I love being alone, it’s an odd thing to say, don’t you agree? Not everyone I talked to love being in solitude. We’re creatures who love companies, whether it’s family members, friends or our partners, we seek human interaction and being alone seems unnatural.
During one of my nights out with my girlfriends, while laughing I reached for my phone to check the time and one of my friends brought up an article that she read earlier during the day.
The article cited in the Atlantic magazine article, a 2014 study conducted at the University of Virginia showcased that a quarter of the women and two-thirds of all men who participated would rather choose to subject themselves to electric shock than to be alone with their thoughts.
You’ve heard it right, electric shocks. Really? That bad?
So I frowned at my friends, I meant, I love being alone and there’s nothing wrong with having some time to ourselves daily to reflect and to offer gratitude for what we have.
Though I was born to a family of three, I was left alone 90% of the time which is another story to talk about. Through loneliness, I developed a sense of independence and an understanding that you have to be ok to spend time with yourself and enjoy your own company so that you don’t rush into a relationship to fill that emptiness.
You complete you!
I hope this article will serve you to open your mind and to let go of the fear of spending some time with yourself.
Here are my 10 reasons why I absolutely adore my alone time, and the benefit of solitude.
1. Comfortable in Your Own Skin
Most of us associate alone time with something bad. Best case scenario, loners like me are characterized as introverts; worst case scenario, we are perceived as anti-social weirdos.
But, those who judge us often forget (or simply don’t know) that solitude and loneliness are two very different things.
While loneliness is indeed terrifying – it is the horrid feeling of being rejected and unwanted by everyone around us – solitude is a truly exciting experience. More importantly, solitude is a choice. It’s being alone with your thoughts, immersed into your emotions, and comfortable in your own skin.
Psychologists call it the capacity to be alone. Once you develop it, you grow more independent. There’s no anxiety, no burning desire for company, and no need for constant interaction.
For me (as I’m sure it will for you), being alone is a major confidence booster. The more independent I am, the less I’m willing to compromise my happiness for others.
I know my strengths and my weaknesses by heart, and for that, I appreciate and respect myself more. That’s why my friend, I love being alone!
2. You Write Your Own Daily/Weekend Plan
Why I’m crazy enough to say to others that I love being alone?
Hmmm…because I can do everything I like.
For most people I know, being alone is so scary exactly because they don’t know who they are when nobody’s watching. They are not sure what they like, and they are clueless about what they need.
Initially, solitude allows you to be whoever you want to be. It’s only when you are by yourself that you have the time and the freedom to choose and experiment – that’s why creatives create alone, and why trailblazers travel without a companion.
By removing all distractions, solitude bolsters productivity.
In my experience, being alone is incredibly easy as long as you learn who you are and what you’re aiming towards.
Isolation gives you a unique opportunity to be the sole decision maker in your life, to set your own goals, and to achieve them at your own pace.
Also, it’s incredibly fun. You’ll start doing things you actually enjoy and hanging out with people you actually admire.
The days and weekends you used to spend compromising with your friends and family will finally be entirely yours to party, learn, relax, and grow.
3. You May Have 99 Problems but Saying “NO” Isn’t One of Them
I used to be “yes” person. You know the type, I’m sure – it’s someone who RSVP to every single social invitation only to end up miserable because they’d rather do something else.
Why do we all do this from time to time? Because we’re afraid of loneliness and haven’t still experienced the virtue of solitude. If you say no to your best friends, they’ll get mad.
If you decline your colleague’s invitation, they will call you a wallflower. So, when avoiding is not an option, we accept.
And, if it just happens that you do that for three days in a row (as I did on Monday afternoon), you grow anxious, impatient, and snappy.
Stretch it to a whole week, and you’re completely exhausted. Being a good friend is not easy, but trying to do make someone happy all the time is emotionally draining.
The truth is, those who leave after you start saying no are not necessarily your friends.
Your friends are the people who respect your choice to fly solo every once in a while because they’ve experienced the virtue of solitude themselves.
You’ve got nothing spectacular to lose, so try and see what happens.
4. You Have Lots of Time for Self-Reflection
Here’s another reason why I love being alone that I’ve realized during my tea party for one: if I haven’t asked my friends to leave, I wouldn’t have had time to think about why I said yes to yet another of our mindless chat sessions.
In that solitary hour that I’ve managed to steal for myself, I reflected more than I have in weeks before.
Being alone clarifies perceptions. In order to see something as it truly is, you need to remove yourself from the situation, allow your emotions to settle down, and spend some time processing the event.
It’s only outside of the context that you can genuinely perceive how that context has shaped you.
Experts suggest that we should spend at least 2 hours per week alone (which means roughly 17 minutes per day), self-reflecting.
You need to silence the background noise in order to hear your thoughts with clarity – as I’ve learned, that is the only way to get familiar with what you really want in life.
Follow the expert advice for a week or two, and you’ll begin to understand that solitude is not a curse, but a gift. I promise you’ll be less confused, and more determined. The times you’ve second-guessed your decisions will be through, and you’ll emerge more confident and ready to face any challenge.
5. Room for Self-Growth and Advancement
The capacity to be alone is self-strengthening, though not only in a spiritual way. Now, I’m not saying you should neglect your relationships, but you cannot deny that relationships sometimes tend to hold us back.
Instead of growing alone as every person should, friends and family often need you to help them.
But, if you insist on your alone time and patiently explain to them why you’ll earn some room for your own self-growth and advancement. However altruistic you may be, you have to help yourself before you can help others. You’ll be a great friend in a while, don’t worry.
For now, you have to be a great you.
Don’t answer your phone while you’re at work. If you’ve planned out an evening for yourself, don’t cancel it because somebody needs you. When you keep putting other people in front of your professional and personal development, you only end up resenting them.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
The best thing about solitude is that you don’t have to think about how your actions affect somebody’s feelings. If you want to go soul-searching in Tibet, you can.
If you want to pull out an all-nighter and sleep the next day through, you can. If that’s egotistic, then every self-growth is egotistic too.
6. You Are More Present with Others
Here’s your redemption: “Only if you find peace within yourself will you find the true connection with others”. This is the quote from my favorite movie “Before Sunrise”, one of many I would never have seen if I allowed my husband to hog all of our time. Watching it alone made me realize how much I missed him.
And, that’s the whole point, after all. On one hand, embracing solitude will make you an independent person. On the other, though, the more time you spend on your own, the more you’ll learn to appreciate the people you love.
Next time you meet them, you’ll be genuinely excited and happy.
If sometimes you think your friends are boring, it’s only because you see them all the time. If you feel your relationship is stuck in the rut, it’s because you do everything together.
I could never understand why people find this so offensive, when deep down inside we all know it’s the truth.
Spend some time alone, and you’ll be more present and attentive with the people you meet. You’ll learn something new about yourself, and you’ll have something new to talk about.
You’ll get some time to relax and sleep, and you’ll be eager to party with virtually everyone.
7. You Have More Intimate and Deep Meaningful Conversations
The fact that I love being alone, though I’m a big believer in solitude, I also understand that it’s hard for most.
But what I want you to know is that it will make you more patient and empathic. When I try to please all my friends all the time despite having dilemmas and problems of my own, I begin to lose interest in theirs.
I show up and I nod my head, but on the inside, I’m becoming less tolerant of their neediness. Be honest, we all do it.
Once again, this doesn’t mean that you are a bad friend or an insensitive person. It only means that you have some issues to work through, and you don’t need a group therapy with your girlfriends in order to sort them out. The biggest victories are the ones we win alone, and soon your friends will realize that.
After you’ve conquered all and grown into a confident and fulfilled person, consoling others will no longer be something that you have to do, but something that you want to do. Self-reflecting can be a painful experience; from that pain grow empathy and wisdom, both of which you’ll be eager to share.
8. You Don’t Answer to No One
How many times have you given up on something fun simply because explaining your decision to your friends, family or partner was too much of a drag? Even more importantly, how often do you allow them to influence those big, life-altering decisions that you have to make on your own?
Constantly being involved with other people, or relying on them too much will eventually put you in position to choose between who you love and what you want to be. Even then, the choice will not be entirely yours – because, let’s face it, choosing ourselves over others is considered selfish and cold.
So, I nipped it in the bud. I made it very clear that what I do in my spare time is not of anyone’s concern, and I advised my friends to try doing the same.
The result? For a long time, they mocked me for being a loner and a book worm. They still do, in fact. The only difference is, I no longer take them seriously. Life is too precious to give power to others’ opinion.
While they judged me together, I worked alone. Now that I’ve accomplished what I’ve always wanted, I don’t have to explain or defend myself, or to answer or apologize to anyone. I’m confident, successful, and happy, and I still love them for the meddling snoops that they are.
9. You Get More Sleep and More Rest
I don’t know for you, but I’m already excited about all the good night’s sleep that you’re going to have. Being constantly connected to other people can be mentally and emotionally demanding.
When I say I love being alone, I want to tell you that time gives you an opportunity to unwind from the usual drama and recharge your batteries.
Just think about – not only will you be able to organize your own schedule, but you’ll also be in a position to take a long, relaxing nap in the middle of the day. They’ll be no one to rush your time for, no one to keep you awake, and no one to wake you up early in the morning.
10. Time to Heal Past Wound and Move on with Your New Lifestyle
I’ve been through a lot in my life, most of them served as very priceless life lessons. What I learned and want you to learn along with me is that time heals everything but it only does it if you allow it to be part of your life.
You’ll get to catch some break from everything that has been going on with the world, but that’s not why alone time is so important. Please don’t wait for life to give you a break – when days are gloomy like your mood, take the chance and seize it for yourself.
Loosen up, meditate, and have fun.
As you do so, the newly found peace will allow you to get in touch with your deepest emotions. Removed from the context, you’ll finally be able to work through your issues from before, and let them go in the name of a more exciting tomorrow.
Having a chance to heal old wounds and redesign your future is an opportunity like no other. Perhaps you’ll go through heartache and pain, but you’ll grow better and stronger.
My Final Thoughts on I Love Being Alone
Find your happy place and go there alone. Learn how to appreciate who you are and what you love. I’m not telling you not to be there for people you love and care for, I’m telling you to take some time for yourself and make sure not to overly compromise that you’ll lose a sense of who you are as a person.