It was a chilly day, the wind whipping across the water as we stood out on the deck of a ferry crossing Milford Sound in the south island of New Zealand. She, a stranger, held out her camera to me and asked that I take her photo. I was careful to capture the crisp mountains and rainbow waterfalls framing her perfectly. She, then asked,” You traveling alone?” “Yes.” I replied. “Me too!” She laughed, “Guaranteed good company! When you’re by yourself, you’re guaranteed good company!”
Guaranteed good company…
I hadn’t thought of it that way, but she was right.
One thing I always liked about traveling and venturing out on my own was all the impromptu adventures and friends I made along the way.
But, there are a great number of people who fear being alone. Many of us find it frightening to travel alone, to take a class alone or find there’s no one to ask for help.
To avoid this fear of being alone, we will socialize endlessly, from jumping from one relationship to another, emailing constantly, or becoming absorbed in social media. Often times, to avoid being alone, we’ll end up in a relationship with someone who isn’t really good for us.
There’s a difference between being alone and feeling lonely.
Alone means there aren’t people with you.
Lonely is a feeling of disconnect, or longing despite having a great deal of social contact with others, or being in a relationship.
As mentioned in an earlier post Understanding Loneliness, people who struggle with feelings of loneliness of find their struggles have deeper roots.
Being alone is what you make of it.
To truly understand what makes being alone so painful, you must recognize that it probably comes from a deeper situation that may be uncomfortable to address.
- Sometimes can be traced back to an unpleasant experience or past memory.
- Some simply are bored when they are alone.
- When in solitude, unpleasant thoughts and feelings can arise that you must then reflect on and process.
- Sometimes, as an adult you keep trying to bring people into your world to soothe the lack of nurturing from childhood.
- Social anxiety and fear of the thoughts of others.
So how can we learn to enjoy being by ourselves if it seems intimidating?
The secret to being alone you’ll find, is that it’s empowering. You make all the decisions and can be completely focused on and present in every experience.
You will be learning self-sufficiency and emotional independence, which is an act of strength. Time alone is an opportunity for growth and to get to known yourself.
Becoming acquainted with time alone may start small and simple.
Try spending small amounts of time alone, without your phone, laptop, TV, or radio. This quiet will allow you to become aware of yourself and surroundings. Ask yourself things like: What is my body telling me today? How do I feel today?
Eventually if you keep at this, you’ll grow used to setting time aside for yourself to be by yourself. You may spend your time going on hikes, reading books, creating artwork, or even writing that novel you’ve been thinking about.
I encourage you to go off on an adventure of your own, my friends, and know you’re guaranteed good company!
If you feel I may be of help, please call me at 206-428-1975
or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org