One of the biggest and most important life lessons that we can learn is :
How to be alone.
Learning how to be alone is just as much of an adventure as anything else is in life and just as meaningful and rewarding. What makes this adventure in learning to be alone so important, so meaningful, and so rewarding is that without it, there is no way to know who we truly are. No way to know what we truly want out of life, without having anyone or anything else cloud our judgment or be a factor in our decision making. This adventure also serves us to be better in our current and future relationships with friends, family, and people who we don’t even know yet
But being alone is a process and it takes time and dedicated action, because as much as it is a life lesson and adventure it is also a skill. A skill that when done right can give us all of the gifts and freedoms stated above, but when done wrong can be utterly soul crushing.
With all of that being said, taking being alone from the view of a skill, here are my 5 exercises that can help when learning to be alone.
Before any of these other exercises can be done and before the skill of being alone can be learned, you must accept that for the moment you are in an alone period of your life. Not accepting this time for what it is , means that the period will keep repeating itself until you learn it. Without acceptance all of the self work that you do during the alone period won’t take, you won’t grow, and it will all be in vain.
Allowing the space for negativity
We live in a society that polices negative emotions. Meaning that at any given time others expect us to act and react positively to every single thing, and sometimes expressing the negative is seen as wrong. This is all under the guise of “someone has it worse than you,” and other empty platitudes that attempt to draw away from experiencing the negative.
Meanwhile, going through an alone period can be a trying and difficult time in life. Being alone causes lots of negative emotions to stir up and come out, and that's okay. The only way to truly get through negative emotions is to allow the space for them by acknowledging them and experiencing them for what they are. Burying them under a veil of positivity, only cheapens the learning experience and prolongs the lesson. Beyond that, the bottle is only so big, eventually the lid will burst off and then where will you be?Likely in some sort of emotional turmoil, and that picture isn’t pretty.
One of the most important exercises to engage in during your alone period ,is to engage in self dates. Now, this is something that doesn't have to be done on a regular basis (unless you want it to be!) but it is something you must do. Self dates include taking yourself out dinner, to the movies, or to brunch. Really it includes whatever it is that you want to do that you normally would want around for others to do with you. The key action in this is being able to do it without any sort of “distractions” around. Meaning without a cell phone, without a book, without a laptop. Just you. Once you can do this once you can do it again and again. Then you will also be able to do it in other areas that you may have never even thought of at first. By engaging in self dates, you overcome one of the major hurdles faced when learning to be alone. Self dates give you the confidence to begin to do things on your own while teaching you to be with yourself.
Another important part of learning to be alone is taking care of yourself. For most people, the alone period is one of the only times in life with no significant other, no kids, no family or friends holding you back so self care is essential. It is an essential part of your self-discovery. Learning what makes you feel good and what makes you doesn't. Learning what you need at the end of a busy day versus a stressful day versus a good day. Learning how your moods change from week to week or month to month, learning your triggers and what makes you relax is all part of self care. These discoveries of how you take care of yourself are essential for you to carry with you when the alone period is over.
Letting go is a necessary step to be taken in order to make the most of an alone period. Letting go has two meanings. Letting go of other people, because as much as we want to keep a hold of people forever, sometimes we can't. Letting go is a process and it has to be a clean let go, so that you can learn to rely on yourself and not wrap yourself around on whoever else is there when we are trying to let go.
The other meaning letting go takes on is letting go of what you think life and relationships should look like during this time of life. For example, thinking you should have a bunch of friends and you don’t or thinking you should be engaged and your not. This ideal must be let go of, for reality to settle in, so that you can experience this period to the fullest, walk way learning the important lesson, and have the tools to carry you successfully into other life situations.