The last time I felt really truly lonely was almost two years ago, when my fiancé and I broke up for a couple of months. We had been going through a really rough time in our relationship, and we were fighting non-stop. After one particularly bad argument, I asked him to leave.

I don’t think that we would be together today if it wasn’t for that separation. We did a lot of growing in the time that we were apart. Of course, I initially blamed him for most of the challenges in our relationship (he probably felt the same about me). But some other things came to light too.

During those months, I killed my own bugs, opened my own jars, and carried my own laundry to the laundromat. All of the things that I took for granted when he was around were now my responsibility. That was, without a doubt, the best thing that I could have done for myself and for our relationship. Without a doubt, it was empowering to realize that I didn’t need him to do these things for me. But I really, clearly, saw how doing these tedious things was an expression of love.

I read a wonderful book called Driven To Distraction, which is about ADD/ADHD in adults. It outlines both the positive and negative qualities that ADD can manifest as. A typical issue is that people with ADD often miss subtle social cues because they can’t stay tuned into them, making it difficult for them to make and maintain friendships.

Sometimes, I am acutely aware of this tendency in my own life. I often feel disconnected from other people, finding reasons not to like them or proof that they don’t like me. I’m aware that much of this is false, but it plagues me anyway. Unfortunately, these challenges are present in even my closest relationships, making me eternally indebted to the fiancé, family, and friends that love me anyway.

Ultimately, all of the potential to be happy and fulfilled, as well as lonely and disconnected, are functions inherent in our own five-foot bodies. That may seem discouraging, but it should provide you with a sense of absolute freedom. The ability to trigger the transformation from one side to the other exists inside, which means that I don’t ever have to be lonely if I choose not to be.

And now that I’ve figured that out, I don’t have to kill my own bugs anymore either.