Before the end of 2020, I struggled with being alone. I spent most of my life jumping in and out of relationships and even when I wasn’t in a relationship, I felt the need to keep someone around me. The thought of being alone terrified me. I now know this was because I didn’t like myself and I wasn’t interested in getting to know who I was.
This year, I realized that my breakup in 2020 saved me. Back in March, I told my therapist that if my ex and I had stayed together, I never would have learned to love myself. If I was still depending on him for happiness, I never would have learned to find joy in solitude.
At the end of 2020, I embarked on a transformative journey. I started forcing myself to be alone. I forced myself to confront my fears of being alone. I sat with all the pain and anger simmering deep within my heart and I worked through it.
I’ve reached a point where I enjoy my own company. I embrace solitude and I feel contentment being by myself.
I know there are many people who struggle with being alone like I once did. I believe we should all learn how to find happiness in solitude.
How to Find Joy in Solitude
1. Discover What Makes You Happy
It’s important to know that your happiness doesn’t depend on another person. One of the first things I did when I started my journey was figure out what makes me happy. You have to learn what brings you joy when you’re not seeking it from others.
I’ve learned that happiness comes from within. Other people should add to your happiness, not be the sole reason for it.
If you’re struggling with discovering what brings you joy, start by compiling a list of things you enjoy doing. This will also help you get to know yourself.
2. Learn to Love Yourself
Not loving yourself can intensify feelings of loneliness. When I didn’t love myself, I settled for people who treated me horribly because I felt like being with them was better than being alone.
You have to sit with your uncomfortable feelings even when they feel unbearable. You can’t use others to cope with your loneliness.
When it comes to self-love and learning to accept yourself, you’ll start treating yourself better. Loving yourself is the foundation for finding happiness.
For tips on how to practice self-love, check out this blog post.
3. Understand the Difference Between Solitude and Loneliness
I used to think that being alone would make me lonely. Loneliness is often referred to with a negative connotation. Loneliness is very isolating. When I felt lonely, it often felt like something was missing.
On the other hand, solitude is being alone without being lonely. Solitude is a positive choice that people make.
When we’re in solitude, we have time to be introspective. We allow ourselves to turn inward and begin to get to know who we are. Solitude offers peacefulness.
Just because you’re alone, doesn’t mean you are lonely.
4. Create Daily Time for Yourself
Many of us live busy lives and it can be difficult to carve out “me time”. Each day, schedule a moment of solitude, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
This time is all about you. Do things that bring you joy or take time to relax.
5. Practice Meditation
Meditation is a great way to find contentment in being alone. I’ve been meditating consistently since 2019 and it has been beneficial to my mental health. Meditating alone allows you to sit with yourself and observe your thoughts and feelings.
It might feel uncomfortable at first, but most people learn to work through it.
Start by meditating for a few minutes every day and work your way up to lengthier times.
6. Date Yourself
Taking time to date yourself can help you experience deep joy. Before I decided to give dating another try, I went through a period of dating myself. I got to know myself and learned who I am. I started doing more of what I enjoy and it turned out to be a rewarding experience.
Dating yourself is a great way to learn how to be alone. It doesn’t have to mean taking yourself on expensive dates. While that’s nice, there are other things you can do to shower yourself with love.
To read more on dating yourself, check out this blog post.
7. Seek Therapy
If you’re struggling to find joy in solitude or you find that you’re constantly depending on others for happiness, it could be time to see a therapist.
Working with a therapist can help you uncover why you’re afraid of being alone. The right therapist will be there to guide and support you as you navigate this journey.
Some of the work I’ve done on myself would not have been possible without the help of my therapist.
Instead of viewing solitude in a negative way, see it as an opportunity for growth. Alone time allows you to connect with yourself. It’s important to be comfortable in your own company.
Yes, having social interactions is essential to our well-being but having moments to yourself is equally as important.
Taking time for yourself doesn’t make you selfish. Learning to love being alone is an act of self-love.
If being alone is new for you, start small. Take a few minutes every day to yourself and gradually build up to longer moments.
Photo by Ezekixl Akinnewu: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-with-floral-headdress-lying-on-green-leaf-plants-946240/