I recently saw a Facebook friend post a status about people not liking to do the same things he likes to do. Which ultimately led to him commenting that he is never alone and when he said it, I thought, “how sad.”
I know that it is human nature to want to be with people, to be a part of a community, but I think there should be a healthy balance between the two. I’m not suggesting that we should isolate ourselves and never be with others. I think going to the extreme in either direction is unhealthy.
I spent a large portion of my life with people. I had kids young. So even when I wasn’t with other adults, I was with my children. The only alone time I got was sleeping and showering and even that was not a guarantee.
As my children got older and more independent, I too, was able to gain more independence from people. I learned to enjoy doing things by myself. I think it came about because I have very diverse and eclectic tastes in pretty much everything. So if I had a boyfriend and I wanted to do something, there was a very good chance, he wouldn’t be into it. If I wanted to take my kids to do something, as they got older, they started opting out. Friends were busy or not interested. So the problem arose, do I skip whatever it is I wanted to do or do I go do it alone.
In the beginning, I missed out on a lot of stuff. And I would see pictures from events I wanted to go to and I would regret not just going by myself. So I started going alone. And something inside me shifted. I felt more at peace. I felt happier. I felt healthier. And I was content with being by myself.
When this guy told me he would never be alone, he followed it up with, “wanna bet?” And I’m sure I’ll know him for a long time to come, but I decided not to take the bet. Instead, I decided to write this blog on my thoughts on the subject, since it was way too long for a facebook comment.
The more time I’ve spent alone, the less I care about the opinion of others. I have had ample time to take a look at myself and my life. I’ve had time to stop relying on other people to love me and my life and I have learned to love me and my life.
And when I am alone is when I am most creative. When I am silent in nature or taking a long drive with nothing but my thoughts, I find my muse is actively engaging me to come play. And I think it’s worth noting that just because you are by yourself, it doesn’t mean you are alone if you are using distraction to make you feel like you are busy and still keeping up with friends by using your phone to do all the social media things. Even listening to music is a distraction. I always make sure to turn the radio down occasionally so I don’t have anything to listen to but my own thoughts.
Because when it is just you and your thoughts, that is the time that you are able to practice adjusting your thoughts and your frame of mind. Mindset can’t be readjusted when you always have something playing in your ears. Unless, of course, you are listening to guided meditation. Then it can.
When you get to know yourself, you get to know what’s important to you. You start to value yourself. You start to see when you are being taken advantage of or when you really aren’t happy in a situation and you can use your quiet time to figure out how to resolve your situation. I think if I hadn’t learned how to spend time alone and learn how to quiet my mind, I would still be stuck in my old pattern of dating sociopaths and people who need to be fixed. I think it was my alone time that got me over that hump.
Not to mention, learning how to be alone is a great way to lower your stress and anxiety levels. I typically do not function in a high-stress way. I do, however, battle with anxiety in certain situations and being alone helps me center myself and brings me back down to my place of calm.
And even if you are a social butterfly, when you go to places alone, it seems the world finds you more approachable. I’ve met so many people while flying solo I cannot even begin to count them.
So, while I agree that being surrounded by friends is fun and also necessary, I would encourage you to take some time and learn how to be alone, which I do not want you to confuse with being lonely. Being lonely is not healthy either and can lead to all kinds of other issues like depression, self-harm, and suicide if I’m listing the worst of the worst.
So maybe put your phone down, turn the radio off, go for a walk alone and get to know yourself.