Speaking from personal experience, the best moments and memories are often associated with people we treasure. As social beings, we tend to emphasise the relevance of company when creating new memories. Actually, according to Aristotle, human beings tend to achieve their fullest potential when they develop in society; other people challenge our insight on life, often leading to the exploration of new approaches towards it. Nevertheless, the ongoing quest of trying to always be surrounded and well accompanied often drifts us away from dealing with the core component of any relationship: Ourselves.
During these past months, circumstances have forced me -in one way or another- to spend more time on my own. Often without even aiming to, I found myself tangled in uncomfortably lonely scenarios. For example, picture this: a beautiful sunset in Madrid under lovely weather while walking by El Retiro. Quite literally, a perfect movie-like scene to share with any special someone. Normally, when I find myself under those circumstances, my first reaction is to seek for someone with whom to share the moment. In my head, a perfect memory requires the presence of someone else beside me – or at least that’s what I used to think.
That one time I was alone, my phone had little to no battery, and there was barely any sunset time left. It was a “take it or leave it” type of deal: either I enjoyed the park scene by myself, or made the decision to ignore the beautiful moment in front of me. Until that moment, I had never considered how uncomfortable being on my own made me feel. Instead of simply appreciating the simple fact of being there, I couldn’t help but think “I am alone”.
I was not wrong. But little did I know how something which seemed rather like an impediment had the potential to become a key lesson in my life. Finding myself trapped in that uncomfortable feeling, I decided to give in and invite myself on a date. I was going to be my own company to watch the sunset, the person with whom I’d share my gratitude for the weather, and the interesting person with whom I would hold a conversation with. Quite literally, I decided to become my date, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed.
Following that experience, many others came along. The daily commute; eating by myself; working on my own. All of these simple moments shifted from an automatic “task executing mode” to potential opportunities to have a nice time with myself. I learned that it is not the same thing to be alone than to be with myself: it is a life changing paradigm shift to see yourself as someone you would love to spend an evening with.
After all, the social component of our nature remains a priority in my life. The moments that I enjoy the most are still those which I share with the people who I love. Human beings flourish around those who see their potential and push them to be their best versions. Moreover, once our potential becomes clear to ourselves we sharpen our decision making in regards to the people we truly love. After learning that company is not an impediment for happiness, my grip on it became tighter than ever. These acts of self love give us the power to influence our own wellbeing, allowing us to focus on the quality of our company, rather than on its quantity. Moral of the story is cultivating a meaningful relationship with one-self exponentially enforces the quality of the bonds we have with others.