Society has wired our brains to believe that being by ourselves is a bad thing. Single? Go out and find a lover. Living alone? Are you crazy? Out to eat by yourself? I feel so sorry for that person. Yes, humans need to be social to maintain a happy and meaningful life (it’s scientifically proven), but that doesn’t mean that being alone can’t help you reach these same goals. I often find myself in conversation with friends and coworkers about how they would never go out to eat or travel alone, live by themselves, or attend a social event without a friend or group. As human beings, we are social creatures and we crave interaction. There, however, remains a social stigma that being by yourself is a bad thing.
Even though it’s well into the 21st century, and ideals about relationships and living situations are much different than they were back than in the mid-twentieth century, society is still learning that it’s okay to be alone. While I do enjoy the company of others, I’ve always considered myself an “outgoing introvert.” I do enjoy the company of others, but I also need time to myself to recharge. I even actually prefer to do some activities alone, although some do still give me anxiety. Today I’m destroying the stigma with 5 reasons why doing things alone isn’t a bad thing.
1. You See Things In a Different Perspective
When we are surrounded by others it is very easy to become influenced by other’s opinions, whether you agree with them or not. Have you ever heard of the term groupthink? The psychological desire for conformity within a group often leads an individual to make irrational decisions they probably wouldn’t have made if they were alone. To put it simply, when you’re alone in certain situations you have time to process your own decisions and opinions without the influence of others. I like taking walks or sitting in a park by myself to collect my thoughts and observe. Bringing along a journal to capture these thoughts is a great way to reflect back on it as well.
2. You’re In Control Your Situation
One activity I prefer to do by myself is to go shopping for one simple reason: I am in control of how much time I spend looking around, trying on clothes, and deciding (which takes a while because I’m indecisive) if I will actually purchase an item. I have also noticed that I tend to be a faster browser than my friends, because I like to know what I am shopping for. This also helps you to budget your money, instead of just going crazy and buying everything you see, or because your friend is egging you on because “it looks so cute on you!” Do you really need another pair of black shoes? (Okay, I might…) I also find it really therapeutic to shop by myself!
3. Helps You Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
The thought of going out to eat alone or to a concert by yourself may seem like a scary thought…but once you actually do it, you gain a sense of pride and accomplishment. If we don’t do things that seem difficult or daunting, will we ever grow as a person? I like to compare this situation to working out…if we don’t push ourselves to do those few extra push ups or run that extra mile, will we ever become stronger? It may seem like a cheesy analogy, but (mental) pain is gain.
4. Makes You More Independent
This kind of goes along with getting out of your comfort zone. Since moving into an apartment by myself, I have become so much more independent. I pay my own bills, I clean my own dishes, I watch my favorite tv shows, etc. Basically I have the capability of sticking to my routines and daily goals without the interference of a roommate who may need to talk or want to hangout.
5. You’ll Inspire Others
When you begin to embrace the idea of being alone and put yourself into real life situations, such as at a restaurant or concert, other people will notice your confidence. Instead of thinking that everyone is judging you, more times than likely those exact people are thinking to themselves, “wow, I wish I had their courage to be here by myself!” You essentially become an inspiration to others who may want to try things alone, but are afraid to. In doing so you will inspire yourself and boost your confidence!
And those are my five reasons why doing things by yourself doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Obviously I love hanging out with my friends & family and talking to people. I don’t think I could deal with being alone all the time, since I’m not a creature of solitude! But when you become drained of social activity, just remember that it’s okay to do things solo.
How do you feel about doing things alone? Are you an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between? What is something you have done alone that you initially were afraid to do, but realized it wasn’t so bad after?
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