The true meaning of "being okay alone"
Updated: Aug 9, 2021
I've recently spent some time reflecting on what it means to "be okay alone". In fact, it's come up a lot in conversation over the last three years—I've said it, I've heard it from others, and I've been given it as advice, usually post a break-up.
"You've just come out of a relationship, maybe you need some time alone", they say.
I think we would all agree that "being okay alone" is a positive thing, something to aspire to, and yes, I agree, it is. However, only now do I understand the depth of its true meaning and the power it has!
For years, I've been very comfortable in my own company—treated myself to restaurants, spa days, holidays, gigs, museums. And although I wasn't short of friends and dates, I didn't depend on them to have a good time. This was my super power, and I guess it still is.
But in recent years, I've realised that "being okay alone" is so much more than being content and comfortable in your company. That doesn't even touch the surface of its true meaning.
So why am I reflecting on this now?
It's been 8 months since meeting Sorin, my partner, who within such a short length of time has become my best friend. Now, this relationship has come as such a shock to me, because I have gone from hundreds of failed dates, to finding the most compatible person for me. We are so different, and yet we fit perfectly.
And the most special thing about it, is that I know that this isn't just luck or magic or the stars aligning. Finding someone as special as Sorin, took work. It took absolutely everything for me to finally present my AUTHENTIC self. It was painful in every way that I could imagine, and still is, but it led me to meeting someone that truly fits who I am.
So what does it take to truly "be okay alone"? Simply said, for me, it's about being okay with your physical body, your surface level thoughts and your 'hidden' thoughts. Basically, no stone left unturned.
In the last year, I dealt with a series of events that forced me to realise that although I was content with my company, I had no idea who I was. I spent so much time with myself, and yet, I didn't know 'me'. I realised that many of my decisions, including decisions about who I was dating, the friends I kept and the activities I chose to partake in reflected a 'Reena' that I didn't know at all. And this was a dangerous and lonely place to be.
I had to stop, and instead of going along with the crowd, I fought my way in the opposite direction. And that's exactly the point, "being okay alone" is about fighting for your true self, stopping yourself from just plodding along. It's about taking time to identify all of your traits, including, what Carl Jung calls your 'shadow self'. In turn, these learnings about yourself will lead to you making more authentic choices, having authentic and deep conversations, and honestly being able to take accountability for their outcomes.
"The shadow is a concept first coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that describes those aspects of the personality that we choose to reject and repress."
"Being okay alone" is MORE than being content with your vessel of a body, it is about going deeper—as scary as it may be—and discovering what makes you who you are, from your programming to your most painful experiences that have shaped you today.
For me, by doing this work, through therapy, dance, authentic relating workshops and so much more, I have started to make better decisions, put up boundaries when needed, and let others go. I finally feel safe being me, and I have confidence in myself to make the best decisions for myself. And when it comes to love, I won't allow myself to just "fall in love"–the concept of "falling" means that you've blindly followed a path that, in the end, wasn't made by your authentic self.
Finally, one of the most powerful things that I have learned is about taking accountability for my choices. In the past, I would blame all the men and friends that I felt betrayed by, and now I ask myself, "why did I make those choices in the first place?". I forgive myself for that, and I feel free to move on—loving and feeling deeply proud of myself.
I would never have got here if it wasn't for my shadow. I love me, all of me, and this has allowed me to find love out there.