Songs in popular culture are riddled with this singular message: the worst thing that can happen to you, is being alone.
But, being alone can be rejuvenating. It can help you find your true self and refresh you after days, weeks or months of being “on.” There’s an art to enjoying alone-ness, and it’s one worth honing — it can be incredibly freeing to not need anything but yourself to be happy, to not require distractions or other people to fill the space around you.
There’s a lot of value in learning to be alone, whatever the Backstreet Boys might say to the contrary!
But for a lot of us, we’ve been conditioned to believe that being alone is a problem, and that can be an obstacle in and of itself — nobody wants to be alone if they’re feeling badly about themselves the whole time. To solve that problem, I have a few simple exercises that can help you figure out how to appreciate yourself and your alone time!
1. Sit all by yourself and write a list of things about yourself that you appreciate, admire or enjoy, that do not depend on other people.
Maybe you’re tenacious or intelligent, or maybe you love the way you look! Doesn’t matter —- whatever you admire about yourself, write it down. Remind yourself that there are all these things about you that are incredible, whether or not you’re with someone else.
2. Plan an activity that makes you feel adored.
Take a bath, cook something totally scrumptious for yourself, or treat yourself to a new book (then sit down and read it). Do something for yourself that says “you are loved.”
3. Close your eyes, and think of the first thing that comes to mind when you think of yourself.
If it’s a positive thing, wallow in it — enjoy the feelings of positivity and love. If it’s a negative thing, take a moment and think about why that’s the first thing that comes to your mind. Then, say out loud “I forgive you.” Forgive yourself for your transgressions. It may feel silly the first few times you say this aloud to an empty room, but over time it will start to feel natural. Practice forgiving yourself until you do.
4. Take a yoga class, then try to re-enact it at home alone.
Doing yoga alone can be such a rewarding and enriching experience, but too often it feels too complicated to attempt. Choose a yoga class that you like, take note of what you like and don’t like, and recreate the bits you don’t like at home. As you focus on your breathing, you’ll find that you are more and more in touch with yourself!
By taking special not of the things that you love about yourself and treating yourself with love, you’ll find that you don’t need other people to be around. The point of these exercises is to accustom your mind to not needing any company to be happy.
It can definitely be an uphill battle; we’re used to being around people constantly from such a young age! But the peace you gain through the process can be incredibly rewarding.
Try out these exercises and let me know what you think! —Anagha