Pleasures of Being Alone, Not Lonely
Think about watching a movie, or visiting a cafe for that delicious eggs benedict, or even just cycling around your neighbourhood on one of those sharing bikes. Do you imagine doing it alone, or do you often think about who can I ask along? It is not wrong to crave company of course, especially if you've had a long week and finally have some time to meet your best friend for weekend brunch. Yet, we often forget the beauty of spending time on our own.
Disconnecting from the world, to connect with yourself
Spending time alone allows us to disconnect from the world truly, and connect with ourselves more deeply. It is a recognized social phenomenon that human beings as social animals tend to adjust our moods and behaviors according to our peers and environment whether we do it consciously or not. Therefore, disconnecting from that outside influence prevents our thoughts from being watered down as we refocus and reflect on ourselves.
When you are feeling pensive or lost, engage in a conversation with yourself, and do what you enjoy at your own pace without a care for what other people think. Spending time alone this way allows you to discover yourself, and sometimes remind you to slow down.
Literally disconnect (from the net)
If you have planned to spend a day cozying at home in your pajamas and binge watching repeats of Friends, make a conscious effort to disconnect from your social media platforms. When you see your friends meeting their other friends for a day trip out of town, or your colleagues or classmates partying their night away—in other words having a social life—it could make you feel lonely and miserable. Social media has many pros, but it often also burdens us information that we can do without. While dividing our attention to the enjoyment of other people, it is easy to lose focus on our own warm and fuzzy happiness just having a warm cuppa and eating chips off your belly. So do yourself a favour, stay off social media if you are just starting to learn the art of being alone.
You simply don't have to care
My favourite part of spending time alone is that I don't have to care about anyone else but myself. When I schedule a day to spend on my own, I can decide what time I want to wake up, and if I go somewhere new and lose my way I don't have to answer to anybody. Things like that may sound simple, but it can be extremely liberating. There is no rush to meet expectations or appointments, you can get a seat for one easily at popular restaurants and cafes, and you don't have to worry about what to say to anybody! These are just a few of the advantages of spending time alone, because there are plenty of benefits that can differ from individual to individual.
The art of spending time alone and not feeling lonely can be fearsome for some, but practice helps. Train your mind into accepting time spent alone, and use it as a good time to rejuvenate. Spending time alone can come easily to introverts but enjoying it mindfully can take practice. However, this is not just something for the introverts, it works the same way for extroverts. So schedule some alone time, use this 'me time' to be more in touch with yourself. Practice the art of being alone, and revel in it.
Written by Ange Chua
Edited by Cynthea Lam
Ange Chua is an aspiring bird-watcher trying to fix her black thumbs. When she's not writing, you'd find her drinking tea out of teacups or reading in bed with her dog. She thinks her spirit animal is an alpaca.