Saturday, August 6, 2011

Public service announcement: being alone is OK!

Today I had a great day (I’ll admit it, a nap in the afternoon would have made it even better). I mean, a one of those really good days when you wake up energized, positive and relaxed, when you get to do the zillion little things you only have time for during the weekend and enjoy every minute of it. As I sat down in the food court of a mall waiting for my delicious smoothie to be made, I noticed that I was the only one sitting alone at the table. And it dawned on me that not only did I look alone, I was alone! And that, and this was the big blow, it didn’t feel bad at all!!!

You see, I lived most of my life being afraid to be alone. Looking back, I guess it had a lot to do with the big pot of disastrous relationships that my family was. For a long time I watched people hurting each other, and so I craved from a very young age for quality human interaction. I treasured every smile, every small kind gesture anyone has ever made towards me. I worked really hard to keep my mother, my friends or my boyfriend happy. I put people and relationships above anything else.

And then a few years ago I was lucky enough to lose my job and face some serious health issues. Yes, lucky. It sucked then, but those circumstances were a natural test of myself and all my relationships. And I came to realize that when the going gets tough all those outward resources we count on might not be there. And that the strength we find in ourselves is infinite. I stopped needing others so much, and I became more selective about the people I spend time with. What I needed was not only another job, but also more attention as to who I spend my time with. And that experience opened a whole new path for me, a path that eventually led to this wonderful day I spent entirely on my own today.

Today I live my being alone fear, and guess what, it isn’t all that frightening. There are things much worse than being alone. Cancer. Being homeless. Losing a child. Loneliness is … relative. It comes and goes. It’s a lot in our heads, so we control it. It has its downsides, but it has up sides as well.

So here’s what I’m going to teach my children, if I will ever have any: love yourself. Take care of yourself. Appreciate what you have, and give yourself what gives you joy. Enjoy yourself, because it’s the one company you’ll have at all time, your entire life. And don’t be afraid – real life simply isn’t that scary.


  1. I am that kid. That kid who was taught to love himself more than anyone else. I take my energy from my solitude but sometimes I want to sacrifice my temporary well being and put my friends upfront. And I can't.

    I strive for people love and affection deep inside me and I am trying really hard to open myself and make new friends. But I'm disappointed of this bargain : "give something that I need and I'll give something that you want" that a friendship or any relationship comes to into the end

    have you experienced this kind of "commercialness" also?

    or it's just me, being selfish?

  2. I think it's great you love yourself above others, as for the bargain, as long as it's a fair one, I don't really mind it. I mean, if you look at it like that, our entire life is a series of trades, isn't it?

  3. For a long, long time, I did not think it was okay to love myself and i thought I was lacking if I was alone. Only now do I realize that both beliefs are so incredibly wrong. When I let go of these thoughts, my life changed and it opened up the opportunity to know myself and to like myself.

  4. @Elizabeth - it's strange how we get to have this beliefs, and how popular they are! Thank you for sharing.