“Sometimes, you need to be alone. Not to be lonely, but to enjoy your free time being yourself.” ~Unknown
First, let’s be clear, being alone is different than feeling lonely. It is possible to feel isolated and lonely, but you don’t have to be. All it comes down to what meaning you give that moment.
In my twenties being alone was something so triggering that I would find any distractions I could come up with to avoid it: partying, unhealthy relationships, constantly being on the go and busy… Being alone meant not being good enough—not good enough to have friends, not good enough to be in a relationship, not good enough to be loved…
I have learned over the years to truly enjoy my own company and now find being alone rejuvenating—most of the time. However, the isolation and disconnection that we all have experienced in recent years has brought back the old familiar, uncomfortable feeling of being alone on some occasions.
Even if you’ve gotten to a point where you enjoy being alone most of the time, solitude can trigger some discomfort. Let’s explore ways to stop the mind from creating unnecessary pain, and learn how to enjoy being alone in those triggering moments.
1. These feelings should be respected
Listen to your body. As soon as you feel that a situation triggers difficult emotions (sadness, discomfort, anxiety…), take a breath and observe what the trigger was.
Perhaps you returned from work and found your apartment empty. Perhaps you were a part of a happy couple who lived on the streets. Perhaps you were on social media, and you saw happy families coming together for the holidays.
2. Don’t distract yourself.
Stop and take a deep breath. You might open the refrigerator and go to eat. Or you may prefer to scroll through social media on your phone. Maybe alcohol or TV is what you use to numb yourself.
Take a moment to pause.
You can take a deep breath. Take two. Oder three.
Be confident that you are capable of handling the emotions.
Observe the emotions’ flow, the movement of energy, with no resistance. With curiosity and compassion, observe the sensations in your body. They are located where? Are they a particular texture? Is there a particular type of feeling? Tightness? Contraction? Sweating? You feel your heart beat faster
4. Be aware of the thoughts that can make your feeling worse.
Notice where your thoughts go.
You might think that being alone equals being miserable.
Maybe you think being alone means “nobody loves me.”
You might think that being alone means being an failure, or being a burden.
Maybe you think being alone means “I will always be alone.”
As I stated before, my perception of being in a group was that it meant I wasn’t enough.
All our beliefs come from what we’ve experienced or learned in the past. Your grandmother might have been seen as an individual and a burden, because everybody had to care for her. Perhaps your family was very social and outgoing. Being alone could be seen as a loss.
Perhaps your expectations stem from society’s culture, which expects you to marry and have children. If this is the case, then you may feel disappointed, or think that others are.
Maybe it’s the optics that bother you most. “What would people think if I spend New Year’s Eve alone? What would people think if I am not married by thirty-five?”
5. You can redefine what it means to be alone.
When you are aware of the detrimental effects that these beliefs have on your mental and physical health, it is time to give yourself permission for new beliefs.
These beliefs are true? These beliefs are a product of the mind and society you live in. Do you think those structures serve you well? Are you a single person who’s happy and independent? Do you know someone who chose to be alone for New Year’s Eve and enjoyed it? Is there anyone in your circle of friends that is happy and independent? Don’t you long sometimes to be alone, quiet, at peace
Do you want to give up on those beliefs? You can take a deep, exhale and declare your beliefs gone. Imagine them disappearing as you inhale.
Perhaps you can reframe the concept of being alone to be free. You can do whatever you wish, whenever you like. Being alone can be a sign of being independent and strong.
Being alone could be defined as being peaceful and quiet. You might simply need to take some time for yourself and relax.
Truth is, you only have the meaning that you give it. Choose a stronger belief. Choose a belief that will serve you now, and right now.
6. Do more things that will energize you.
Now that you’re not attaching a meaning to being alone, learn to enjoy your own company by doing things you love to do, on your own.
- Get out and take a walk through the woods. Nature can help you find your authentic self. Nature doesn’t judge. Nature is beautiful. Nature is you. Take time to be outside. You can do this in winter or summer on rainy days. Breathe, look, observe, feel.
- Enjoy inspiring books by your favorite spiritual or literary teachers.
- You can dance by listening to what you like.
- Find a guided meditation you enjoy, and develop a calm, elevated state.
- Your body needs to be moved. Yoga is one of my favorites because it is a full mind-body-spirit practice, but anything from rock climbing to dancing could work—or any type of exercise you enjoy. Let your energy flow.
- Register for the online course you’ve always wanted, such as painting lessons or singing lessons.
Being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely if you stop judging yourself and let yourself enjoy your solitude.
Dorothee, a transformational coach who also teaches international yoga in Brisbane Australia is Dorothee. Fearlessly Yourself is her creation, as well as Dottyoga. She uses neuro-linguistic programming and yoga as well mindfulness and energy healing to help women all over the globe cultivate unconditional self-worth. Check out all her transformational offerings at fearlesslyyourself.com.
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