Alone, Not Lonely
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Health and Wellness

Alone, Not Lonely

Do You Really Know The Difference?

Alone, Not Lonely

I love going places by myself. While it is great to have company and hang out with friends, there is something so satisfying about having the freedom to make all your own decisions. Going to the movies, coffee shops, malls, or getting a pedicure feels so entirely different alone. Unfortunately, our society views going somewhere by yourself as sad or strange. There is an anxiety about running errands alone because we have such a fear about what strangers will think of us. I once sat in a coffee shop for almost two hours by myself. At first, it felt like everyone was judging me or wondering about if I got stood up. It felt awkward at first, but once I settled in and just enjoyed being present with a great latte and an even better book, it felt like the most natural decision in the world. Now I love taking myself out, especially to the movies where I can just watch without any distractions (and without having to share my popcorn).

There is a huge different between being alone and feeling lonely. Alone is a physical state, loneliness is a state of mind. Being by yourself doesn't have to feel lonely, and it also doesn't mean you need to have your phone out to make it seem like you have friends. You know you have friends, so who cares about the assumptions made by other people? More importantly, often times we feel like everyone is looking at us and judging when really they could not care less. Just be present. Allow yourself to notice your surroundings and the impact they have on you. You may make connections with others, think of a new idea, or realize something about yourself. I guarantee it will be more interesting to observe those around you rather than scrolling through Instagram pictures you don't actually care about.

Take a second to reflect on why you might hesitate to spend time alone in public. You may realize you are participating in the stigma of judging people who are by themselves. When I was living at a retreat center and earning my yoga teacher certification, silent breakfasts were mandatory. I dreaded this daily ritual of sitting at a table, surrounded by others, unable to crack a joke or make small talk. The silence seemed like too much to handle. Then I realized I was not afraid of the silence among the group, I was afraid of self-reflection. When you venture out into the world alone, whether it's down the street to a CVS or to another country, you are trusting yourself. You are proving that you are compitent enough to make decisions without having to justify them to anyone. You are strong enough to know what you need and what you do not. This is where being alone stops being lonely and starts being beautiful.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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