I’m in Europe this week on my own and I’m loving it. I started out my trip by meeting up with my brother, his fiancé, and a friend on Saturday for the Georgia Tech/Boston College game in Dublin (side note…Go Jackets! :)). After dinner that night, we said our goodbyes and parted ways.
I enjoyed another day in Dublin before moving onto to Scotland (I’m in Edinburgh now and will go to Glasgow later this week). While traveling on my own this week, it got me thinking about how comfortable I am with being on my own. I know it’s not something a lot of people enjoy and I think that’s a shame. You can enjoy being on your own and still have a healthy social life with others!
Being comfortable with being on your own is nothing more than simply enjoying your own company.
And…before we go further, let me make something clear. Being okay on your own isn’t limited to just the single ladies…even those of you happily coupled up can feel the benefits of being comfortable with being on your own.
I’ve always enjoyed time on my own…as an introvert, this comes a bit naturally to me. Being on my own is my personal heaven and I look forward to it. That’s not to say that I’m a hermit or that I don’t enjoy time with others…nothing could be farther from the truth.
While I’ve certainly had roommates in my younger years and have remained very close friends with a few, I’ve lived on my own for more years (of my adult life) than I’ve lived with others.
I absolutely adore living on my own. I can do whatever I want with my townhouse with no complaints. My space is my space. If I want to leave it a mess, I can. If I want to clean it up and leave it looking like a magazine spread, I can (I don’t…but I could if I wanted to!).
I actually enjoy living on my own so much that I don’t know what I’ll do when I meet some fantastic dude that I want to share my life with. Hey honey, would you mind living in the unit next door? That probably won’t fly, but that’s how much I love living solo!
When it comes to taking care of things around the house…I take care of it. Obviously, if it’s something that requires the skills of a professional (i.e. anything electrical and most things plumbing) I find the appropriate person to take on the job. But, I have a full set of power tools that I’m not afraid to bust out and use, my friends.
I also travel on my own. I started traveling for work right out of college, so I got pretty comfortable with solo travel years ago. When going international, I’d always tack on an extra day or two to have some time to explore on my own. With that said, I hadn’t traveled on a solo vacation until this past January. It’s been on my list to do for years, but time or other travels got in the way.
Now that I’ve done a few solo fun trips (including this international one), I love it! That doesn’t mean I’ll never travel with others…far from it. In fact, there are destinations on my list that I only want to experience with others, but if I want to go somewhere and none of my friends can or want to, then that doesn’t mean I have to sit at home. I’ll book that ticket and go experience it in all it’s glory!
My philosophy on being on my own is this...I don’t need someone else to take care of me, but that’s not to say I don’t, eventually, want someone else to share my life with. The benefit to my future dude is that it won’t be his responsibility to take care of me. His taking care of me will simply be part of his generosity and awesomeness, not a requirement because I can’t take care of myself (what a nice load off his shoulders, right?).
Benefits to Being Okay on Your Own
There are SO many benefits to getting to a place where you are comfortable on your own. I could literally talk your ear off on this topic, but I’ll keep this on point by highlighting the main benefits.
You get to live your life according to your rules
If the idea of wanting to follow your dreams, live your life, etc. appeals to you, then you have to be okay with being on your own. Even if you’re with someone, you can still be okay with being on your own as part of a healthy relationship.
When you are comfortable on your own and in your own skin, you don’t have to wait on anyone else to do what you need and/or want to do. You decide what you want to do with your life.
As you take care of things on your own, solve problems, and get things done, you learn how strong and smart you are. You know you can take care of yourself and that, my friend, is empowering.
Knowing you can handle whatever life throws at you builds an insane amounts of confidence. This confidence feeds your desire to do more on your own, which builds more confidence. It’s a beautiful circle!
Simply put…you write your own story. If you want to travel to that place you’ve longed to go to forever…you do it! You don’t have to wait for someone else to decide they can go too in order to make it happen. If you want to buy your own place, or move across the country, then you do it. You start living your life instead of waiting for it to happen.
Once you learn that you can take care of yourself, you know that if things knock you down, you’ll be okay. Setbacks don’t tend to hold you back because you get right back up and keep on going.
When you’re down, you won't stay there because you know how to pull yourself out of it.
Whether living on your own or traveling by yourself, you don’t have anyone else to depend on so you learn to take care of things.
Lost? You ask someone (if your phone doesn’t tell you where to go!).
Something breaks? You fix it (or figure out who can fix it for you if it’s something major).
Sick? You take care of yourself and nurse yourself back to good health (or you drive yourself to the doctor).
I’ve moved furniture up and down stairs because I needed it moved (tip…roll furniture pieces on it’s end to get it up or down stairs! And...go slow!). Youtube is a great resource to figure out how to fix things.
Basically…you do have the power, skills, and intelligence to do things you never thought you were capable of doing and being comfortable on your own will allow you to explore this (and if you’re in a relationship, it’ll give your guy a break from the honey-do list).
How to Be More Comfortable with Yourself
The number one rule to being more comfortable with being on your own is that you have to enjoy your own company. This means finding things you enjoy doing. Maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s doing yoga, maybe it’s going for a walk…it doesn’t matter so long as you enjoy spending your time doing it.
See Your Own Value
Its SO important to see your own value and worth outside of an attachment to another person. So many people think they are sub-human if they aren’t attached at the hip to someone else. This is so not true and only points to a lack of self-esteem and self-worth on behalf of that person.
Even if you’re not single, you can still see your own value outside of your connection with your other half.
If you can’t see your own value on your own, you’ll never be okay with being on your own.
Create your power mantras
If you’re not currently comfortable spending time with yourself or taking care of yourself, it will feel uncomfortable when you start to give it a try. That’s okay!! Sometimes when you’re in that uncomfortable place, you just have to suck it up and do it anyway.
This is where you are building your muscles and strength. To get you through this stage, having some power mantras to pull out to psych yourself up again can be really helpful. Example: I am strong, independent, and I’ve got this.
When you feel weak or uncomfortable, just repeat your power statement to yourself over and over until you believe it.
Keep the Assumptions in Check
Friendly reminder…people aren’t looking at you or noticing you nearly as much as you think they are. They’re too busy focusing on themselves.
But...even if they do notice you, so what? That doesn’t mean they’re thinking anything bad about you.
But…even if they’re thinking you’re the biggest loser on the planet, so what?? You don’t know them and whatever they’re thinking isn’t your business anyway.
The reality is you’ll never know what they’re thinking, so if you’re simply assuming it, then you’re making up a story (that likely isn’t true) and then feeling badly because of your own wild creativity!
Let go of the assumptions and pull out the power mantras. Rewrite the tape that’s playing in your head and you truly won’t give a damn what anyone else is thinking.
Maintain Your Network of Friends/Family
Make sure you do have a network of friends and/or family to reach out to when you do want some other connection. Being okay with being on your own doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit! I spend time with others regularly, but I don’t have a panic attack if they are busy and can’t hang out with me on the weekend.
Having a strong network of others will give you the ability to live a nicely balanced life of strong personal time and fun others time.
Give it Time
If you aren’t currently comfortable with solo time or activities…give it some time. You won’t suddenly start loving it overnight. Challenge yourself with some baby steps, remind yourself why you want to get more comfortable on your own, then give it a go!
When you feel the discomfort..and you will…use that as an opportunity to get to know yourself better instead of an excuse to stop. What is bothering you in that moment? What is likely not true about what you’re telling yourself in that moment (i.e. Everyone is looking at me and thinking I’m a loser because I’m by myself. How true is this??).
If you’d like a bit of a challenge, try these to start making some changes:
- Go eat at a restaurant by yourself. Take a notebook to jot down notes, ideas, or just to look busy (you could also bring a book or use your phone/tablet). Even if you start out at something like Panera, it’s a start!!
- Spend an entire weekend by yourself. For your weekend, do whatever you want, but fill it with activities you enjoy! If one full weekend is a bit too much to start with, just shoot for 24 hours.
- Go away for a weekend on your own. This doesn’t have to be far or even involve a plane, but go somewhere that will allow you to fend for yourself for an entire weekend…meals, entertainment, getting yourself there, etc.
- Go on a solo vacation. I'd recommend starting with the solo weekend, but if you're feeling adventurous, you can dive straight into this one! Pick a week, pick a place, pack your bags, and go enjoy yourself. Again, you don't have to spend the entire vacation alone...book a day trip or a tour. That's a great way to meet other people while on your solo travels.
Being independent and comfortable in your own skin can change your life if that’s not currently you. All the things you want to do, but are afraid to do on your own…think how it would feel to just go out and do them. Think how nice it would feel to not have to depend on anyone else!
Once you start living this way, you will feel a pride in yourself and it will shine confidence out of your pores! That will make you infinitely more interesting to others and others will admire you. But, more importantly, you will be more interesting to yourself and you will admire yourself. And that, my friends, is the true goal here!