How to enjoy spending time with yourself.

Photo credits : Beth Harris

Photo credits : Beth Harris

There is nothing more important that being comfortable doing things alone, enjoying spending time with yourself, for yourself.

Since our childhood, we have learnt to do everything as a group. Every activity, every trip was meant to be done and enjoyed with the company of other people, whether they were friends, family or boy/girlfriends. And although it is important to learn to appreciate time with others, it seems even more essential to be able to enjoy time with only yourself. The problem with getting used to do everything with company, is that now, some things can seem weird done on your own. I myself, am someone who loves doing things on my own (sometimes even rather than with people). Going to the cinema and exhibitions alone, having coffee alone, shopping alone. And most of the time, people’s reaction to that is surprise, in addition to the usual response which is always something like “What? I couldn’t do that !“. Well, that’s exactly what I am talking about.

One reason for this is that the very idea of someone alone has a negative connotation in our societies. We have integrated that being alone is something to be sad about, that a fulfilled person is someone who manages to surround themselves with loving and caring people - at all time. When taking a close look at TV series, movies, advertisements, a supposedly happy person is always someone with people around them. And the weirdo, the misfit, is always all alone, seating at the corner. We’ve all once seen someone eating alone at the restaurant and felt bad for them. But what if that person actually enjoyed that alone time? What if that was a choice? Society doesn’t even consider that as a possibility : an alone person is a sad person - full stop.

Second reason : the fear of feeling stupid : “What should I do now? Are people looking at me because I am seating in this café alone? Is it odd for me to be here without anyone?”. It can be quite a strange feeling at first. Some of us like to get caught in their own thoughts and do a bit of daydreaming, other would rather bring a book and read or even listen to music. The point isn’t to look or feel productive in anyway, the goal is to feel comfortable with yourself. This is a real challenge that will allow you to work on yourself on many levels. That is the occasion to work on your “fuck it” mindset. People are staring? F*ck it ! Plus, we never grow more than when we feel uncomfortable (i.e outside of our comfort zone). Feeling awkward seating in the theater by yourself ? Good! At the end of the movie, you’ll realize that it was actually nothing and you’ll feel so proud of yourself ! And the good news is that it gets easier every time! However, going out is not necessary to learn to enjoy your own company. Just spending time at home reading a book or - insert here your favorite activity- is enough.

For all the reasons described above, learning to enjoy your own company can be quite difficult, as it requires to detach yourself from the general idea that “the more the merrier” and that being alone is something sad and uncomfortable.

It is in fact  a major step towards self love, self acceptance and self confidence.

The obvious reason is that the first person we live with is ourselves, so better to feel comfortable right? There is nothing sadder than someone who constantly needs an other person to do and enjoy things. To be able to rely on people is a very positive and important thing but you mostly need to be able rely on yourself. And of course, as human beings we all feel the need for social interactions because we are social animals. But we should be able to be our first source of entertainment, be our first friend. Take yourself out for brunch, go see that exhibition you wanted to see so bad, make yourself laugh and look forward to do things alone. Being able to do that makes you feel so strong and gives you loads of self confidence as you learn to be your own person. Plus, sharing time with others is even more valuable when spending time with yourself is the most precious thing.  

By Jessica Ayinda