“Do not rely completely on any other human being, however dear. We meet all life’s greatest tests alone.” – Agnes Macphail
What Happens When You are Remarkably Great at Being Alone?
I always thought true love was something that I would find when I was complete in myself. I always thought it would come to me when I was ready for it.
‘You need to find yourself to find love,’ they said.
‘It’ll come when the time is right,’ they said.
‘You need to love yourself first,’ they said.
‘You’ll find it when you’re ready for it,’ they said.
And so, being the hopeless romantic that I am,I listened and learned to love myself. I worked on myself so that I would have something worthwhile to offer someone else, but I still couldn’t find what I was looking for.
You’re too picky,’ they said.
‘Soulmates don’t exist,’ they said.
‘Your standards are too high,’ they said.
‘You spend too much time working,’ they said.
As if love was something that needed to be earned. As if love was something I needed to settle for. As if love was something that only happened in fairytales. As if love was something I needed to compromise doing all the things I loved. As if love was something I could only find when I was completely happy with myself, and my flaws. As if the universe would magically reward me with love as a prize for my hard work. As if not finding love was somehow my fault. As if love was something I was not just good enough for…yet. As if heart warming, soul-touching, mind-blowing love was asking for too much.
“Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.”― Vanga Srikanth
Did that mean that the people who had found love were ready? Or did that mean that they had simply settled? Maybe it was both; maybe it was neither. Maybe it just wasn’t for me right now. I let it go, trusting that fate would give me the love of my life when I was truly deserving of it.
Until one day, I woke up and realized that I was getting too good at being alone. I was getting too good at treasuring my independence. I was getting too good at letting go of every person who disappointed me. I was getting too good at having my space, and doing what I wanted when I wanted. I was getting too good at being complete, and I was getting too good at enjoying it!
The truth was that all this waiting was transforming me. The truth was that my sense of inner worth was getting stronger than my needs and fears. The truth was that it was getting difficult for anyone to push my buttons, and make me feel vulnerable and out of control. The truth was that I was getting too comfortable with my weaknesses and insecurities.
The truth was that I had realized that finding and loving myself was not a final destination but a never-ending adventure. The truth was that I wouldn’t settle for someone who loved me only for my body, my superficial personality or my professional or social status. The truth was that I had stopped needing love as a means of external validation, such that the only love I would settle for was the healthy kind.
The likelihood of a relationship being a healthy one is highly increased when both partners have healthy boundaries. A good sense of self-esteem ensures that you don’t rely on your partner as the source of your happiness. Financial, emotional and intellectual independence, reduces the likelihood of abusive and codependent relationships.
And maybe, just maybe, most relationships today aren’t healthy. Maybe getting too good at being alone isn’t such a bad thing?
At the same time, maybe finding love is not about finding yourself first or being fully complete, or about loving all your flaws.
Maybe love is about finding someone who is just as dedicated to becoming a better person as you are, growing together, and expanding the horizons of your consciousness with them. Maybe love is about the conscious choice to share a mutual admiration, respect, and intimacy.
Maybe it’s not my fault I haven’t found love yet; maybe I’m just holding out for something better. Maybe I’ll never be ready for it, and maybe it’s okay to wait for someone who is just as ready as I am.