I have noticed in my life that many people struggle with being alone. It has always been strange to me, even since I was a kid, about 10 years old, I can remember spending hours alone outside exploring or in my bedroom reading a book. I wasn’t being neglected, my parents would check on me every once in a while, and that was enough. I was not a clingy or needy kid and I have never been as an adult either. When I see these needy adults I instantly think, man you must have drove your parents crazy with your inability to be alone. Not all people struggle with this and not all people have had the inability to be alone since childhood, but I would say for most, it started there.
I am a loner in many areas of my life. I don’t like group exercise, I prefer to go for long walks or jogs alone because, first of all, I prefer to listen to an audiobook, pod cast or music and not talk to another human. Second, it just helps me clear my head of my problems and usually when I am talking with others it is problems that get brought up. I also don’t like to work in close quarters with others, I like to have my own office with a do not disturb sign on the door where I can shut myself off from the rest of the world when I am working. I am not a person who needs a lot of supervision, I am easily motivated and good at sticking to timelines and when I am in my zone and being productive, I do not like interruptions. When I get home from a long day I sometimes make plans for dinner and drinks with others, but there are days I just want to go home and be alone. I can decompress by watching Grey’s Anatomy, eating dinner with a glass of wine and then go through my evening routine of before bed, maybe even listen to a meditation. I don’t need conversation because it seems I have constant conversation going on in my own mind and the only way to shut it off it to get myself in a meditative state.
I have a friend who is in her mid-twenties and she thinks I am just weird. She texts me on a regular basis and asks me what I am up to for the evening and I will just tell her I am home and not really feeling like going out. She seems to go out every night of the week and always makes a point to invite me. This friend works just as many hours as I do and yes, there is a 17 year difference in our age and I also have a teenager and go to school on top of my job, but I really do not think any of that is the deciding factor. My friend hates to be alone, she openly admits it, like to the point she is scared to go home to her house sometimes when her husband is out of town. This is just mind blowing to me because I am super excited when I have the house all to myself!
I have a man in my life and he is 10 years older than me. I stay at his place maybe 3 nights a week and he is a lot like me when it comes to being alone. We have a really great relationship that allows for time away from each other to pursue things of interest that may not interest each other. We also are capable of being in the same house, even in the same room, and feel a completely comfortable silence. I have friends who are incapable of this as well. So what makes some people feel this overwhelming need to fill the space between themselves and others, between themselves and silence? What are you really afraid of when you are afraid of being alone? What is the worst case scenario that could occur when you are alone? Are you a person who just needs others to entertain you because you are incapable of entertaining yourself? Maybe you are an extrovert who just thrives on social interaction and it makes you feel good. Then there are those who literally feel thoughts of sadness, neglect, fear and depression if they spend too much time alone….and these individuals are the ones who need to get to the root of the issue.
If you start messaging friends before you get off work to make plans so that you do not have to go home alone and you stay out late so that when you do get home you can just go straight to bed and avoid actually feeling alone, then you need to ask yourself why? When you are alone are you constantly on your phone scrolling through social media, or texting or calling someone to interact with another person? Can you actually be in your own space and watch a movie, read a book, take a bubble bath, or any number of other things and just be comfortable in your own company? I think everyone should practice doing this, not just for a few hours at a time but actually an entire day. I think you need to force yourself to spend an entire day just doing you. Have you ever went to a restaurant and ate lunch or dinner alone? Have you ever ran all kinds of errands or went shopping without someone tagging along? Have you been home all day and not just when you are sick, but just went through making yourself breakfast, watched a little TV, cleaned house, read a book, planted some flowers, cleaned out the fridge….whatever you have been planning to do and just enjoyed a productive day all to yourself? Have you ever taken a trip by yourself, where you were forced to be alone or just interact with total strangers for the day? If you haven’t done these things, then you should. I will tell you, it is a growth process that creates more confidence in yourself.
We are all human and human interaction is necessary for humans to be truly happy. Relationships are definitely the most important thing we will ever have in our lives. However, when it comes to relationships, the most important one you will ever have is the one you will have with yourself. Cultivate that relationship, ask yourself the hard questions when it comes to your fears, habits, and needs. Force yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit by doing more things on your own and allowing yourself to just depend on yourself. Being alone is not a bad thing, it is freedom, a time to heal, a time to grow, creates independence, encourages productivity and creativity, a time to reflect, contemplate, brainstorm, and just give yourself some love instead of everyone else. Embrace being alone.
With love, health, happiness, and a little alone time,