Learning to live with myselfby Assad Malik
There was a time I believed that having a romantic partner in my life would put an end to my loneliness. I had fallen in love with the idea of love instead of the person. In my dreams, my beloved would quench the thirst of my heart by offering a stream to drink from. After countless, unsuccessful attempts to find "my other half", I was left with a disturbing image. Looking in the mirror, I saw the desperate longing upon my eyes to be loved. From that moment on, I learned a valuable lesson: no one could fill my emptiness, except me. The time had come to address not the symptoms, but the problem: not being comfortable with solitude of my own company.
So I began spending time alone and getting acquainted with my being. Whether I was writing my private thoughts in a journal, going to mosque to meditate, or taking long walks at night, the process of self-exploration and intimacy had begun. As a result of these practices, I began feeling an inner tranquility. For the first time I had actually began to see and hear in a way like none before. A third eye had opened and an inner voice emerged. With that a greater level of awareness, I saw my surroundings in a completely different manner. It was if another dimension had been added, enhancing my perceptions.
With new added insight, I set some time just for myself everyday. This practice of self-nurturance became a way of replenishing the energies drained throughout the day. At first, I was a little skeptical on self-awareness because I believed anything to do with the self was narcissistic. Over time though the difference became apparent. Where selfishness serves as a means to an end, dealing with the short-term, immediate gratification, self-awareness is the grounding of the spirit. A tree’s life cycle demonstrates how growth of the human spirit occurs.
From the seed grow the roots, the core of your being. Slowly, the roots begin implanting themselves within the ground. This is when you take the first steps toward understanding yourself. As time elapses, you began to learn more about your strengths, weaknesses, feelings, and thoughts. Once the roots are firmly stable underground, they expand outwards, beginning their journey to the sun (god). When the limbs expand, you examine your surroundings. Over a period of time, the awareness of our inner and outer world connect, allowing you to integrate your different aspects. Knowledge expands from the self to others where we cultivate our ability to empathize. As empathizers, we can identify other’s needs and balance them with our own. At this point, the foundation of friendship is plowed. And for every new branch that ramifies, you’ve added another loved one to your family.
As long as I am alive, there is no end to this process. Everytime I meet someone, it is an opportunity to learn whether it be good or bad. A friend told me, the qualities we admire in people we come in contact with are qualities we see in ourselves. The qualities we abhor in others, are qualities we dislike in ourselves or qualities we have issues with. Pobody’s Nerfect; the best we can do is improve on our weaknesses.
After a couple of years on my own, I‘ve made some serious progress when it comes to enjoying solitude. I still have a long way to go though. And there are times when I wouldn’t mind having a beloved in my life. However, my desire is no longer out of loneliness, but of companionship. Wanting is the feeling that reminds us that we are alive. It’s okay to feel lonely from time to time. However, it is important to remember the following:
The folds of space within our being cannot be filled by anyone but, us. Turning to another and expecting him/her fill in those gaps results in a lethal, parasitic relationship.
A cyberbrother once said to me, it is better to be with someone not of need, but because he/she chooses to be with you just as you do with him/her. Knowing this reinforces my belief that it is better to be alone for the right reasons than together for the wrong.
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