God, thankfully, and I believe He led me to all of you for a reason. He does have a plan, but sometimes we don’t understand why He plans the things we all have gone through.

    When I finish this, I am going to call my doctor and get a referral to a therapist, something he has suggested before. I KNOW my sweet Howard does not want me to be so miserable. I’m going to work hard to retrieve my other self – the happy and productive me. God bless you all. I don’t know you, but I love you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    1. Marilyn, I don’t believe in coincidences…..people are put in our paths for a reason. Sometime we don’t always know what that reason is until later, but I’m so happy that I could be that person for you 🙂 If you ever feel like you need a pep talk or a listening ear you can find me on or a website I created to share my story and help others. No one ever has to feel alone……”Everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to teach, wisdom to share….Life is a beautiful masterpiece bound together by your experiences. Open up and share your story, become an inspiration for others. You can make a difference because you matter, you were created with purpose. Live your life with intention. Go out there and make a difference by being the difference.” by Melanie Koulouris

      Best Wishes as you begin your healing process! Kim

  9. One more thing to JoAnne.

    You are right. At least I was very fortunate to have had my true love. I don’t know how old you are, but you might be like me in an odd way. I have closed my heart to love – probably so I won’t be hurt again. Maybe your heart is closed, too. If it is, you should try to find out why. I believe we all put out vibrations to those around us. Maybe your vibrations are telling possible loves that you aren’t ready to accept that love. Maybe that’s why I schlump around everyday in my housecoat, and always watch TV. How could I possibly be open to anything? I don’t know – but, I intend to find out. I hope you do, too.

    We all deserve love in our lives. And, even though it’s not what you’re seeking, know that I love you and I don’t even know you! Your words touched me. I believe you have much more to offer than you even realize. Take care of yourself, and find a therapist if you think that might help you understand yourself. If I can do it, so can you.

    1. Hi Marilyn
      I wish I could find a way to keep in touch with you. All I wanted to say is that you have to be happy and feel blessed that you were loved so much. As the saying goes it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved . Take care dear friend and I wish you all that your heart desires
      Marilyn , I LOVE YOU to

      1. I do feel blessed! I do have a lot to offer, but I keep sabotaging myself. I’m waiting on a call from my family doctor who I’ve asked what therapist I should see. I’m on a journey. And I will get back to who I used to be, God willing. Thank you so much for your caring words. I’m inspired. I hope you, too, find only the best life has to offer. Take care, my friend. BTW – I go by Suzanne (my middle name).

  10. To Marilyn Young,
    I too lost my spouse of 42 yrs., 10 yrs. ago. He was my best friend and soul mate. Have faith God and in yourself. You can pull yourself out of your slump. I met and continue to enjoy another caring man after 8 long yrs. of loneliness. He is a widower. We now both have a purpose and enjoy doing things again. God bless you and give you hope.

    1. Sally, thank you. 42 years is a very long time and, yet, now you’re happy. That gives ME hope and makes me happy. I have to get myself ready to meet someone, first – both physically and mentally. I’ve kind of let myself turn into a pile of mush. But, I can and will do it!! Continued happiness to you.

  11. Am going through it know, its only four months since I lost my husband while abroad . The most paining thing is that he went through his illness alone without telling anybody till when it was too let. I cant stop crying, i have feared to be close to any body even my own children, i feel they will also die and make go through the same pain again. I hate my country. Sometimes when am sick I feel empty because I have no one tell. I just dont know if Ill get used to being alone in this world. Grieving alone away from home and family is a difficult thing to do.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. Please don’t draw away from your family. They need you, and you need them. Your husband must have loved you very much if he didn’t want you to worry. Hold him close to your heart, but try to get out among people. I wasted too many years grieving – until now I DON’T get out. Life is so short. And, like the others here have said to me, your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad. He still wants only happiness for you. You are going through misery now. I know. I hope and pray that you find your way back into the sunshine soon. You are loved, and you still have a purpose.

  12. JoAnne, if you’re on FB, you can friend me. “Suzanne McCain Young” – Marilyn is my first name, but I go by Suzanne. <3

  13. Marilyn, Joanne, Yanyi, Kim, Sandi, your comments have brought me to tears in a sad and happy way. My husband passed away in March (4 months), so I’m grieving but learning to move on without him. I’m lonely trying to move on by doing things we both enjoyed doing. I have taken 2 trips now. When I start to really get down and depressed and can’t focus on life I pack up, grab the camera and go somewhere. This is what my husband and I liked to do together for 39 years. I’m Happy doing this even though there are moments I break down with a memory of my husband wishing he could see what I see. Then I tell myself he sees it because he is in my heart. I feel guilty sometimes for having fun so soon. He was my life and soul mate, my best of best friend and 20 years older than me. I’m so grateful for the fairy tale life I had but it does seem at times my life is over. I was truly blessed with a wonderful life and I thanked God for it. I come to lessons learned in life to get strong again and I thank you for that.

    1. Dear Anne – You are a healthy-minded widow!! While you go through your grief over the loss of your beloved husband, you travel on and continue to do the things you both loved, and you’re out among the non-grieving people.

      My husband and I met a couple when we were on vacation in St. Thomas (before he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma). We formed a fast and lasting friendship, even though we lived in Florida and they lived in Texas. As it turned out, both of our husbands died within 6 months of each other. She almost immediately took a 30 day cruise, then a 2 week cruise, and she enjoyed life, even while grieving. I couldn’t understand how she could do it!! She has continued to be among the living to this day. I, on the other hand, went into hiding, with – I might add – many bottles of liquor. You have definitely chosen the wisest and healthiest way to deal with grief!! I applaud you. Please stay on your path and DO NOT feel guilty one little bit.

      I started this thread, and as it turns out, it has brought me some peace and happiness. The responses have enabled me to reach out to others and to “meet” those in need of strength and hope. Now, I feel more positive and hopeful. So, I thank you and all of the others for helping ME.

      Thank you, Anne, for your message. Even though I know your sadness, you have helped me and others with your choice to keep moving and living. It IS possible. Take care of yourself. And, lastly, your husband must be very proud of you and of your strength. I bet he’s smiling.

      Your new friend,
      Suzanne aka Marilyn (I go by Suzanne)

    2. Anne….I’m SO sorry for your loss and can’t imagine what it’s like for you this soon after his passing. You and I are alot alike….my husband is 18 years older than I am and I love photography. I know that at least the first year is supposedly the hardest, but I imagine when a relationship is that loving and strong you never really “get over” it….you just find a way to move on the best you can. One thing I have heard before is that when someone we love passes, being grateful for the years you had together and that this person came into your life. I don’t think that means at this stage, though….it’s still too fresh. Keep reaching out to others, get help if you need to, and keep taking life one day at a time until it becomes easier. You can find me at if you want to keep in touch.

      Your Friend, Kim

  14. ..I love of being alone.. (*-*)
    ..I’m alone for 34 years until now without parents nor brother and sister..
    –‘-‘ ^-^— (*-*)

    Be thankful to God that he gave you good health and talent.(*-*)

    .always be humble and patient..

  15. I do used to believe in the word independent in my past few relationship. I always used to feel as if I can be happy myself even if m with the person of my life….. after being with this guy ‘Dipul’ , my mind hs set sm new meanings….learned that in a relationship both must be equally get respected so do their happiness. though we r capable of living our life happily in our ownslf bt after being in a bondage called Love all we cd think abt is the smile of our partner by our deeds…previously I never thought like this.

    I knw I can b happy without him, I dnt need anyone saying me abt my existence bt bcz f his presence in my life my life got new dimension f which I’ve neva dreamt f.. its the true love I guess.

    n if its called nonsense thn m happy with it too. 🙂

  16. Thanks so much Leasons Learned in Life for publishing post that are very inspiring some of them I can really relate and become my inspiration.

  17. lesson learned in life u r really a blessing to me..I always thank God for what u do..u lift me up…

  18. Thank you so much Briggite for this site . You are blessed . Have been reading posts of other friends over here . Thank all of them for sharing over here . Have been alone for the past eight years and it has been a great experience , For the first one year it was tough , but gradually went into Vipassana meditation , and the healing gradually started within , It took me another two years to heal myself completely and once I healed I forgave myself and asked forgiveness from all those family & friends whom I hurt in my life . After that my son and daughter in law visited me ( they were staying in Singapore ) and we had an emotional reunion . Certain relationships in life are eternal . For my ex wife I let go completely , the relationship has healed , and we do communicate with each other off and on . The lesson I learnt has been this , when one goes within , one gets to see the spiritual core of our being . in that being when I reached the rock bottom 8 years ago , the voice within stated , well you have only two choices , either you leave this planet or begin the process of change . I chose the second alternative and it has been an extraordinary journey of change . Like Gandhi had once said ‘ Be the change you wish to see in this world ” The journey goes on . There is enormous gratitude for the Universe & everyone who have helped for who and where I am today .

  19. The capacity to love is a simple truth that we all are destined to find love. Being alone is only good for a while, but it’s the loving hands and arms that reach out to you that makes a human being a tactic of not being alone all the time, but rather reaching out because they love in the first place. It is always nice to be alone, but remember we have to be the loving hands and feet who love.

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