This post isn’t an analysis of how being alone is different than feeling lonely. I trust you’re smart enough to know the difference. It’s a post to encourage you to take a step back and assess your beliefs about being alone.
Spending time alone is critical. It’s time to reflect, clear your mind, gather your thoughts, and create space.
Why might you be avoiding spending time alone? Well, for a few reasons:
1. You’re avoiding something.
Mainly, you’re emotions. Spending time along means you’re on your own with your thoughts and feelings. This can be scary!
2. You lack confidence.
Somehow you’ve convinced yourself that you’re incapable of doing things on your own. Perhaps you’re in a co-dependent relationship that enables you to NOT grow. This can crush your confidence.
3. You need external validation.
You want others to tell you your decisions are “right.” You avoid spending time alone because people’s judgement of what you’re doing has a huge impact on you.
4. You seek guidance.
It’s easy to take direction from others. But when you do this, you let other sit in the driver seat of your life. You seek external guidance rather than trusting your own inner compass.
If any of these reasons resonate with you, it’s time to practice spending time alone. Here’s how:
1. Celebrate small victories alone.
Yes! It may sounds strange but there are certain moments in life that must be celebrated alone. In fact, embracing these victories by yourself makes them that much more bittersweet. If this sounds strange to you, ask yourself WHY you feel everyone needs to know about your success. Chances are you’re someone that seeks validation (see reason 3 above).
2. Step into the unknown alone.
We all have to do this at points in our lives. If you can’t remember the last time you did something “scary” alone – i.e. took a leap of faith, tried something new, challenged yourself – it’s time to make this your intention. This is where major personal growth happens.
3. Enjoy special moments alone.
Put down the camera. Leave your iPhone at home. Step away from social media. When you’re alone, you have an opportunity to close your eyes, tap into your senses, and fully embrace the moment you’re experiencing. This is especially powerful when you’re spending time in nature – but you can create these moments anywhere, like when you’re sitting on a park bench or eating lunch alone at a cafe in a bustling city. Take it all in.
4. Wander alone.
Explore new places. Try new things. Travel without a plan. If you haven’t wandered on your own, you’re missing out. It completely changes the experience. You show up differently when you have nobody else to focus on but you and the moment. You notice different things and attract in different people and situations. Try it.
And of course, spending time alone is the cornerstone of a Daily Practice – so that’s always an excellent place to start!
So, are you afraid to be alone?