Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Benefits Of Being Alone

After spending my first official holiday by myself, I can attest to the fact that spending time alone can be both healthy and enjoyable. Being in college, I am constantly around people, from my friend group to my teachers and classmates to the 20-something handing me my fries on a midnight McDonalds run (yeah that happens). Human beings are designed to be social but it's easy to get so caught up in attending every school event, going to every meal with a buddy and "doing homework" with a "study companion" (let's be real, not a whole lot of homework actually gets done). 

Here are four reasons why I think flying solo every once in a while can be beneficial. 

1. You can do whatever you want. There are no demands from others or appointments to make or plans to keep. If what you want is to watch 8+ hours of Netflix, then you're free to do just that & no one will judge you or interrupt unless you let them. 

2. You learn to be more independent. When no one is there to do things for you or influence decisions you need to make, you learn to trust your instinct & do what is best for you. The bowl that is now dirty from the cereal you ate before bed? Yep, you will need to clean that because no one else is going to do it for you. Laundry, vacuuming & keeping a strict eating & sleeping schedule are the same way. The more you practice this, the less lazy you will be & you will also learn to trust yourself more which is what we all want, right?

3. You appreciate family & friends more. FaceTiming my whole family on Easter Sunday & finally seeing my roommate again after five days apart made me realize how much I tend to take them for granted. Always having someone around & not giving it much thought is comforting, but if we get so used to them being there, it diminishes their worth & leads us to rely on them way too much. "Distance makes the heart grow fonder" is cliché but true. 

4. You learn to be content with yourself. The constant opinions and comments from others on every little aspect of our lives can be helpful but harmful. Again, it makes us rely on them and what they think is best. It's important to have a solid group of friends who truly want what is best for you & who will do whatever it takes to make you better, but it is easy to start trusting the wrong people and believe everything that everyone tells you. Taking some time to isolate yourself from constant socialization forces you to reflect on yourself & your own actions. It is a great time to journal & even go to the chapel & spend some quiet time in prayer or meditation. 

Being alone and learning to be O.K. with it is a necessary & natural part of growing up. One cannot face their demons if they never give themselves the opportunity. Focusing on doing what is best for you will make you feel more in touch with yourself & if you're struggling with knowing who you are or staying true to yourself, taking this time is pertinent. It can also help your relationships with others, as contradicting as that seems. Knowing who you are & being happy with it is attractive to others & adds an element of maturity & stability to friendships and relationships. 

Being a fairly outgoing and talkative person, I often get comments from my friends or family asking if I'm okay when I'm quiet or "anti-social". I don't blame them at all, seeing as it is my primary personality to be social, but sometimes I recognize that I need to remove myself, either physically, verbally or both in order to get back in touch with myself & calm myself down. I'm learning to be O.K. with being alone, but it is still a slim line to balance on between being alone & being lonely. 

What are your tips for spending time alone? Do you find it to be beneficial to you?
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