Let’s face it: there’s a huge stigma around doing things alone. But frankly, I’m sick and tired of it.
Why is it so bad if someone goes to see a movie they’ve been dying to see on their own? What’s the big deal if you can’t find someone to attend an event with you, so you attend it alone? There’s such a negative connotation around doing what you want to do, whether or not someone is by your side when you do it. I’m here to tell you why it needs to end, immediately.
I understand that it’s human nature to gravitate toward others when you’re in a social setting, and being alone in a crowded room might make you feel lonely. But you deserve to do what you want, on your time, without feeling uncomfortable.
I think back on all the missed opportunities where I turned down the chance to do something I would have truly enjoyed, just because nobody was able to go with me. Now, I look back and laugh because not only do I enjoy doing things on my own, I prefer it!
Here are some benefits of doing things on your own:
You get to do what you want to do, on your time
Stop thinking it’s selfish to put yourself first. Your friends all want to go see a movie but you aren’t into it and would prefer to go check out a new art gallery? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And becoming comfortable doing things on your own will help you realize that.
You don’t need to take anyone else’s schedule into account or plan around what they want to do. It’s all about doing what you want to do. And if you’re not enjoying an event you’re at, or a bar you’re checking out, you can leave without having to round up the troops and get someone’s approval.
You get in touch with your emotions
Let’s try a simple exercise. Put down your phone, sit in a comfortable position, and close your eyes. Take note of the things you can feel, whether it’s the chair underneath you or an ache you’re experiencing. Don’t address it, just feel it.
Now, think of what you can feel internally. Focus on what you’re feeling inside your head. Are you content? Sad? Angry? Don’t let it change your demeanor, just acknowledge those feelings.
When you’re done the exercise and open your eyes, realize that you just took a moment to yourself to recognize your own emotions and feelings. If you were able to recognize your emotions during a short exercise where you focused on only yourself and your surroundings, imagine how you’d feel if you were doing something on your own that made you happy.
You develop new interests
Always wanted to check out a nearby park and go for a jog, but you were nervous you wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace of your friends who are dedicated runners? Going on your own allows you to pursue something you enjoy without the pressure of having to keep up with others. Not into running? Try bringing a notebook and pen with you to a new coffee shop or restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Find a place to sit and start jotting down your thoughts, or maybe try doodling if you prefer drawing.
Whatever it is, just do something that doesn’t involve your cell phone. You’ll quickly learn something new about yourself that you might not have known before, whether it’s a new hobby or something that excites you.
You learn about yourself
When you are on your own and have time to do everything on your own schedule, you learn new things about yourself you might not have realized before. Maybe you’ll really enjoy a movie that your friends wouldn’t have liked? Or you might discover a new favorite dish. Or, maybe, you might just learn to trust your own gut instincts.
You’ll become independent
This one doesn’t really need a description, and it’s pretty obvious. But being on your own helps boost your independence and gives you the freedom to grow.
You give yourself time to recharge
Sometimes it can be overwhelming to constantly cater to others. When you’re in a group environment, you spend a lot more time than you probably realize just trying to read everyone else’s emotions and gauge their opinions. Giving yourself a break from this will help you stop searching for that constant need to please others and will allow you to fully recharge.
You enjoy your own company
I get it… sometimes when you’re on your own, you can’t help but feel lonely. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t used to experience these feelings. But once you start seeing the positive side of being in your own company, the idea that being alone equals loneliness will dissipate.
So now that you know the benefits, how do you get started?
If you’re not sure where to begin, try taking a long walk on your own. Be in touch with your thoughts and just enjoy your surroundings and the tranquility of it all. Once you’re comfortable doing that, treat yourself to a solo shopping spree. It’s so nice spending as much time as you want in the stores you want to shop at, without feeling like you’re being a bore to those who are in your company who don’t like the same stores as you do.
Once you’ve gotten your feet wet with enjoying your own company, try seeing a movie on your own. Or grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting alone. Or getting a cocktail during happy hour. Baby steps is all you need and before you know it, you’ll be ready to hop on a plane and take a solo vacation. (Side note: I’m taking a solo vacation next week and will be writing a post upon my return about my thoughts of spending five days on an island by myself!)
And maybe traveling alone isn’t something you’re quite ready for yet, and that’s okay. But don’t let the stigma prevent you from doing something you’ve been longing to do just because you don’t have someone by your side to do it with you!
Stop waiting for others and don’t be discouraged by anyone else’s opinion. Get out and go start doing what you want to do!
Have you ever done anything alone? If so, how did you get over the stigma and just enjoy your own company? How did it make you feel? If not, why not give it a try!