Becoming happy and comfortable on my own has been a huge focus of mine this past year. While I’ve been pretty independent my whole life, I’ve pretty much always focused on being around people and finding my next opportunity to do so – not always focusing on or enjoying my time alone. While wanting to be around people is definitely a good thing – it’s also important to learn to be happy on your own. And this doesn’t just mean finding things to do when by yourself (which sounds obvious), but learning how to love and embrace it (and seeking out the time to do so, just like you do with friends).
As I was writing this, I was sitting on the lakefront and taking in the beautiful scenery, and it was peaceful and amazing. Looking around, I saw couples everywhere, groups of friends running, and then there was me – walking with my coffee in hand (naturally) and headphones blasting. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with that, I have to admit that I still have moments every once in a while where I get a little anxious – what should I be doing? What’s my plan? Where am I going? That’s partly my personality of not really having a plan (which is great in many respects), but also a part of life that gives me anxiety. But it’s also just a part of being alone, and part of the whole journey.
I love being spontaneous, and doing so brings me many adventures in life. But many of my adventures can also be solo treks where I don’t know my destination half the time. It could be brunch or scheduled plans with friends, but some Sunday’s, it’s an open day and may involve a whole lot of me time. I stay pretty busy, but I do find myself in solo situations quite often, and I’ve learned to love it. Independence is a beautiful thing – and it’s an important thing to embrace.
But let me be the first to tell you, it’s not always easy. I think we’ve all been there, where we feel weird, bored, unsure, or whatever it is while alone, but it really doesn’t have to feel like this. This past year, here are a few things I’ve focused on to start enjoying my alone time more than ever:
- Do things alone that make you feel good. For me, that can be writing, cleaning, exercising, etc., but this could be a whole range of things. It may sound obvious, but sometimes we forget to focus on ourselves when we’re alone and don’t really stop to think what would make us happy in the moment. Whatever it is, find a way to do it. (Something that really helped me with this was a happiness journal I bought from Paper Source; it has been life changing to really dig deep into what really makes me happy/unhappy in life.)
- Have fun with it. This may not come as a shock to people, but sometimes I just put music on and dance in my room, alone. Yes, no one else is in the room and it may sound weird, but it’s seriously so liberating and fun. If you can have fun on your own, it’s only going to make you continue to love your independent time, which can also help you to find love for yourself. Then, being alone becomes less of a chore and more of something you’re excited about.
- Do things that scare you. Sometimes the moments of heightened anxiety help you learn the most. So try a new coffee shop, volunteer at an organization, join a random sports league, go to movies alone; do things that are out of your typical wheelhouse, and I promise it will be a good learning experience and ultimately help in your journey.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being around people and think that’s where I thrive most. But being okay and comfortable when it’s just me, no matter the situation, that’s when I’ve really discovered myself, and found happiness and self love.
So take some time this week to yourself – however that is, whether it’s taking a bath for an hour with no phone, or going on a long walk and listening to music (or, my personal favorite, dancing like a fool in your room). Whatever it is, I challenge you to do it because you want to, not because you have to. 🙂