There’s a common misconception in today’s society that being alone is inherently dreadful. The advent of cell phones and the Internet have made it easier than ever to connect with each other, so even when you’re physically by yourself, you never have to truly be alone. But what’s wrong with having some time to yourself? Unfortunately, we’re growing so accustomed to being around or connected to other people that we don’t realize the importance of “me time.” When you actually do get some time alone, it’s imperative that you make the most of it.
1. Understand you’re good enough
Like I said, we’re constantly being fed the idea that we need others around us in order to be happy. That’s simply not true. You’re absolutely good enough all by yourself. You don’t need others around you to tell you you’re living life correctly; just live. Take up a new hobby. Set and accomplish goals. Do what you want to do, not what others make you think you should be doing.
2. Be an observer
Take the time to observe the world around you. So many of us, when we find ourselves alone in public, tend to take out our phone or iPad to make it look like we’re busy. Why do we need to be busy all the time? Take some time to listen to the birds, or enjoy the laughter of a small child. Experience life, rather than zoning out playing some time-wasting game while you wait for your train to take you somewhere packed with people.
3. Talk and listen to yourself
The only person who really knows you is yourself. Listen to your inner voice. If you feel like you’re just going through the motions, try to find out what it is you really want out of life. When you’re around others you constantly have to put on a facade, and aren’t free to have the deep inner monologues that will lead you to actual happiness. Embrace yourself while you’re alone; it’s the best time you have to do so.
4. Cherish interactions
We spend so much time around others that we sometimes take it all for granted. When we’re alone, we want other people around; but when we’re out and about, all we want is to be back in bed. It’s important to take the time to really appreciate everyone you meet, from the cashier at the supermarket to the concierge of your apartment complex. Embrace these moments when they arise, and you’ll find they stick with you when you are alone.
5. Don’t waste your alone time
Like I said before, a lot of our time alone is spent waiting for the next big thing to happen. Don’t wait; make it happen. Instead of playing some silly iPhone game, take a book along with you. Instead of watching the same sitcom reruns day after day, start a new hobby. Be a producer, not a consumer. By doing so, you’ll find the next big thing in your life will happen much sooner than if you were to wait for it to come.
6. Stay busy
This goes along with the last piece of advice. Don’t become stagnant or complacent. When you’re alone, you’re free to do whatever you want. But do you really want to spend that time laying around contributing nothing to society, or to your own well-being? Find a part-time job, or go to the gym. Do something to improve yourself. Try something new that you never imagined yourself doing in a million years. You might end up finding a talent you never knew you had that could change the course of the rest of your life.
7. Make plans
Decide how you want your future to play out. Plan out your day, week, month, and year, and get moving toward the goals you’ve set for yourself. When you’re alone, the only person who can get in your way is yourself. Take care of your immediate, short-term goals first, but make sure that you take steps toward achieving your long-term goals every day until you reach them. Of course, after you’ve accomplished those goals, set the bar even higher. There’s no telling how far you can go if you keep pushing.
8. Enjoy the quiet
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sitting back and enjoying the silence once in a while. Our busy world is also a demanding one. Between work, family, and friends, it’s incredibly tough to actually get time to ourselves. We need to enjoy these fleeting moments when they arise. Make the most of your alone time by reflecting on your past and looking toward the future. Meditate and recharge, knowing it might be a while until you get some peace and quiet again.
Featured photo credit: Solitude / Premnath Thirumalaisamy via farm9.staticflickr.com