Here at The Butterbean Legacy, we love having guest contributors share their talents and creativity! I am happy to welcome our recent guest contributor, Rebecca Judson to the blog. Rebecca shares some wonderful thoughts with us today on spending time alone. Thank you, Rebecca!
As children, whether you’re at the playground, on a field trip, or even just going
out to the mall, there doesn’t seem to be much point unless you’re spending it
with someone you can have fun with. So as we grow older, we tend to associate
being alone with loneliness.
But whether willingly or not, there will come a time when we part from familiar
environments to be on our own. And whether or not we enjoy being alone, it can
be a scary prospect to suddenly be thrust into an environment where you’re not
constantly with someone.
Our blog post ‘The Art of Being Alone’ points out that a common reason for this fear is equating being alone to loneliness. But once you differentiate the two, doing things by yourself will seem less daunting.
So here are some reasons why being alone doesn’t always result in loneliness:
Being alone doesn’t need to lead to isolation
There is a world of difference between being alone and being isolated. Maryville University explains that isolation can lead to loneliness, and can result in feelings of self-doubt, an inability to form meaningful connections, and burnout when trying to socialize. But being alone doesn’t have to be an either-or situation —even if you enjoy being alone, you don't have to isolate yourself.
You can be alone and still engage in social activities, staying deeply connected
to those closest to you, whether in person or virtually. You can simultaneously be
someone who spends a lot of time with yourself at home but is ready to open up
your calendar for a good night out with friends or family when the opportunity
Doing things on your own lets you wind down
Being with others means that we always have to channel a certain amount of energy to build connections, even with small interactions. Think about moving to a new workplace or a new neighborhood and having to gauge how to interact with people in your new environment.
Even when spending time with someone you’re completely comfortable with (like your spouse or your siblings) you still have to make conversation and project amiability regardless of your mood.
When you’re alone you can just wind down and do things as you wish without
having to worry about what anyone else may think. This is a common feeling
introverts know. The article ‘Why is Socializing Exhausting for Introverts’ points
out that instead of doing things for outside status, introverts tend to look for
internal rewards of fulfillment.
When you spend time alone frequently, you soon realize how freeing it can be to just do things without worrying about what anyone else might think — and how much energy it can save you.
You learn to love yourself better when you’re alone
Cliché as it may seem, being alone helps you love yourself better — and this is
an important aspect of maintaining good relationships. Dr. Thuy-vy Nguyen of Durham University told the New York Times that solitude nurtures one’s social life, as it helps regulate emotions, calming you down to better prepare for
engaging with others.
Solitude gives you space for learning more about the kind of person you are without others’ influence. So once you’re with other people, you perceive how you’re changing, how you feel about that change, and thus whether this person has a positive or negative influence on your life.
Even if this is someone you’ve known your entire life, having space away from them lets you evaluate your relationship more introspectively. When you know who you are on your own, you learn to care for yourself and keep around only those who will help you do that.
If you’ve lived a life with others long enough, being alone can be daunting. But
once you realize that it does not equate to being lonely, then being alone
becomes a tool you can use to care for yourself.