They say you don’t know what you have until it is gone, and while that usually refers to good things being taken for granted, I see it differently: I don’t really realize how I felt about something until I feel differently about it, if that makes the slightest bit of sense. Let me explain it like this: it’s kinda like a break up–where you think you have moved on, but you really haven’t–and it isn’t until you truly have moved on that you see past your own façade in retrospect.
Lately, I have learned to be content with solitude. I don’t feel the need to be surrounded by people, or the need to be texting someone. I no longer feel the need for attention that I didn’t even know I once craved. I enjoy just sitting at a coffee shop alone without a phone, computer, or book. I like to take walks without music in my ears or a phone in my hand so I can really experience spending time with myself. I take the bus to the mall alone because I prefer it–not out of bitterness or an anti-social attitude–I just really like doing it on my own.
Mastering the art of solitude is the ultimate test of true self-love. It is important to truly love yourself before you love someone else for two reasons: the first is that you can’t rely on someone else to satisfy or complete you, and the second is that it is not fair to put such a burden on someone you love. When you give someone the power to complete you, you also give them the power to reduce you. Therefore, you must learn to satisfy yourself physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
I used to think I was so in love with myself, but that was only partly true. I didn’t fully understand what it meant to love myself. Loving yourself isn’t just about loving your reflection in the mirror, but rather really loving yourself and who you are as a person. It means you are aware of and value traits in yourself that you would look for in a close companion. It means you are proud of yourself and what you have accomplished without feeling guilty about that pride.
Solitude allows me to analyze myself, to reflect on myself, to see the beauty in my imperfections. Solitude has taught me to love myself–the right way.