A few days ago I was asked this question by a newer friend in my life. The question was “what the hell did you see in your ex husband?” Yes, direct quote. I won’t bore you with the entire conversation, but its prompting this entry so instead I am going to share some things I have learned. About myself and how I hope to channel that into my kids and their life long relationships with others. So here’s the big statement. I have learned to be ok and actually like those times when I am ALONE. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a hermit, hardly. I have a great work/life balance(now, thank goodness!) and I have 4 kids so alone is not often. But when I am? I CAN be alone. I don’t have to be in a constant state of motion, of go-go-go. I have learned that its incredibly refreshing, needed and a huge component of self-love to learn to be alone. Yep, self-love. Keep reading!
I have also learned that often when you say NEVER, it rarely means NEVER. I have learned that “those reactions” were all out of fear, anger, rage and hate. Yes, hate. Its a big word, a scary emotion, one that makes you say and do and truly have regrets and wish you could go back and handle things differently. But you can’t. And this is why its called learning and growth. You can only go forward. So this Thanksgiving week, tomorrow to be exact, will be my first Holiday without my kids home with me. For many, even those closest to me in my life, that is an unfathomable thought. I GET it. It was to me too. From day 1 the kids said they will NEVER go, they will ALWAYS be home, and I said I would NEVER let them. Guess what? They are going tomorrow. Not without a fight, but they are going. And even though a couple of my kids are concerned about me (love them!) I am totally ok because I have learned how to be ALONE.
I have found a way of living, thinking and hopefully teaching my kids that there is ALWAYS a solution. So we now have new traditions as a “party of 5.” Our tree is decorated earlier. Huge bonus! And they are getting TWO Thanksgiving dinners as we are doing ours a day early! But mostly, I hope over time they learn more important lessons. Some being, that when fear sets in, as it did for me AND for them in 2016, severe hurt, anger and hate can change over time. All of those emotions are simply emotions. They are real and when felt they are intense and yes they are damaging. But, they can be “healed” and they can evolve into where we are today and where we are going. One piece is them seeing their mom say you have to go, you have to work on mending YOUR relationship for your long term happiness and emotional health, and I am TRULY ok. They get to see me model self care and self love and forgiveness. Now, I am not saying its easy every day. I am human and I get my buttons pushed. But its such progress and them KNOWING I am ok this week is so very important. For them and yes, for me.
So back to being alone. (Don’t worry, I have invitations, no pity party needed!) Alone is about emotional health. It’s about knowing that I don’t need to always have plans, or an event, or to be on the go. Growth is about being comfortable in your own skin. Mostly its being comfortable with your THOUGHTS. Is it a process? Absolutely! Is it needed to heal? You had better believe it. Other people don’t “complete us.” For the first time in my life I finally am starting to “get” what self love means. And thank goodness because my boys? Well they didn’t see that modeled by either parent at an early age and there is a lot of work to be done there. My daughter? Well she is seeing it so much more and my hope and prayer is this. That they see and learn that they need to love THEMSELVES first and foremost and be ok with “being alone” before jumping into a lifetime commitment with another person. So that original question that prompted this post? While this isn’t about the answer to that, my answer after pondering that for a few days is this. I did NOT have self love back then, I did NOT know what a real relationship should look like, feel like, be like. And in order to love others fully and completely SELF LOVE must come first. I hope to be a role model for my kids in this as they grow. A lot to make up for, but as I love to say (and of course believe) we are all a work in progress. Cheers to learning to be alone!