There is a saying that goes something along the lines of ‘You must love yourself first before you can love someone else.’ Similarly, I personally believe that you must be comfortable and happy in your own company before you can truly be yourself in the company of others. There is a massive difference between being lonely and being alone. Loneliness is a horrible feeling. However, you don’t have to actually be alone to feel that way. Many times, I’ve felt lonely when surrounded by a big group of people. In contrast, being alone can actually be a blessing, particularly when you’ve actively chosen it.
I’m very introverted and I like spending time alone. I don’t merely enjoy it – I need it. Spending time with other people is of course fun too, but it exhausts me, and I need plenty of time to recharge my batteries by just being by myself. But being alone is not only for introverts – I really think that everyone, even the most extroverted of extroverts, can benefit from spending time by themselves.
You are the only person with whom you’ll spend every second of your life with. Whether you prefer it or not, you will end up spending quite a lot of time alone so you might as well learn to enjoy it. I know some people are afraid of being judged if they, for example, go into town, to a museum, or to the movies by themselves. I’ve had that feeling at times too. But then I started thinking – would I judge someone who I saw walking around by themselves? Probably not. So I’d say chances are high that no one is judging you. They might even think you’re pretty cool.
If you find yourself alone and feeling lonely, try to come up with something fun to do.
Being bored and alone is dangerous, in my experience, and can easily lead to that dreaded feeling of loneliness. The trick is to be active. Get outside, stretch your legs, do something cultural, buy yourself something yummy to eat or something pretty to wear. Write, read, draw, listen to music. Experience things fully, without your attention being partly on other people.
One major benefit of spending the day alone is that you don’t have to take anyone else into consideration and can do whatever you please. Can’t be bothered with one part of the museum, but prefer dawdling for ages in another? No one is going to mind. Would you rather skip that one store that your best friend loves, but spend hours in another? Go ahead. Do you feel like eating now and not later? Just do it; you and your tummy don’t have to think about anyone else.
You’ll get to know yourself so much better.
Spending time alone with your thoughts might seem frightening to some, but having time to mull things over in peace will allow you to learn more about yourself, your tastes, and your interests. Perhaps you only do certain things because your friends like it and avoid doing other things because your friends don’t enjoy them? As you get to know yourself, you will also grow more comfortable with who you are, and you will in turn become more confident. You will stop caring about what people think and become more at peace in your own skin, which will most likely make you a more relaxed, fun person to be with. It’s a win-win situation, really.
Spending time alone also allows you to more efficiently take care of problems, as you’re not as distracted, and lets you unwind. And then, when it’s time to be social and meet up with your friends, you will be fully there, because you won’t have too much other stuff floating around on in your mind. Having been alone for a bit, you will also appreciate your friends’ company more and chances are your time spent together will be more worthwhile.
So go on. Dare to be alone. Spend quality time with yourself. Be your own best friend.