“Sometimes you need to take a break from everyone and spend time alone to experience, appreciate, and love yourself.” – Robert Tew
Loneliness is something that everyone struggles with, whether they have loads of friends, or not. Everyone, at some point, finds themselves alone, looking aimlessly out a window or at a wall, encased in darkness, surrounded by silence. Sure, this description may seem exaggerated, but sometimes loneliness does feel this way—feeling lonely is not exactly a fun time.
Just the other night, I was alone in my dorm doing homework when a wave of loneliness washed over me. It didn’t make sense—I had just been on a week-long trip with my friends, and earlier than day I was hanging out at my boyfriend’s house with his parents, and then we visited my parents, and then him and I hung out even more. Basically, I had been preoccupied with people that I love dearly for over a week; it wasn’t like I had been alone for an extended amount of time and needed someone to talk to. But, I felt lonely anyways, and that’s when I began asking myself why.
It’s quite annoying, really, how common loneliness is. According to Fortune.com, 56% of 20,000 Americans interviewed feel that no one really understands them, and 40% feel that they have no friends, or that their relationships aren’t meaningful. Young people, too, have a more likely chance of feeling lonely.
This needs to change.
There’s a quote I like that goes, “If you enjoy the person you’re with when you’re alone, how can you ever be lonely?” The key to conquering loneliness is learning how to first love yourself, but not just your outward appearance or your place in the world, but all of your quirks. You must love all of the things that make you, you.
When you are alone, your size doesn’t matter, and neither does the amount of friends you have. What matters is who you are when you’re alone. What do you like to do? What thoughts race through your head? Who are you, truly?
Of course, just loving yourself and instantly not feeling lonely isn’t a thing. It takes time and practice to fully appreciate who you are. So, here are some things that you can do to help you feel a little more okay with being alone.
1) Stop fearing alone time
I don’t know about you, but the thought of being alone terrifies me. I wake up in the morning and think to myself, I’m going to be alone tonight, and my body tenses. I do everything in my power to ensure that I’m not alone, like inviting people to dinner to attending campus events. While it’s good to be involved and to go out with people, it’s also important to realize that being alone can be (or is) a great thing.
A friend told me once that to really make your alone time more exciting, you should do things that make you happy and also strengthen you as a person. That way, alone time isn’t just pointless YouTube watching or moping around, which leads me to my next tip…
2) Begin a personal project
Write a book, paint a picture, photoshop things, begin a business (marketing, editing, etc.), make things to sell on Etsy, finally read that book, start a blog, plan out your future, start a challenge… anything, really. Do things that strengthen you as a person, and do them only when you’re completely alone. And play your favorite music while you’re at it. This way, feeling lonely turns into feeling productive. And being alone is a special time, rather than sad.
3) Start exercising, or get up and moving
This may sound repetitive, or at least, I’m sure you hear this a lot. But, it’s true; exercise is great for you, and will help get your positive juices flowing. Whether it’s just a little bit of yoga at night, or a run in the afternoon, or some intense weight-lifting every day, or even just a morning stroll at various times… getting up and moving will help you feel happier, healthier, and you won’t have much time to sit around and reflect on loneliness. In fact, try to workout (it doesn’t matter how) three times a week, and simply feel the difference in your mental health. It’ll amaze you.
4) Call your mom, or someone you love
The truth is, we don’t call our moms enough, or anyone else, really. We rely on texting, and I don’t know about you, but when I’m on my phone aimlessly texting many different people all at once for hours, it gets stressful and feels a little bland, maybe a bit boring. So, start calling people, randomly, spontaneously, and ask them how they are, make them feel good. Your mom will appreciate it, at least, and you too will feel a whole lot better. And, hey! Now you have someone to speak with!
5) Treat yourself to a date
Whether it’s going to your favorite coffee shop and buying your favorite drink, or going to a bookstore and buying yourself a book, or taking a drive into Dallas, or going to see a movie, taking yourself out can be a magical thing. Oftentimes, we want to do things, but we wait until someone is available. But, really? Just go now. I mean, what are you really waiting for? A bit of small talk with someone you hardly know? Good company, maybe? The fact is, you are already in the best company now, with yourself.
You don’t need anyone else to make you happy. All you need is you. And, if you don’t think this way, I have news for you....
6) It’s time to change your thoughts
It may seem impossible, to go from thinking, “I have no friends, I am always alone,” to “I love myself, and I don’t mind being alone,” but really, it’s not so difficult. Start repeating daily affirmations in the mirror first thing in the morning, or whenever loneliness strikes.
Nobody likes negative, sad people anyways. I apologize if this sounds harsh, but it’s true. The happier you are, truly, in the presence of only yourself, the more people will be drawn to you, the less you’ll feel like you have to force people to hang out.
You are an amazing soul, living an amazing life. If you’re feeling down and alone, it’s kind of your fault, because the only person telling yourself that you’re lonely is, well, you.
So, if you’re still feeling lonely, even after trying out all of the tips above, I suggest you conquer those thoughts once and for all, and change your brain, and live your happiest life while it’s still present to you.
Loneliness can be defeated. Together, let’s work to bring the loneliness statistics down by loving ourselves a little bit more and trusting that out of every situation, there is purpose. And by being alone, great things will come of it.
You’ve got this!