“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal.
Being alone doesn’t mean you are lonely.
Most of us are constantly surrounded by people, whether you live in an urban environment or if you’re in a relationship, work at a social company, or exist in the digital world of social media.
But sometimes we crave time away from everyone, or we may end up in a situation where we are involuntarily spending a lot more time on our own – whether that’s because of a breakup or moving to a new city.
It is imperative to learn how to enjoy your own company because like it or not, you’re stuck with yourself for the rest of your life.
When you start to feel lonely, it can help to think about all the things you can do with no one else around. You can talk to yourself, you can watch a sad movie and sob your heart out, you can dance in the kitchen naked, you can be as messy and as gross as you like and no one will be there to judge you!
Get to know yourself
Psychologist and author Wayne Dyer says, “You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.” You might find out that you like yourself a lot. If not, you’ll know why, and by being alone, you give yourself the opportunity to work on it.
How can you really know yourself if you have never really spent time with yourself?
How can you know how YOU will react to something, how YOU would spend your day, how YOU would process a big decision without the influence and perspective of someone else?
Do things YOU love doing
Go for a surf, practice yoga, take a long walk, go camping alone, swim in the ocean or cook a delicious meal.
Traveling and exploring by yourself, for instance, is one of the best things you can do alone and can be the most rewarding for personal growth. You’re put into situations where you cannot rely on anyone else and you may find yourself out of your comfort zone, or experiencing things you thought you never would without anyone else’s support or opinion or mood to influence your experience.
Solitude is also the best time to get things done. You can be the most productive on your own with no distractions, so if you have a project you’ve been wanting to start on, or an idea brewing in the back of your mind, being alone is the perfect time to work on it!
Have a creative project
Creativity is often found in the mists of solitude.
Ideas for creative personal projects include:
- writing music;
- planting a veggie garden;
- building furniture;
- knitting or crocheting a throw or scarf;
- making scented candles;
It’s okay to be reflective and even sad when alone
It is often a perfect time to be alone when you’re in a mood, as we tend to get irritated and take out how we’re feeling on others.
An article on Lifehacker, Why Bad Moods are Good For You, explains that bad moods are actually an essential part of the normal range of moods we regularly experience.
“We should recognise they are normal, and even a useful and adaptive part of being human, helping us cope with many everyday situations and challenges. Psychologists who study how our feelings and behaviours have evolved over time maintain all our affective states (such as moods and emotions) have a useful role: they alert us to states of the world we need to respond to.”
Reflection is vital for us to be able learn from the past. If we don’t reflect on something negative that happened, we can’t know how to change it, and if we don’t reflect on something great that happened, we are not as satisfied or as grateful as we probably should be. Reflection also allows you to welcome new ideas and thoughts and is critical for self-improvement.
Take a break from social media
Social media often feeds us this world where everyone is living a ‘perfect’ life, constantly having fun, going out, being social and traveling the world. It’s amazing to be inspired and motivated by these beautiful photos and posts, but it can have you comparing your life to everyone else’s. You may suffer from serious FOMO (fear of missing out) when you see your friends constantly socialising, but the reality is they need their down time too. You can’t say yes to everything and be surrounded by people 24/7, or you won’t have time to reflect, adjust and grow.
Give yourself transition time
Whether you have just had a break up and separated from an ex, moved into a new place by yourself, moved to a new city, a new job or you have come home from a big, life changing adventure, you need to give yourself time to adjust to a new environment, and allow yourself time to grieve the loss of a past time.
Acknowledge the times you crave your own space
Try to be more aware of the times you are getting irritated with someone or a situation, as this could be a sign you just need to be with you for a little while. Plan something to do alone, whether that is just going out for a walk or sitting in a park reading a good book. It could simply be taking a bath and locking the world out for a bit of breathing space. Acknowledging this feeling of wanting some ‘you’ time is vital to be able to step back from a situation and gain some perspective.