I sat down to write my Her Campus article this week in the midst of classes ending and nice weather beginning and a certain song began to play. “Clean” by Taylor Swift came through my headphones, a song that so reminds me of the feeling of being happy with being alone.
Swift sings about finally being clean from an unhealthy relationship, calling it a “perfect storm.” The relationship, to Swift, was horrible yet relieving because it was in that relationship that she finally allowed herself to heal and became free. I love this song not because I was in a relationship that I felt trapped in, but because of the emotions Swift invokes in the chorus. It reminds me of feeling free from something, like you can finally begin to heal.
I’ve been in this position multiple times in my life, and frankly, every single time sucked. Like, big time. It’s never easy overcoming something, let alone coming out of it stronger than before. And, sometimes you don’t need to come out stronger, or different, or happier. You just have to get through it.
And, sure enough, you have to get through it alone; I know I have.
Here’s one thing to remember: being alone or going through something alone isn’t inherently bad. Feeling alone, or being lonely, is what can be worrying and there’s a big difference between the two.
So… how did I come to love being alone?
Well, it starts with being alone. A lot. (Circular? A bit. But just hear me out).
It can be hard, most especially when you’re an extrovert like me, or a people person, or you hate where your thoughts go when you aren’t distracted by something. Still, you just have to find a place to start.
Learn what you love and what you don’t love. Listen to the music you like while working by yourself. Find the tiny things in yourself that you love, the tiny things that you are oh so proud of (everyone has something). Set a simple schedule for yourself on the days you feel like a mess or you’re just having a rough go-around.
Write or draw out how you’re feeling. Or, even better sing Taylor Swift as if your life depended on it. I would say exercise, but that’s never been my thing so I won’t bother suggesting it (unless it’s your thing, then go for it).
Personally, I used to read books a lot. I loved escaping to somewhere that I didn’t live but just existed as an observer. It was awesome! But as I’ve grown and my attention span has been committed elsewhere, I do what makes me feel better every single time — a solo dance party.
You aren’t going to get it right on the first try…or the second…or third…or fiftieth.
People spend decades learning to love themselves and being alone with themselves. It’s a work-in-progress all of your life.
It took me years to begin to enjoy being alone, but I’m so far away from loving being alone all of the time. There are days when the last thing I want to do is be alone with my thoughts, and nothing can distract me from them. That’s totally normal; I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not perfect. Neither are you. But if you’re just trying, well, that’s a huge reason to be proud of yourself.