Is it possible to be alone and not be lonely?
It’s a question I’ve debated many times with my more extroverted friends. I always sort of rolled my eyes when it would come up because of course you can be alone but not lonely!
For me, being alone was always a treat. A reward after a long day at work. Heck, there were few things I enjoyed more than silencing my phone and turning my computer off and enjoying a weekend where I didn’t have to talk to or even see another person.
Reflecting upon the last couple months, I think being alone is a skill many of us (myself included) struggle with. Things are different right now and being alone for 48 hours is nothing compared to being alone for the better part of 2 months.
I’ve noticed I’m getting a lot more emails and messages from pretty much everywhere. It seems a lot of us are starved for connection and struggling to digest all the time we’ve had to spend with ourselves.
Being alone isn’t a bad thing
The first thing we need to adjust when it comes to being ok with being alone is our perspective. Obviously this is easier said than done.
For most of our lives we’re told being alone is a bad thing. We’re conditioned to make friends, foster romantic relationships… sometimes stay in toxic relationships because it’s better than being alone.
Somewhere alone the line, being alone became something negative, something to be feared, something we need to to fight against.
What if we see it as a positive? A chance to escape, a time to reflect and organize our thoughts, a distraction free zone where we don’t have to worry about anyone but ourselves. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
How to be alone and enjoy it
The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself.
1| Get to Know Yourself
When we’re constantly surrounded by other people and the noise of life in general, it’s easy to let ourselves fall to the wayside. We put ourselves in second place, sacrificing our happiness and well being in order to keep others happy, satisfied, or to keep the peace.
As a result, we lose touch with ourselves.
Think of the last time you made a new friend. Chances are there were a few awkward meetings or at least questions before you hit it off and really got comfortable and started getting to know each other. After that, your time together probably became much more enjoyable.
If you want to enjoy being alone, you have to get to know yourself first.
So meditate, journal, enjoy a bottle of wine in quiet contemplation and really get to know yourself.
What is your story? What makes your happy, your favorite childhood memory? Any life altering moments? Why are you the way you are? What do you love most about yourself? What do wish you could change? These are all great questions to start with.
Take it slow. Be gentle and kind to yourself. But objectively get to know yourself and realize that you’re worth knowing and spending time with.
Who knows, you might even realize that the things you dislike most about yourself aren’t so bad after all. Wouldn’t that be great for the self-confidence?
2| Take Yourself on a Date
I’ll be honest, this was a hard one for me. For the most part, I’ve always spent my alone time reading. You all know I run a book blog it takes a lot of time to read the books I recommend.
Books, in some ways, were a crutch for me, as much as I enjoyed my reading-alone time I was never truly comfortable with my own company.
Until the last couple months, I’d never watched a movie, had a glass of wine or even eaten pizza alone. It’s shocking, right! They just weren’t things I ever felt inclined to do.
With that said, any one (or all three) are amazing activities to do on a self date. It’s all about enjoying your own company and doing things that make you happy, what ever those things are.
Even once this is all over, take yourself on a date. Go to the movies, have a nice meals, and end the evening with a walk all by your self. It’ll be fun, I promise.
3| Learn to Love Yourself
This truly is a life changing lesson. Life is very different after you learn to love yourself. Once you realize that you deserve to be treated well and you’re valuable and worthy of love, care and all the good things life has to offer, you stop tolerating a lot of bad and toxic behavior.
When we love ourselves, not only do we expect other to love us but we also love others better. We learn how to treat others with the same care and compassion with which we treat ourselves. That’s a powerful thing.
When push comes to shove, we know that we’re all human, we’re all in this together and deep down we are all just trying to find our joy.
Give yourself a break, learn to celebrate your progress. Look at how far you’ve come not how far you have to go.
Make yourself a priority. Do what you can to avoid toxic interactions and people. Be confident and assertive. Loving yourself includes insisting that people treat you with the dignity and respect your deserve.
Which this is a process and much easier said than done, it’s well worth the time and energy you will need to invest in it.
4| Focus on Personal Growth
Everyday do something that will make you better. It doesn’t matter what that something is, what matters is that you feel good about afterward.
Read a book, do a puzzle, write a poem, start learning a new language, cook supper from scratch, start working out…
There is no shortage of things you can do. Find something that is meaningful to you, something you can actually see yourself doing at some point and go for it.
5|Find your Passion
Ever wanted to paint, go hiking, try writing, blogging or even getting really good at your make up? Take the time to find out. Figure out what makes you happy and do it as much as you can.
The good thing about being alone is you don’t need to worry about failing, try. If you don’t like it, you try something else until you find something that brings you joy.
Passion is what makes the hours outside of work bearable. Find something you enjoy doing and fill your free time with it. In the end, finding joy in activities we perform alone is the key to not being lonely, isn’t it?
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