“I think it’s very healthy to spend some time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Jonathan Tropper, one of my favorite authors, once said, “Get comfortable with being alone. It will empower you.”
Damn right, it will.
I have never felt so empowered, being out of a relationship and embracing my aloneness.
No matter how independent one might be (and I’m fiercely independent), being alone can suck. I miss having someone to cuddle with on the couch. I miss having a partner who will always go with me to the movies. I sincerely miss dinners out at my favorite sushi joint.
And not having a warm, strong, sensuous body beside mine in bed—that is what I miss the most.
This does not make me weak or pathetic or a woman who needs someone. It makes me human. We all crave connection and companionship. And nobody likes to feel lonely.
But I would take this any day over being a person who cannot be alone—those people who jump from one relationship to the next with no break in between because they don’t know how to be alone. It makes me sad that they don’t know what they’re missing.
It’s an incredible opportunity to truly get to know yourself. Not who you were before the last relationship ended. But who you are now. Today.
If you haven’t been alone, you don’t truly know yourself yet.
Yes, I discovered beautiful parts of myself being in relationships with men. They brought out some incredibly special parts of me. They revealed the shadow parts of myself I didn’t know existed. They broke me open and pulled the real, which I often hid from the world, out into the light.
But I don’t believe I truly knew myself on a deep, profound, soulful level like I know myself now.
I have gotten here only through sitting in the extreme discomfort of feeling lonely. Through being unwilling to compromise and run into the arms of someone I know is not right for me just so I don’t have to face the discomfort of being alone with myself.
I want to take the hands of my friends who are unwilling and unable to do it now and tell them, “If I can, you can too. Let’s sit in our aloneness together. We can make it through.”
There is something you discover about yourself when you can be alone. You see your strength. You notice your natural gifts with greater clarity. You start to take pride in your ability to step up and get sh*t done without anyone else’s help. You prove to yourself you are capable. You learn to enjoy your own company.
You even laugh at your own jokes, because nobody else is there to validate you’re actually funny.
And sex? Sit in the extreme discomfort of not using sex as a way to numb, release or escape from your own life.
You want to know who you really are? Take that one step, and you will learn more about yourself than you have your entire lifetime.
Mystic author and teacher, Osho has said that the capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. Because only those people are capable of going into the deepest core of another person—without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on them, without reducing them to a thing and without becoming addicted to them.
If this is what I need to be able to love another person like that, I’ll sit in my aloneness as long as it takes.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Shanon Wise/Flickr