As an only child, I was happy to spend time alone - 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. And I found myself spending the majority of my spare moments with friends.
We have a natural tendency to seek companionship, to share our time and the things we love with people. At that stage of my life, having a strong core group of friends made me feel better about myself. Not to digress, but it is important to have a solid network of people you can depend on to share your burdens, heartaches and challenges.
I remember becoming used to having this emotional support from the people around me - to cheer me on, pick me up and 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 that 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 shouldn’t be dependent on what other people’s opinions are of us. Being comfortable with ourselves needs to come from within.
Therefore, learning to spend time alone 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:
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?
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 spend time alone and love your own company.
A lot of times, we may feel that we need to provide companionship, support and help to those we love. However, it’s also important that we put ourselves first. Only when we devote time and energy to looking after ourselves can we have more to give others when they need us to be there.
Be inspired, invigorated and rejuvenated by doing things on your own. It could be 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! Find the things that you love doing and enjoy doing them with yourself for company.
No one understands us better than we do. So why should 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.
As a creative, I’ve always loved exploring different avenues. When I realized the need to spend more time alone, I took some time off and 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.
This isn’t something that’s going to be easy. In fact, it’s going to be something that you need to get used to. I’m not going to lie but there will be days where you feel the weight of loneliness. But know this - these feelings pass with time. For the most part, you will learn to be content to be on your own, independent and free.