If you’re anything like me, you probably pride yourself on being able to take care of things on your own. But what happens when you’re watching Eat, Pray, Love, hearing her say she’s been in a relationship since she was 14 and doesn’t know herself, and you realize that’s you? Well, you let out a nervous laugh, then cry. It was very hard for me to learn that even if I am capable of doing things alone, I don’t necessarily like being alone. This pandemic had isolated me and three of my closest friends together, so I clung to them like glue for support. There was no room to be alone. Or so I thought.
The path to leaning back into yourself is a slow and steady process. Growth doesn’t happen overnight! Finding solace in the smallest of daily things is the first step, and you have to keep yourself from getting restless. Showering should be a full self-care routine, for example. Turn on your favorite music, scrub every inch of your body, use all your favorite products, and do that every single time. Take time to cultivate your thoughts, and work through them without being negative. As hard as it may sound, let go of your phone! Pick any other hobby you’ve been thinking about, and run with it. By letting go of my distractions, I’ve realized there’s nothing to really miss about my outer bubble. Learning something new for pleasure brings reward, and it really helps in brightening the rest of your thoughts.
Once you’ve gained comfort with yourself in the safety of your own home, it may be time to push that a bit further. It’s different to be out and about alone, so make a point of taking yourself on a date! Take a walk at your nearest park, go out to grab a bite to eat, cook for yourself, or do whatever your favorite thing to do with a loved one is — alone. It’s not often you see people out alone with no reason but to just be. It’s always some kind of errand or a quick break from something. Try the same policy of not spending time on your phone if you want. People-watching is one of my favorite pastimes. Just be safe!
If you’re reading this thinking, “That sounds easier than it is,” you’re right. This is a process of self-care, learning to love yourself and all of your habits. You are not lonely because you are alone! It’s time to experiment with your entire life now that you can pull yourself away from everything else. Delving into spirituality has been a wonderful way for me to become more comfortable with who I am and make decisions that benefit myself more than others. Anything from meditation to journaling or painting can help create an outlet for your emotions you may have not known you needed. Maybe get some plants to tend to. Remind yourself that growth is a beautiful process that needs tending to, and you are absolutely worth that. It’s time to get to know yourself.