I’ve lived on my own for almost nine years now. For some people that would be the worst thing possible; I have friends who can’t bear to be in the house alone for more than an hour or two and will go out of their way to get company – any company – if it means they don’t have to be alone.
Whenever I hear their stories I just feel sad. I want to remind them what amazing people they are and how much they have to offer themselves in terms of company.
And not just to themselves but to the world overall, and specifically to the people they want to meet. Because as long as they can’t bear their own company, how will they ever feel worthy of the time and energy of the kind of people they truly deserve to meet.
For that matter, how will you ever truly know what you want from a relationship – or anything in life really – if you haven’t taken the time to get to know yourself?
A few years ago I was in a very similar boat; I wasn’t a huge fan of my own company so I filled my time up with other people and their plans, and even tended to fill my solo time with the kind of noise and general busyness that meant I didn’t really have to think or to listen.
Then things changed. I guess it started when I went travelling; although I met and made friends along the way I spent a lot of time between places on my own. So when it came to people I became my only constant.
I’m not going to say that was easy, because there were times that were really tough; but they taught me a lot about myself and they helped me to recognise not only what good company I actually can be, but also how capable I am of working through the tough times when they hit and get myself back on track.
Because let’s face it, no matter how tired/homesick/scared/hormonal you may be, when you’re 1,000s of miles from home on the trip of a lifetime you really do have to work through those doldrums and appreciate the opportunity in front of you.
That was really only the beginning; years of training as a counsellor and healer, some serious spiritual delving, and some really awful, challenging times forced me to delve into and re-assess myself time and time again.
Fast forward to today and the journey is still ongoing – in fact I doubt it’ll ever be over, but I can honestly say that I am one of my very best friends, and my favourite people.
As a consequence I’m comfortable with my own thoughts, my own feelings, and with who I am. That’s not to say I’m always proud of everything I’ve done, but it means that I understand where those less than pride-filled actions come from and can let them go much more easily.
I know my weaknesses, and my areas for development, but I know my strengths too. And because of that I know what’s right for me just as much as what’s wrong for me, and so more and more I refuse to settle for anything less than what’s right for me.
Now I’m not suggesting that everyone reading this should pack a rucksack and take off for a few months, nor am I suggesting that you train as a counsellor or do any of the other specific things I’ve done (although if you are interested, Aurora’s workshops and courses always include a big focus on self development!).
But what I am trying to stress is the importance of taking the time to get to know yourself. Hell, if you really want to do it properly then do a Carrie Bradshaw and all out date yourself – take yourself off to places you really want to see, or put aside a night for something that’s just for you and will make you smile.
Because it’s only by putting yourself first that you’ll learn to appreciate yourself. And it’s only by appreciating yourself that you’ll gain the self awareness to know what’s right for you and the self respect to accept nothing less than that.
You are the only person who will be with you for the whole of your life and the only person you can never get away from. Isn’t that a relationship that deserves a bit of investment? And isn’t someone who gives you so much of their time worth getting to know?
As the quote at the top says, I’m not afraid to eat alone, because I know exactly what I bring to the table. If you can’t say the same then maybe it’s time to take yourself off for a cosy picnic and get to know the person you’re with…
Post originally published at www.auroracentre.co.uk.