How to be comfortable with being alone

All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.

Blaise Pascal

Being alone, the mere thought of it is sufficient to make most of us deeply uncomfortable, to say the least. Although many of us, especially teenagers, proclaim that they don’t need anyone and that they would rather be alone. People who were or are alone, know what a pitiful situation it is. At the same time, it is also true that most of us, for a better part of our lif, are alone. Here, we are not only talking about people without families and friends. But also those who have an active social and personal life, yet they feel that they are alone. That there is no only one with whom they can share their thoughts and depend upon. We as humans are bound to be alone, as everyone is caught up in their own lives and most of us don’t have time or patience for one another.

Therefore, we must understand how we can get comfortable with being alone and carry on with our lives.

The problem

The problem under question is omnipresent and a serious one. Researchers in 11 studies, found that people typically do not enjoy spending even 6 to 15 min in a room by themselves. That they would rather do mundane external activities, and would even prefer electric shocks instead of being alone with their thoughts. This is a deeply distressing idea that our happiness is dependent upon others and on their company. Just how powerless it makes us. Even parents somehow know (probably from life experience) that being alone is more like a punishment.

That’s why they send their kids “to their rooms” and don’t allow them to play with their friends to punish them. Now since being alone is a part of our lives there are only two ways to handle this problem. First, either to ignore it or push it down by constantly distracting us with social media, TV, smartphones, books, etc, or to address it head-on with a better awareness of ourselves.

Being alone vs loneliness

We prescribe the second option as the first does not actually solve the problem and only makes us afraid of being alone. This fear usually leads to forced connections, unhealthy relationships in which people only stay together just to have someone, no matter how bad such a relationship is for them. Now to employ the second option of “addressing the problem”, one must understand the difference between being alone and loneliness. Being alone is a state, a state that you are in, and loneliness on the other hand is a feeling. We are not dealing with semantics here, this distinction is very important. All of us are alone in this life, but not all of us are lonely. Being alone is just that, being alone, nothing more.

But loneliness is the extra baggage of negative thoughts that some people attach with their situation. Such as I am not good enough, why don’t I have anyone or most popular, I will die alone. Considering our culture, it’s not a surprise that most of us can’t even differentiate between being alone and being lonely. It is portrayed everywhere that being alone is miserable with shabby apartments, pitiful masturbation, and nonexistence, and that people with an active social life and a number of relationships are the happy ones. Now we are not giving life lessons here or talking about what’s good and what’s bad. We are not judging either introverts or extroverts or any of that bullshit. Everyone has their way of living.

We are simply suggesting that if you WANT TO get comfortable with being alone, you must understand this difference and that the problem is not with being alone but with feeling lonely.

You are alone, not lonely

This is the key idea here, “You are alone, not lonely”. You only feel lonely when you associate being alone with other negative feelings (which you don’t have to). People who are content with being alone understand this and know that living alone is just as normal as any other way of living and that they prefer solitude. Now whether you are planning to be a hermit or overcoming a bad breakup. If you can understand this single piece of information, you will be able to live alone or without a relationship. Everyone is alone, and almost all of us know this.

Yes, we care about our friends and families and the stranger who says hello, but on some level, everyone knows that they are alone in this life. That if they were to disappear tomorrow everything will be normal within a day or two and most people will not even care. Take a moment to remember how many people you have left or forgotten who were your friends or family, and you’ll understand how easy it is. All we have is ourselves, everything else keeps changing, coming, and going. This realization only makes it even more necessary to learn how to get comfortable with being alone. We have to understand that being alone is normal, feeling lonely is not.

Going solo

If you understand this, all you need is a sense of awareness and patience to go solo. That’s it. Once you comprehend that you don’t have to feel lonely if you are alone, you can learn to love yourself, sorry not love but understand yourself. You can be good for nothing piece of shit for all we know. we don’t want you to love yourself, but if you can learn to sit with your thoughts we are sure that you will be able to understand yourself better.

Also, while we are talking about sitting with yourself, we don’t actually mean sitting, it’s about being with yourself, what you like. Pick up a hobby or something you like. Simply put, it’s all about having that sense of awareness and understanding that it’s okay to be with yourself, to not be dependent on others for company, and not to feel bad for appreciating your company. The sooner we learn this the better it will be.

The difference of choice

People who don’t “need” others don’t have to be stuck in bad relationships, they don’t need others, they simply appreciate the company of others. It will also allow you to have a conversation with yourself, to understand your personality in silence without the humdrum and constant chattering of others. Again, it’s important to note that we don’t want you to sit there with yourself or to shut yourself from society but the main idea is to have a choice.

Most people don’t have this choice, they need others’ attention from others, validation from others. You, on the other hand, don’t. You might appreciate some close friends, some contact, some relationship, but the difference is that you are also okay with being with yourself. It’s up to you to choose whether you should go out or sit alone, you don’t “need” a partner you choose to get in a relationship. This choice in life ultimately leads to freedom or at least a higher degree of freedom.

Start slow, very slow. Try to cut down your social media usage, the time you spend on superficial contacts. Use that time to learn something new, to learn about yourself to spend it with family or close friends. Get the choice in life, instead of being guided by feelings.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s a matter of personal freedom if you can spend time with yourself, to not be dependent on others for affection and support. Getting comfortable with being alone is a life skill that will help you in the toughest of times because that’s when you are alone. Understand the difference between being alone and feeling lonely and learn that your emotions are just that, emotions.

Guided by unknown and unconscious factors, and rather than reacting to them like Pavlov’s dog, learn how you can act rather than react by being aware of your feelings. Your feelings are not facts or truths, they are momentary. The annoying coworker does not feel that bad after you’ve had your lunch and you don’t feel all irritated after a nap. That’s the thing to understand that feeling lonely does not mean anything. You’ve learned that being alone is bad, it doesn’t have to be.

You are an interesting person, have a chat with yourself, get to know yourself better rather than using soft addictions like social media and binge-watching. It will be hard at first and might even seem distressing, but you’ll learn if you want to. You are not the only one, everyone is taught that it’s bad to sit alone being all introverted. Every kid is forced to mingle with relatives and friends. But now that you are an adult, get that freedom back. The freedom to choose who you want to spend time with.

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