I used to hate being alone. I used to think being alone meant I was a loser. I remember crying to my mother one Friday night about how everyone I knew was out with friends and I was at home alone, weekend after weekend. During the school day it felt like I had friends. There was always someone to talk to or have lunch with, but after school and on weekends I was all but forgotten. I wasn’t asked to join anyone at all the cool things that went on after school. In truth, I didn’t want to go to parties most of the time, but I DID want to be invited! I wanted to have options other than staying home alone.
But alone I was. Little did I know then that even the most popular kids in my grade were often alone too; our mothers talked. They had cried on Friday nights too. We all were terrified to be alone, and we all thought that everyone else was with friends ALL THE TIME. I know now that being alone sometimes is a part of life for everyone.
And do you know what? I’ve learned to absolutely love being alone.
Being alone means we get to know ourselves without having to worry about what anyone else thinks. It means we can really think about how we feel, what we believe in and who we want to be, all without being judged. It means we become more creative about having fun. It also means getting to know the one person who will always be in your life no matter what – and that person is you!
When you like being alone, it doesn’t seem as important to hang out with people whose values differ from yours. You don’t have to try to be accepted by the popular kids. If you don’t mind spending time alone, you won’t feel pressured to go out with that annoying guy who keeps bothering you. When you’re OK with being on your own, you don’t have to hang out with people just for something to do. You will hang out with people because you want to, not because you need to.\
What’s really funny is that when you enjoy your own company other people want to be around you; it’s one of life’s biggest secrets!
Here are some fun things you can do to start practicing being alone and enjoying it:
1. Journal! This is the very best way to communicate with yourself. It will help you become your own best friend. (See article: Meet Your New BFF on this site!)
2. Sing or dance to your favorite music in a totally ridiculous way that would embarrass you if anyone peeked in.
3. Go for walks and forage for interesting things along the way. Explore.
4. Pick something you’ve always wanted to learn about and find as many articles, books or videos about that subject as you can.
5. Pamper yourself! This could be taking a bubble bath, doing yoga, painting your nails or engaging in any activity that gives you joy. Give yourself special treatment. You deserve it!
One of my favorite websites, Humans of New York, posted a photo once of a man dressed up really nicely and eating a picnic lunch in Central Park.
“It’s Julia Childs’ birthday,” he said. “I made eggplant soup and I’m eating it to celebrate.”
“Are you eating it alone?” asked the photographer.
“Of course I am!” the man replied. “I’m fabulous.”
Repeat after me:
Am I alone? Of course I am! I’m fabulous.