Recently, I’ve had a few friends and followers ask me to share some tips or advice on battling loneliness and how to be alone. I’ve had coworkers and friends commend me on my healthy ability to spend multiple nights completely alone in my studio and while I appreciate the kind words, I truly believe that being alone should be second nature to us all – but sadly, it’s not. Not even for me.
It was only until recently that I’ve come to terms with being alone. I still struggle with it sometimes. It’s not a perfect science by any means. Growing up, I was raised to believe that if you were alone on a weekend, or a night where you could be out “having fun” with friends, you were sad. A loser. So, I’ve always had a hard time spending time with myself. I made excuses and avoided it by calling a friend to hang out instead, or going out and being miserable because I wasn’t listening to myself – I needed to be at home, alone.
Sitting with yourself – flaws and all – is incredibly difficult. But we must. We have to do this for ourselves, because in time, I’ve realized I prefer it. Once you cross the scary, oh my god, I’m so pathetic for being home alone on a Saturday night mindset, it becomes apparent that you enjoy being alone. I love hanging out with myself – I’m actually pretty fun. We all need to come to this realization that we need ourselves – not anyone else.
Here are a few tips that I’ve learned on being alone and battling loneliness:
I’ve learned that when I’m completely alone in my studio, being somewhat busy helps my mind to distract from any negative, anxious thoughts. Come up with a small checklist with tasks like: clean your room/space, wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, make my bed, go for a walk, make myself dinner, etc. These are very simple tasks, but once you hunker down and get them done, you’ll feel majorly accomplished and productive – plus, you’ll have a nice, clean space all to yourself, that’s always exciting!
Go Easy on Yourself
The act of being alone is really difficult for people who aren’t used to it. For myself, it took awhile for me to adjust and I actually didn’t even do it at first. In the very beginning, if you find yourself getting too anxious or even having a panic attack at the thought – call a friend to come over and be with you, or go to their house. Things like this don’t happen overnight, take it a day at a time. You’re not a failure for it, you’re just listening to yourself. The next time, you might be more able to accomplish being alone.
Alone vs. Lonely
Know the difference between these two crucial words. The act of being alone can be extremely freeing, and I’m even coming to learn, necessary for growth and self discovery. Being lonely can happen anywhere. You can be surrounded by all your “friends” or even a partner and feel utterly lonely. It’s like Rupi Kaur’s poem always says,
When we get these intense feelings of being lonely, it’s usually always a sign we are in serious need of looking within. Of giving ourselves the right amount of attention. Sometimes, it takes a certain amount of pain and heartbreak to become self aware. To know when you need to be alone and when you want to go out with close friends and feel their company. There’s nothing wrong with wanting company and loved ones around – we are human that’s instinct. But, knowing the difference between healthy want and a need that calls for a closer look at your emotions and mental health is key.
Now, this may seem like a harsh statement, but there’s a reason for it. When you’re in the realm of feeling such intense loneliness, it’s a mistake to jump into the dating world. Most people use dating as an excuse not to sit with their feelings. It’s like the poet Kiana Azizian says,
I’m incredibly guilty of this. A little over a year ago, I was this person that jumped from Tinder to OkCupid to Bumble, scrolling and swiping for the next guy who could fill the lonely void I had. Did it work? Absolutely not.
It takes a certain amount of strength to reject the idea of dating and staying alone – by yourself. Making a choice to be single goes against every ideal that we as women are taught. Find a good man, fall in love, get married, raise a family. Well, what if all that isn’t what will make you happy right now? What if you need time alone? What if you need to fall in love with yourself instead?
It’s a difficult decision to make, but it’s one worth trying. Learning to be alone with yourself and going through the trials of online dating just doesn’t add up. In order to battle loneliness and successfully being alone – you need to actually be alone. This way, when the time does come – and it will come – for the right match to enter your life, you’ll be ready. You’ll know what you deserve because you’ve been giving it to yourself all this time.
I have a close friend who tells me that it’s essential to know the difference between wanting and needing someone in your life. When you’ve spent time on your own, getting to know and loving yourself – you will never need a person. You have you. You’ll want someone to share your life with, someone worthy of entering the wonderful world you’ve created and built for yourself, but you won’t need it for your own self worth.
Spend a night in with yourself – you might actually like it.
Do you struggle with being alone? Share how you battle loneliness in the comments below.