When you talk to friends or family about their biggest anxieties, being alone is often one of them. When you’re in a relationship, you fear abandonment, when you’re single, you strive to find the next guy (or girl). Being alone is equaled as being a failure. You’re not in a relationship because you’re not attractive enough, sitting alone at home on a Saturday evening means you don’t have any friends, etc. This is a failure of society. It is automatically assumed that the lack of company isn’t the person’s own choice.
One of my friends from highschool used to always have a boyfriend without any breaks in between relationships. She has a history of abuse in the family and I assume that during this time of growing up and finding one’s self, she wasn’t ready for being alone with herself yet. It was years later that she texted me suddenly she had been single for a while, sounding like she had just reached her biggest accomplishment.
Being at peace with yourself, knowing yourself, knowing your weaknesses and strengths gives you a security for conflicts during every day life – at work, in a relationship, in a friendship or with haters – that you cannot achieve when you haven’t “found” yourself yet.
Knowing and understanding yourself is the biggest foundation for life’s challenges and you can only reach this state if you’re brave enough to be alone. You cannot have a healthy relationship with another person, if you can’t accomplish having a healthy relationship with yourself. Inner peace is an essential factor of happiness and shouldn’t depend on the company of others. The problem is that everyone has this deep fear of being left alone in the world with no one there to care for you:
“Being alone makes me crazy. The thought of not having anyone to turn to with my worries and thoughts is one of the worst pains imaginable and I would probably end up killing myself.”
“Sometimes I feel like this (and it’s really hard for me to admit): I could have died in my sleep and no one would find out for many, many hours. That’s a painful reality.”
– Rebecca Seed, “Why Sometimes It’s OK to Be Alone“
This deep fear often restrains us from seeking alone time. But while being alone is a frightening thought, taking this step also strengthens our relationships to the people we love.
Of course, the interaction and communication with friends and family is in our nature, and makes us happy, but intentionally choosing to be alone for a while shows that you trust your partner and also grant him/her the time they need for themselves. We should not mix up being alone with being lonely:
“You hope for company and feel depressed when you are by yourself. Loneliness is a negative state of mind where you are always longing for the other. Never satisfied being by yourself and always looking elsewhere for fulfillment. Alone is a positive state of mind, a very fulfilling place to be. It is a state where you are always and constantly delighted in yourself. It is blissful, happiness, content with nothing, and peaceful. You do not rely on anyone but yourself to feel alone, and you are happy being alone. You have found yourself, and you are living happily with yourself.”
– India Hope, “The Difference Between ‘Lonely’ And ‘Alone’“
Alone time means “me-time”. Time is the most precious thing we have, so it’s important we reserve some of it for us alone. Don’t we always admire musicians for completely getting lost in the music, or writers for dwelling on their thoughts for hours? You don’t have to be a talented artist to find this “me-time”. It’s about reading a book, listening to your favorite records with headphones or watching a movie. Recently I’ve started the FitnessBlender workout program which forces me to workout almost every day. The concentration needed to properly do the exercises and the resulting exertion cause me to build this bubble around myself. I don’t care about incoming messages and forget about any problems I was wrecking my brain over just minutes before – I completely lose myself in myself. After the workout I’m much calmer and even happier. Kelli who wrote the program explains it so well:
“How many of you find a sort of escape in your workouts? That *me time* is precious and will keep you sane and healthy. The busier you are and the less you feel like you have time for it, the more you probably need it. There’s nothing selfish, petty, or superficial about making time in your day to take care of your health.”
Kelli Segars, FitnessBlender.com
I strongly believe that being alone is a huge important part of being the best (= healthiest, happiest, strongest) version of yourself.