You’re Alone, and that’s okay.
I want to start with a distinction. Aloneness does not equate loneliness.
This short phrase has begun sprouting in the roots of the internet so this is hardly a revelation, but making this distinction may still arouse some confusion and curiosity in many among you.
The very core of this word — Lone — does, in fact, designate the singular and though you may be right in identifying this part; the meanings of these words couldn’t be further apart. My writing to you comes today from a place of peace, lucidity and, higher understanding of myself. Though I would never claim a place above the understanding of humanity, there is a certain paradox I’ve come to understand through the studies of Buddhism, meditation, reflection and isolation.
- Posession is an illusion. And a very dangerous one at that.
Most of us begin our journeys with tender care and love. We are gifted with things and feelings surrounding us; with family and friends; with intelligence and guidance. From birth, some of us begin with none of that and are instead gifted with deceit, pain and lack of meaning. In both cases, either spoiled rotten and painfully deprived, human nature dictates we are destined to come to the point where we can fully believe that “something”, or indeed, “someone” should be ours.
That something or someone could belong to one person or another is arrogance simulated best by our species. The idea that an item, country, ideal or planet can be owned, exploited and thrown away is a scary thought and to think we haven’t even broached the topic of each other. I use the term “each other” carefully to differentiate from “people” because although they may say they same thing, they do not generate the same feelings. “People” does not bring forth the image of a parent, friend, colleague, stranger or loved one. And think, if it seems absurd that we can own as something is powerful and majestic as the planet Earth on which we thrive; How can we own a lover?
- Some things are meant to be found, not sought.
Perhaps this is obvious and perhaps not. I would err on the side of the latter. In my experience, we are quick to accept an idea that we believe seems obvious and yet there are so many ways in which we forget to apply them. Take, for example, the writer at his desk who stares at a blank screen. For hours he searches only to find the idea he sought come to him when he sits down in the park, observing others. Or, the entrepreneur who thinks, and thinks, and thinks for a way to make his vision a reality and then finds his idea come to him in a dream or in the shower.
Why, then, do we constantly seek companionship only to agonize and torment ourselves when we are disappointed at not finding someone to our standards or worse, committing to someone who betrays the values we hold most important? Is it so important for us to feel validated? Is it so necessary to feel the physical warmth of another? I have found, and it could be that I am wrong, I often am, that this might be another thing to be found and not sought.
This brings us to the apex of this already lengthy blog post and if you’re not already on the edge of your seat I would recommend that you X the window now, for perhaps you will be disappointed with where this goes. Well, given the first line and the appropriate title I’ve assigned this little narrative, you might already see the end of the tunnel. If, however, you’d like to see the whole puzzle form, then your diligence will duly be rewarded.
We’ve already determined the posession of something and someone is arrogance and foolishness, but let’s delve a bit deeper into why and how we hurt ourselves by attempting to posess another. Imagine your perfect and ideal person. Have you done it? Fantastic, you’ve now placed that image over your partner. Now this may exclude a rare handful of you, but for most of you, and be honest, you’ve gone over in your mind the things you would want to change or improve in another person. All that wisdom of past generations will say that you should fall in love with the flaws of the person you love, and no doubt you will, and yet there will always be these things you will want to change. On the other hand, they will have all these things they will want to change about you. Is this really love or this conditioning? We cannot posess another and we are full of flaws. How can we assume to change something about someone else under these premises. And thus, I believe we are conditioned to fear loneliness.
For all of our seeking and our fear of being alone, aka “settling”, we will not and will even refuse any notion that we might have a) made a mistake or b) to face the “big, bad and vast world” alone again. In seeking not to be alone we have found unhappiness and an unfulfilled life.
And that’s okay.
This is a part of life and fear is normal. It’s okay to be afraid. We all are. We all feel like we are being consumed by something so great we can lose ourselves in a heartbeat.
I’ve been practicing self-love for a long time now and it’s only recently that I’ve been able to really grasp some of its most important notions, two of which I’ve shared above. With this in mind I implore you to really evaluate your situations. Then, place yourselves in the shoes of your partners and loved ones and see yourself from their points of view. Are you satisfied? And them? Could you be more? Do you want more? How about in their view?
All of this is possible in the same way all iterations of you are possible.
You are the pioneer of your life. You are the protagonist of your adventure. Take the time to find out who you are and what you love. Learn about your flaws and for all the ones you might have, learn to love each of them. They are you. Find what you would like to improve and work on that. In doing all of these things, you learn to love who you are. I can promise you, it’s a full-time job. I certainly don’t recommend doing it when you’re involved with someone else. It’s a selfish, selfish work and it’s also the most beneficial, beautiful and fulfilling endeavour you might ever achieve.
You will see others in a different light and they will see you as an entirely different person. You may find your tastes have changed and you may find that you love your partner more deeply. The same goes with them. You may indeed find that you are much happier alone and for most people I think it’s necessary to be, at least for a while. And that’s okay too.
In learning to love yourself and I mean really love who you are, you give yourself permission to make mistakes, experiment, explore and, at the end of the day, this all amounts to living. Life is free and it’s urging, nay, it is begging you to take one. When you do, your opinions of others will no longer be important to you and their opinions of you will be equally unimportant in your eyes. The only opinion you will — and should — value, as it relates to your person, is your own.
You will learn to find and no longer seek. Why? Because the warmth of someone’s arms is no longer as important as the warmth you feel by living the Truth of your soul. There is a certain kind of joy that you will never find in the arms of another and that is the joy self-fulfillment. When you can deeply embrace yourself, the joy of everything you do is unquantifiable because that personal joy is one that only your unique person can relate to.
I’m not saying to become a hermit (unless you want to), but don’t feel ashamed or afraid of what the future can bring you. It’s a bright place that can be everything you ever wished if all you did was step into that seemingly dark abyss. And, because you no longer posess anything, that darkness can no longer posess you. In that knowledge, the pit turns into a blindingly bright universe of infinite possiblity.
If, at the end of all of this, you find yourself alone, not because there’s no one for you and not because you’ve alienated everyone, but because you’ve found so much joy that no other person has [yet] brought you more, then that’s okay too! At the end of this long, arduous journey maybe you’ll find someone who complements this beautiful you that you’ve learned to resonate with and maybe you won’t.
You’ll be alone. And that’s okay too.
At the end of the day, you’ll have found and become friends with the most important person in your life: You.
Originally published at julianlegrand.wordpress.com on November 11, 2015.