Being alone. It's not necessarily a fan favorite. Most of the time, it's dreaded. However, I'm a supporter of being alone. Why you ask? There's a common misconception that being alone is a bad thing. Most believe that being alone and isolated causes depression and sadness. Yes, that belief can be true in some cases, but that is called being lonely. The word, lonely has such a negative connotation. We always associate it with negativity. For the sake of this post, I decided to look up the definition of lonely so that we can assess loneliness. 

According to Merriam Webster, the definition of lonely is: 
1) sad from being apart from other people
2) causing sad feelings that come from being apart from other people
3) not visited by or traveled on by many people

While these are all accurate definitions, I think that we commonly mistake being alone for loneliness. The truth is that the only similarity between being lonely and being alone in terms of definition is the third definition of lonely. Not visited by or traveled on by many people. The first and the second can be forms of being alone, but they're not consistently accurate. Maybe in some cases you feel those sad emotions, but it doesn't mean that whenever you're alone, you immediately feel an overwhelming wave of sadness. So are loneliness and being alone the same? My answer to that is that they are absolutely different. Being alone and being lonely can intertwine at times, but I want to focus on the ways that they are different, because these traits are often overlooked. There are so many ways that you can be alone and not be lonely, it all comes down to a certain art. 


The art of being alone is an acquired trait, one that takes time and patience to gain, just like any other skill. It takes practice. However, this is a unique trait in the form that it can never be mastered. No matter how much you try, you'll never be able to not feel loneliness. It's inevitable. However, I believe that we should make the best of every situation and that's exactly what I'm going to do. Although no one can master the art of being alone, but not lonely, I'm going to get as close as possible. Just because something is impossible, doesn't mean that you shouldn't try. I strive for more happy alone time and less loneliness. Even if there's no guarantee that I'll never experience loneliness again, there's still nothing that I wouldn't do to experience it less. So let's get to it. How can you acquire the art of being alone? The main answer to this is self-love.


How do I Find Happiness in Being Alone?


The thing about being alone is that you're not truly alone. You always have yourself. I think that the best and most effective way to stop feeling lonely to to embrace yourself. You are your own best friend, whether you like it or not. At the end of the day, no matter how many people you once surrounded yourself, you're just going to be left with yourself. You can't run or hide from yourself, so why bother? The best thing that you can do is learn to love yourself, even if it is a Justin Bieber song title. 
Think of it this way, if you don't want to spend time with yourself, then why would anyone want to spend time with you? Learning to be happy when you're alone comes with enjoying your own company. I personally love spending time with myself because I can be free. Often when you're spending time with others, you're constantly worried about what they think about you and how they perceive you, which is something that I'm hyper-aware of. When I'm alone, I feel like I'm free of judgment. I don't have to worry about anyone else's feelings or opinions, only mine. 
The great thing about being alone is that you can be selfish. I can do what I want and not have to worry about what others might prefer or have to make compromises on what to do. I can take my time doing the things that I love, not doing what someone else might love. Being alone is all about me, and me only. And I love that, because sometimes it's okay to be a little selfish, it's a part of self-love, putting yourself first. When you're alone, you're able to blossom and grow, work on yourself. 


What do I do when I'm alone?

When in public, this is the age old question. The immediate response is, "TAKE OUT YOUR PHONE AND LOOK BUSY!" I get it, I've done that a million times. When you're alone and in public, it can often be a little awkward. Do you people watch? Do you pretend that you're waiting for someone? Do you act like you're busy and you actually have a social life?  Or is it all of the above? I've experienced my fair share of awkward moments where I've been pretending to be busy, when in reality, I just felt awkward being alone. I think that the best way to combat this awkward uneasiness with being alone is confidence. 
Obviously, confidence is so difficult to attain, but it can branch from self-love, which I previously mentioned. When you learn to love yourself and appreciate all your qualities, the good and the bad, you learn to be okay with being alone and dealing with how people perceive you. The best thing that you can do is keep your head up and smile. Maybe everyone around you is surrounded by their friends or they look busy, but as long as you have trust in who you are, confidence with yourself, you will be able to ignore all of that. The best thing that you can do in order to feel more confident is to just fake it. Stand up straight and tall, radiate self-love, dress nicely, anything that makes you feel just a tiny bit more confident. When you're alone, as long as you have self-love and confidence, you'll be untouchable. Don't let it bother you if it's a little bit awkward to be alone, as long as you feel great, that is all that matters.
In terms of how you can boost your self-confidence and love for yourself, I suggest a party for one. (I have tons of ideas for what you can do at a party for one by yourself here!) Take yourself out on a date, go for a shopping trip, take a walk, head to your favorite coffee shop, anything. The thing about the art of being alone is that it takes practice. You know what they say, practice makes perfect, and this is no exception. Spend some time by yourself, whether it's at home or in public (in public is a bit better for stepping out of your comfort zone) and learn to enjoy some alone time. Learn to ignore those awkward alone moments and learn to be a little selfish on your own time.

How do I deal with loneliness?

While practicing the art of being alone, you're bound to hit some road blocks and experience loneliness, which is completely natural. So how do you deal with it when you happen to run into it?
When it gets tough and you do feel lonely, it's natural to want to fill that empty space. However, this can in some cases be worse. It's where you pull in what I call "filler friends," people that you wouldn't necessarily spend time with unless you had no better alternatives. While this sounds harsh to your companions, the hard truth is that sometimes we spend time with people just for the sake of not wanting to be alone, fearing loneliness. Everyone does this. Sometimes you're the one with filler friends and sometimes you are the filler friend. You can either choose to seek new friends when dealing with loneliness (but beware of latching onto filler friends) or you can practice self-love. I personally try to avoid filling loneliness with new people because they generally tend to be filler friends, not genuine friends that I want to spend time with. I like to take this road block and turn it to my benefit so that I can improve my self-love.
Self-love isn't just about loving yourself, but it's also about doing things for yourself, it involves self-care. It's putting your happiness and well-being first. You can deal with loneliness by finding solace in the things that you love and investing your time into self-care. Binge-watch on Netflix, work on your passion project, eat all the food, do things that you enjoy. The best way to fill loneliness is by doing something that makes you happy. Treat yourself to a day at the spa or buy that top that you've totally been eyeing. Have a self-love day or a "me" day. Indulge in the things that you love so that you're not lonely anymore, you're enjoying spending time with yourself. The answer to loneliness is restarting the cycle, trying harder to perfect the art of being alone. Be selfish, be your own best friend, be the kind of person that you love.

At times, being alone may intertwine with being lonely, like when you hit a road block or you're still working on the art of being alone. It's easy to fall through the cracks and feel sad because there's no one around, but it's not something that we have to let drag us down. Although we commonly mistake being alone for being lonely, it doesn't have to be that way. We can change it. It may have a negative connotation now, but it doesn't have to be that way forever. Let's paint a new picture of being alone. One where you can be free, you can be a little bit selfish, and you can do everything that you want to do. The art of being alone may start with self-love, but one of the first things that you can do to get on the road to practicing this art is looking upon the journey positively. Stop thinking of alone as being lonely and start seeing it as an opportunity. An opportunity to spend more time with yourself, love yourself, cherish yourself.

self-love, self-care, alone, lonely, loneliness


1 comment:

  1. Loved reading your thoughts and I must say this is such a great topic, thanks for sharing :)

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    Tamara xxx

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