Whether it's living by yourself for the first time, or just grabbing lunch in your college cafeteria without your friends, a lot of people find themselves struggling with the idea of being alone. Doing anything by yourself for the first time can be a daunting experience, and unfortunately, there seems to be a huge stigma surrounding spending time alone. But, when you learn to enjoy it, you will begin to reap the benefits in more ways than you can possibly imagine.
1. You will stop looking for validation in others.
While seeking advice and approval from others is important sometimes, we need to take a step back and reflect on why we value the opinions of other people so much. When you spend time alone, you quickly begin to realize that you are the only person that can make decisions for yourself. Solitude gives you a sense of strength and trust in your own instincts that can help guide you through any situation.
2. You'll find out who you really are.
Being alone allows you to explore who you are as a person without the influence of others. What do YOU like to do when you're not with your friends, sports team, or family? What do you believe in? Why do you hold the opinions you hold? Taking time to ponder these aspects of yourself that often get overlooked in the rush of daily life will help you to develop a greater feeling of self-understanding and confidence in who you are.
3. You'll become more independent.
When you begin to like being by yourself, that feeling of burning anxiety for company will dissipate. You'll learn that you are capable of pulling your own weight in any situation without others there to help you. You’ll feel more confident in your ability to actually be alone. Naturally, this leads to you feeling more independent.
4. You will understand the importance of making yourself happy.
"People pleasing", though common, can become toxic. It isn't long before your urge to tend to others' needs and wants before your own consumes your life. I struggle with this myself, and I've found that I've made great progress towards slowing down this behavior by spending time alone. It helps you to pause and think about what you need in that very moment, instead of what someone else wants you to do. In that instant, the only thing you need to worry about is what makes you happy.
5. You'll understand what a big impact the people in your life have on you and your behavior.
Taking time alone allows you to become aware of your own behavior and how it changes based on who you're around. You may notice that you act differently when you're alone than when you're with your significant other or friends. Ultimately, this can help you to understand why you feel the need to change how you act around others.
While those close to you may not understand why you're choosing to take more time for yourself, I assure you, it's worth it. As an only child, a lot of my life has been spent alone, pondering aspects of myself that my peers haven't even begun to discover in college. I can honestly say that learning to enjoy being alone with my thoughts has been one of the greatest and most useful skills in my life. So, the next time you feel like you want to shut out the world and spend some time by yourself, try it. You might be very pleasantly surprised by the results.