Today I wanted to write about something that I think is really important, and thats being on your own. Now I’m not talking about being single or even being lonely, but something far simpler and more positive, being alone. I think one of the most vital skills in life is the ability to enjoy your own company, and I meet more and more people who seem to struggle with this.
Most people will agree that they enjoy a few hours alone in their room catching up on a TV show or reading a book. These are definitely good examples of being on your own and being ok with it. However, enjoying your own company extends beyond the confines of your bedroom where you are comfortable. Its more about not depending on others to make you feel comfortable when you’re outside the house.
Earlier on this year, and again only a few weeks ago, I travelled on my own to London for work. Both times I was there for two weeks and had my boyfriend come to stay for a few days. The rest of the time I was on my own. During the day I was obviously working and surrounded by people all day, but the evenings and few days off I had were completely my own. The first trip I took I was quite nervous about these times as although I was completely happy on my own in the confines of the hotel room, heading out for a full day in London alone seemed like quite a daunting task despite the infinite list of things there are to do. However, on my last trip I really looked forward to these days and evenings by myself, which is something i am quite proud of. I don’t think my younger self would have believed me if I said that I could quite contentedly go for dinner by myself. Spending an entire day alone wandering around a city is such a pleasurable experience, I had no internet connection on my phone as I was abroad which at first I thought I would struggle with as phones are great when you feel awkward as there is always something to look at. Instead it was quite liberating, I really took in my surroundings and dwelled in my own thoughts instead of the constant bombardment of images and opinions coming from Instagram/Facebook/Twitter. I spent an entire afternoon wandering around the National Gallery and some bookshops and really did enjoy spending an entire day with nobody but myself. When I did eventually get back to my hotel room, I had such feeling of contentment at how I had spent my day and that everything I had chosen to do was completely for me, and what I wanted to do.
Something we all struggle with is that we all think that everyone out there is looking at us, and when you’re by yourself you think people notice, and dare I say it, feel sorry for you. Once you stop thinking this way it all becomes easier. Nobody CARES. Really, nobody is looking at you, everyones too caught up in their own life to wonder why a girl is in the cinema by herself. If I see someone drinking coffee in a cafe or having lunch by themselves I think “how great!” ,they feel so comfortable and unselfconscious to do that and not worry about it. So get those thoughts out of your head, or if you really can’t and you feel that yes, people are staring at you, just think ‘who cares?’. Chances are you don’t know them, also they might be staring at you because they think you have a fantastic bum/smile/outfit and haven’t even noticed you’re alone. Half of it is more than likely just paranoia.
I really wanted to write this because I think we place so much importance on who we were with all the time. Tagging and checking yourself in on Facebook and Instagram with friends, its like we need to tell the world “hey look I’m not on my own, I have loads of friends!!” Not that doing this is necessarily a bad thing, I am definitely someone who posts on Instagram that I’m meeting friends for lunch or drinks, but we need to have some balance. Don’t get me wrong, I do love to spend time with my friends, boyfriend and family, I also happen to enjoy being on my own. I just don’t think we value how vital it is to spend time with yourself. My boyfriend and I are together almost seven years and I like to think that one of the reasons for this is that we both are quite like minded when it comes to this. We are both aware that we need our own space and time alone. Something I love about us is that we can be in the same room, each doing a separate and absorbing task and its ok that we’re not necessarily talking to each other, we’re happy to sit in a comfortable silence.
Reasons why its great to be on your own;
-Not having to share your popcorn in the cinema- especially if its butter, you want that deliciousness all to yourself
-Having time to actually think without feeling the need to constantly converse
-Getting to know yourself better
- Not being entirely dependent on your phone as a source of distraction
Some nice things to do on your own;
- Go to an art gallery or exhibition you’re interested in by yourself
- Something as simple as doing some yoga in your room, but for a full hour uninterrupted
- Go for a coffee on your own, and don’t make it a ‘to go’, sit and enjoy it
- Take a walk, I love walking by myself, especially without any music
- Go to the cinema on your own- I have always wanted to do this but still haven’t got around to it!