Today was always going to be a strange one for me - in fact I've spent the entirety of January somewhat anticipating this day, wondering what it will bring and how it will make me feel. After all the anticipation, the clock struck 12 and ... I missed it. The dreaded fear that had been rooted in me was a suspended one, a false one. It seemed, then, that the only thing for me to do was to put pen to paper (or in this case, my fingers to a keyboard), to try and externalise why rather than feeling a whirlwind of emotions that take me back to this day three years ago, I felt nothing but empowered and completely at peace with my own solitude.
Being alone is far too frequently merely associated with being lonely, a social stigma which is fundamentally a false connotation. Of course you can be alone and lonely, but you can also be alone and remarkably happy. Finding peace in one's own company and discovering a love for such companionship in yourself substantially changes you. Below are just a handful of the things I view as a necessity in developing a comfort in being alone.
Fundamentals of Self-Love
Finding comfort in your own company is an incredibly empowering and life changing experience. I've spent many of my years on this earth resenting myself, for reasons varying from poor treatment from peers to foolish youthful relationships that felt like the most detrimentally heartbreaking experiences at the time. I'd be lying if I said that I love myself every second of every single day, I think that's impossible for anybody to ever state - there's always going to be self-doubt, but what is of necessary importance is to nurture yourself in to caring for and loving the body you inhabit. It's a process and it works differently for everybody. For myself - caring for my body by the means of going to the gym is something that significantly betters my mental perception of myself, I've not seen drastic results physically by any means - but the impacts of being healthy physically has a substantial affect on one's mental health.
Everything is an achievement.
Caring for yourself on a day-to-day basis, even if it's the simple, menial task of having a bath, can sincerely change the way you look at yourself. One of the most crucial things I've learnt in my lengthy battle with mental health is to be proud of yourself for even the small things. Some days are hard, much harder than others and on those days it is important to respect yourself for tasks that to others may seem like the most simple of things.
Stopping Looking for Validation
During my teenage years I spent so much time seeking validation from other people but what I failed to understand was that the only validation I needed was from myself. The words people use to taunt you, can haunt you for a lifetime and there are still times when I find myself replaying some of those moments in my mind, but what has become apparent over the past few months is that what another person perceives you to be is simply irrelevant - only you know yourself, your body and your worth and searching for validation in places where it's not deserved is the easiest path to a reliance on others, paving the way for self-deprecation.
One of my worst traits for many years was my relentless need to torment myself for previous mistakes and as cliche as this is going to appear, I failed to realise that it is because of these mistakes that I am the person I am today. Us humans are far too hard on ourselves and it is this need to self-deprecate that then consequently allows others to believe they can determine our worth as a person, also. Of course I've made mistakes and I imagine I'll be making many of those in the years to come, it's a part of life - but more importantly it's a part of growth.
Planning a Future - For Yourself
I've spent much of my life planning a future and while I felt, at the time, that I was doing so for myself - my plans were always foregrounded in what I felt like would make other people happy, or proud. Since September, I've made it my aim to achieve what I want to achieve for me, without the need for approval from anybody else - I'm doing things I never thought I would or could because I was too stuck on a conventional route due to what I thought was best for necessity, not what was best for my happiness.
I'm obviously not advocating a lifestyle where you are solely embraced in a life with your own company, fulfilling relationships with other people are a fundamental part of human existence, it's simply about learning to allow these two worlds to intersect - no longer relying on the necessity of company to determine your own happiness. I am surrounded by the most phenomenal group of people, who empower me to be a better person on a daily basis - but I wouldn't have succeeded in this goal if it wasn't for the determination in myself to find comfort in my own solitude. You must have a desire to spend the rest of your life with yourself, above everything else, because that is the one and only thing that is guaranteed.