I don’t mind being spending time alone. In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do and I may or may not be guilty of having canceled things before just to be able to be on my own.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with family and friends. But being a self-proclaimed introvert working in an open office surrounded by people 8+ hours per day, makes me crave that alone time so much more than ever before. And it’s not that I want to, I actually feel the need to be by myself after being around people for too long.
As I’ve said, I suppose that comes from being a huge introvert (INFJ, in case you’re wondering) and painfully shy. When I don’t have a few minutes to myself throughout the day, I feel drained and quite grumpy.
But I know there is a stigma attached to spending time alone. Some people find it very weird or even sad while others feel very anxious and lonely on their own. Even I sometimes wonder, “Shouldn’t I be more social?”, “Why am I so weird?”, “Why can’t I be as social as X?”.
Being Alone & Feeling Lonely
The thing is, being alone is often confused with being lonely, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I can actually feel the loneliest when surrounded by people.
Alone is a fact. You’re on your own, without any other person.
Lonely is how you feel about it. You’re unhappy because you are alone.
You see, being alone and lonely are two different things. They might be correlated sometimes, but are still different.
Yes, I do feel lonely sometimes. As Rebecca says in this blog post, is okay to feel lonely in our twenties (or any other age for that matter). But, for the most part, I am very comfortable being alone and am proud of that because it takes a while to get used to and it is not for everyone.
Nevertheless, I believe learning to enjoy spending time alone is very important. It gives you time to recharge, find your own voice and improve the quality of your relationships with others.
With that being said, here are a few benefits of becoming more comfortable on your own.
7 Benefits Of Spending Time Alone
1. It means time to recharge.
If you’re an introvert, I’m sure you can relate to feeling drained after a full day around people at school or work. And it has nothing to do with being anti-social. Introverts recharge their batteries by spending time alone while extroverts get their energy from socializing. So, for us introverts, quiet time is much needed to recharge. It is almost like a reset button if you will.
2. It’s your opportunity to be selfish.
Writing this makes me feel like a bit egocentric and selfish “uh, I love myself and there’s no one I would want to hang out with more than with myself”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. And being selfish is not always a bad thing.
When you’re alone, you put yourself first. You get to decide what you do and when you do it, without asking for someone else’s opinion. You are in control. That is a way to prove yourself that you’re capable of taking your own decisions, spending time on your own and learning how to be okay with that.
While that may be challenging, I promise you it’s even more rewarding.
3. It’s the perfect time for self-care.
We often feel guilty or selfish for taking the time to ourselves but the truth is that, before we can help others, we need to help ourselves.
Being alone is a great opportunity to do just that. Listen to your mind and body and do something that nurtures both of them.
Make being alone an enjoyable time by practicing self-care and doing things you love, whether that means binge-watching your favorite tv-show with no regrets, grabbing a notebook and writing down your thoughts or having a pamper session.
4. You will learn about yourself.
Once I read somewhere that we are who we truly are when there’s no one watching. I couldn’t relate to it more. I worry so much about what others think of me that I’m not true to myself if I’m feeling uncomfortable around certain people. And when I’m alone, I don’t have to worry about that. I can be myself without judgment.
Spending time alone is a great opportunity for self-discovery, for getting a better understanding of who you are. Have you ever been with your group friends and did something that you probably wouldn’t have done if you were on your own?
When you’re alone, you’re not being influenced by others around you. You are forced to make your own decisions and that helps you find your own voice and appreciate life from your own perspective.
5. It improves the quality of your relationships with others.
As you learn more about yourself by spending time alone, you’ll eventually make better choices about who you want in your life. Being on my own also makes me appreciate my relationships more. As I’ve said, after too much social interaction, I need time alone to recharge so that when I’m with people again I can really appreciate their company.
6. You become more independent.
While it can be daunting to make all the decisions, when you’re alone, you become more independent and reliant on yourself. A lot of times we look outside of ourselves for validation and when you’re on your own, you can’t depend on other people for their opinions. That forces you to listen and trust in yourself.
7. Get out of your comfort zone.
In 2015, I went on my first solo trip to London. I had just graduated university and knew it would be harder to travel once I got a job. Since I had no one to go with me – for either timing or money reasons – I went on my own. While I’m not going to lie and say everything was wonderful, it was a time for self-discovery and an experience that I want to repeat in the future.
While I don’t really mind walking on my own, it’s having meals alone that I’m most scared of. My ego keeps telling me “they must think you’re so sad for eating by yourself”. And that’s ridiculous because when I see other people alone, I don’t feel sad for them.
Anyway, if you’re not comfortable being on your own, don’t jump right into it. Instead, start off slowly with just a few minutes. Put your headphones and go for a walk. Eventually, move on to bigger things. Want to go watch a movie but you’re friends are not up for it? Go by yourself – I’m saying this to myself as I’ve never been to the movies on my own, yet.
It can be terrifying but it is so worthy and empowering.
Spending time alone doesn’t always mean feeling lonely. I believe it is important to learn how to appreciate your own company. And if you enjoy being on your own and have felt weird for it, know that it’s okay.
Do you enjoy spending time on your own?