As an only child, I was happy to spend time on my own - mindful, content and confident in my own skin. I loved books, drawing and just observing the world around me.
However, by the time I was in university, meeting new friends, going out to parties or dinners became my life and a priority. I found myself spending the majority of my spare moments with friends and my boyfriend at the time.
I became used to having this emotional support from the people around me, to cheer me on, to pick me up, to reassure me that everything was ok. This became the source of my confidence and I ended up craving this ego boost whenever I felt lonely.
At this stage of my life, having a strong core group of friends made me feel better about myself. And sometimes, it is really important to have a solid network of people you can depend on to share your burdens, heartaches and challenges.
We have a natural tendency to seek companionship, to share our time and the things we love with people. However, this becomes unhealthy when companionship is used as a distraction out of fear of being alone.
Over time, I formed a habit of looking outside of myself to seek confirmation to know that I was enough. At this point in my life, it seemed so much easier to get this validation from others than it was to find it within myself.
But when it comes to self confidence, it should not be dependent on what other's opinions are of us. Being comfortable with ourselves needs to come from us.
Therefore, learning to enjoy the time we have to ourselves is important. It gives us time to reflect, sit with our feelings, tap into our intuition and rest. It also gives us time to do what we really want to do - such as our hobbies, cooking, going for walks, or going to a yoga class. Read my post on 50 Things To Do Alone for some creative ideas!
Here are a few tips I have learnt so far in my journey to become more comfortable in my own world.
Don't devote all your spare time to spending it with other people.
Whenever you feel an unhealthy need to surround yourself with your friends, family or partner. Take a step back and ask yourself why it is that you feel this. Are you reaching out because you need others propping you up to feel better? Or do you seek to connect and bring joy into their lives?
Carve out time to be in your space every day.
I wrote a blog post on Being Here Now, which is about dedicating time for yourself to sit in stillness. Whether you spend your time meditating or do other activities you enjoy, make the choice to love your own company.
A lot of the time, we may feel that we need to provide companionship, support and help to those we love. However, it is also important that we put ourselves first. If we devote time and energy to looking after ourselves, we have more to give to others when they need us to be there.
Do all the things you love doing, and enjoy doing on your own.
Be inspired, invigorated and rejuvenated by doing things on your own. It could sitting under a tree and reading for the afternoon, making a beautiful dinner, or taking yourself out to the movies! Go out and explore, experience and discover this for yourself!
Seek reassurance from yourself.
No one understands us better than we do, so why do we constantly look outside, to others to get their perspectives on how we should live our lives? By prioritising ourselves, we strengthen our relationship with ourselves. Look to become your own cheering squad and stop the negative self talk.
Over the last 18 months, I let go of the need to surround myself with people whenever I felt isolated. I balanced this with seeing my friends and family, but it now comes from a genuine desire to connect.
In truth, It is still something that I am getting use to. There are still days where I feel the weight of loneliness, but I know that these feelings pass with time. But, for the most part, I am content to be on my own, independent and free.