It's Okay Being Alone

It’s okay to be alone.

Say it with me. It’s okay to be alone.

And I don’t mean being single, I don’t mean feeling lonely (which is most definitely not alright if that feeling persists for a long time), I don’t mean struggling to make new friends; that’s not what this article is about. This is about being alone on campus, being alone in your dorm room and being alone while eating — it’s okay to be alone.

Many people fear the idea of being alone, but the longer I’ve gone on observing and experiencing this fear, it doesn’t seem as if people are literally afraid of being alone in a public area, which is monophobia. Instead, everyone who has this fear seems to be concerned about what others around them think. They’re worried about judgemental glances, large amounts of public attention and the possibility of an embarrassing incident without the crutch of a familiar companion. This does make sense, but this also means that this fear springs from social anxiety, from the fear of others’ opinions, from issues of self-esteem and so on. It’s not something to feel bad about, because a lot of people experience the same thing. Just search up “fear of eating alone” or “fear of exercising alone,” and look at all the articles that pop up. You’re not alone in this year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get rid of it.

There are actually a ton of perks to doing things alone. You can take your time while eating, you can walk at your own pace, you can decide when you want to leave the gym, you can make a choice at random to go to the movies or the bookstore or the grocery store. The list goes on and on. They key to accepting that it’s okay to be alone is to not concern yourself with everyone else around you. They’re not thinking about you. You don’t look like a loner and you don’t look out of place. You don’t look “sad” eating alone and they’re not judging how fast you’re running on that treadmill; trust me, they’re too focused on not tripping on it themselves.

Constantly tell yourself all of that when you’re out alone. Remind yourself that it’s okay to be within your own company and enjoy it. Repeat it like a mantra that the others don’t matter. Being out alone often comes with chores, work or necessity (like eating or getting groceries) and the more used to being alone you become, the easier all those things will be. The ability to be content with yourself in public is especially important around campus, not just in the dining hall.

Sometimes hunching over your laptop in your dorm room or at home just doesn’t cut it. After a while it gets repetitive and tiring. Thankfully, every college campus has a ton of great places to sit down and type out a huge assignment. If you’re okay with being alone, then nothing would stop you from claiming a lone table in the library or a cafe and writing that assignment while sipping a coffee. If you’re okay with being alone, there’s no reason to wait for another friend’s schedule to sync up to go to the gym; you can just jump on that elliptical yourself and get home in time to watch your favorite television show. See where I’m going with this?

Doing things with others isn’t bad, but being alone allows you independency. It gives you a more flexible schedule and challenges you to handle things on your own. So, start growing more familiar with your own company and next time you find yourself staring down a crowded, public area, hold your head high and remember that it’s okay to be alone.

 

Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3