You can stay alone for as long as you like, but you’ll never truly be comfortable in solitude until you welcome it with open arms.
Nothing prepared me for the feeling of contentment that I received after several years of being alone. It was a wintry Sunday morning. The water was icy on the tips of my fingers and I splashed it over my face. Tiny shrieks left me, and I looked back at my reflection in the mirror. I don’t know whether it was something to do with that day, or the icy water jilting me awake, or the ease with which the weekend had passed me by, but I felt happy and complete.
I felt better than okay.
I’d been alone for years before that and continued to even after that time. It wasn’t like I’d just newly become single. It was the only life I’d ever known. I often took pride in my ability to not need someone to complete me or validate my existence. Yes, there was the honeyed comfort of family and friends, and yes, the infectious laughter of my loved ones kept me going, but I had never lived life as another person’s ‘half’.
I had always been whole.
Spending most of your years in the bliss of singleness teaches you a lot of things, both good and bad.
Like how to sprinkle your time on people with the potential to give you the love that you deserve before realizing how much of a waste it was. And how there aren’t any ‘good mornings’ or ‘good nights’ waiting for you before you hit bed or get up. And how everyone but you seems to have found who they were looking for, and you can’t chase away the feeling that perhaps there’s something wrong with you. And how you keep telling everyone that you’re ‘okay being single’ when really, at the back of your mind, you’re wondering whether you’re going to die alone.
And how, no matter what anyone else says to reassure you, you don’t know whether there’s anyone out there for you.
But being alone teaches you the most important lessons.
Like how to be resilient, to never bow down to another, to never ‘settle’ just because you’re afraid of loneliness or accept a love that’s not enough because you think that’s all you’re going to get. It teaches you to have faith in your heart, to trust your emotions, and to be there for yourself when you need it the most. It teaches you to ask yourself where you’d like to eat, what color would suit your nails, which park you’d like to run in. It pushes you to rely on your own views about what’s right or wrong for you and to carve your own path towards dreams that don’t depend on someone else to complete them.
Being alone teaches you to accept what’s meant for you and to push away whatever isn’t, to welcome every fragment of yourself in its entirety and to not pluck out your vulnerabilities as weaknesses but as jewels that make you more love-worthy.
Yes, there are lonely nights, nights when you wish you were speaking to someone with love bubbling in their heart for you. There are also moments of disorientation where you don’t know where you’re headed because the person who might be next to you still seems like a blur in the future.
But there is also security, a sense of belonging, and peace. There is also a feeling of being at home with yourself that you’ll never find anywhere else. There’s consistency, safety and self-reliance. There’s the undeniable truth that there may or may not be someone beside you one day, but your heart and soul will still be there.
Being alone teaches you various things, but the biggest lesson I’ve taken from it is this—someone else could pour their whole soul into you and it still won’t be enough if you’re not already whole, if you’re not already a complete person when they meet you.
Because at the end of it, the right person will add more to your already meaningful life; they will not give meaning to it.