Learning how to be alone

Part of being an adult is learning how to be alone. This is an important skill to learn. Your parents aren’t wherever you are to catch you when you fall. Friends have responsibilities. You’ll have to do things on your own, and you want actually enjoy your time by yourself.

This may be a hard for women. We are told not to be alone. We are taught not to go out in public without a group of friends, family, or a male. We are expected to feel ashamed when we are alone, especially in public.

Learn how to be yourself with yourself. Crack jokes and try to entertain yourself. Make a list of little things that make you happy in your mind. Go over in your head dramatic scenes in your life and try to add a comedic twist to them. (It probably won’t be that hard, dramatic scenes from middle school or high school often seem ridiculous in retrospect). In learning about how to laugh at those memories, you are able to cope with disappoints. It teaches you that every moment is just an experience in your life.

Learn to be with your thoughts. Sometimes we like to be around people or do something to distract ourselves. Your mind can be a scary place, but it is useful to learn how to sit with your thoughts without them tearing you apart. Try to think positively. Give yourself compliments.

Learn about yourself. Once you are able to sit with your thoughts without a distraction, you are free to get to know yourself better. Especially in a group setting, we tend to lose our true selves. Even when we are in the presence of someone else, we subconsciously mimic the other person and adapt our personalities to be more likable. Let your thoughts roam wherever they may go. Imagine this as a do-over or a reintroduction of sorts. How would you describe yourself if you were meeting yourself for the first time? What do you wish to get out of life?

Learn to do the things that you like. Being with friends sometimes means compromise. Although you are alone and it would normally be seen as a negative thing, twist it into something positive. Now you can do whatever you’d like, within the realm of sanity. You can eat at the new Moroccan place that none of your friends want to try. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

Learn to entertain yourself. Boredom creeping in could put a damper on your time with yourself. Boredom can make you want to reach for your phone and browse Facebook endlessly. Be a friend to yourself. And a good friend would never ignore you for hours as they stared blankly at their phone.

Learn to be OK with being alone in public for hours. There is only one person with you 24/7: yourself. There will be moments all your life where you will mainly be alone. This is not a cause for concern. Once you are able to eat alone in a crowded restaurant, you can take on anything by yourself. Find strength in solitude.

You may seem mysterious and people may stare. Let them. They don’t know your story so they can speculate all they want. You can just smile to yourself knowing that any assumption they made in their head was probably less interesting than your truth. You will always be a mystery to them and you will harness that power. Hold your head high and be confident.

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