The beauty of spending time with yourself
I used to think that being on my own was the absolute worst thing ever. I would dread it. It got even worse when I started university, which was not convenient as university tends to be both the busiest and loneliest years of your life. I had to constantly pester my friends to hang out with me so I didn’t have to spend even an hour on my own in my uni halls. If I absolutely had to be on my own, then I would usually just have a nap. I found myself THAT annoying that I had to be unconscious in order to put up with myself.
But you know what, it is simply not pragmatic to constantly require people around you in order to not go crazy. They’ve got their own stuff to do, and they’re not going to always be around whenever you need someone to eat crisps and watch Lizzie McGuire with you. The reality of it is – you’re going to be with yourself for a pretty damn long time, so you might as well learn to put up with you.
I think it starts from changing the phrase from ‘I’m on my own’, to ‘I’m spending time with myself’. You are not on your own, you have not been abandoned. You are a completely valid choice of person to hang out with. And also, a GREAT choice, might I add. Take your diary, and pencil in a day with yourself, just like you would write down meeting your pal for a coffee on Tuesday. Or even take yourself on a hot date! Get all dressed up in your favourite shirt, and the trousers that make you feel like strutting with your head held high wherever you go, and go to a gig on your own. Go to the cinema on your own – no one talks to each other in there anyway, so what’s the problem?
I love going out on days out on my own for a lot of reasons, but also because I get to choose everything. There aren’t any arguments about where we want to go and eat, because I want a big fat pizza from The Stable and no one can stop me. No one gets fed up when I spend too long in the stationery aisle of Tiger trying to decide on the perfect journal that I already own in 10 different colours anyway. I can go where I want and see what I please. I can spend as long as I want in the museums. I can stand staring at the same painting for hours if I choose, and I can go around the exhibition as many times as I want, because it excites me in a way that no one else I’ve ever met understands.
I’m not suggesting you completely isolate yourself from all of your friends just because I’ve now made you realise how great you are to hang out with. Please don’t do that. I’m just saying it is so important to NOT depend on other people for your happiness. You decide how you feel, and other people are merely an addition to that, because no one else is going to make you feel good about yourself. You were born as a complete entity, with your own body and brain, and you will remain that way for a pretty damn long time.
If you feel like you are not complete when you are on your own, like I did for a very long time, then take some time off. Maybe even cancel some plans. Spend a few days with yourself. Take a note of what your brain tells ya, what you’re craving. And pay attention to it. You’re craving a phat box of Cadbury’s chocolate fingers? Do it. You want to start writing a novel? Fuck it, do it right now. You fancy crying into your pillow whilst watching 13 going on 30 on repeat? Go for it. You only get to truly know yourself when you have the time and space to be the most authentic you that you can be. And that will come when you learn to enjoy your own company. It’s not lonely, it’s not pathetic and it’s not sad being on your own. It’s fuckin’ beautiful and cool as hell.
I’m gonna finish this lil piece with a snippet from a speech by Tracee Ellis Ross who is one of my biggest inspirations. She’s here to remind ya that your life is YOURS and no one elses. Anyone else who happens to stumble into the path of your life is there by chance, but ultimately, you are the only permanent. If you need a celebrity idol to look up to, Tracee is ya woman. (also she is Diana Ross’ daughter, so there’s that.)
“My life is mine. Those words, like, stopped me in my tracks. And, honestly, they brought tears to my eyes. It seems so obvious, but, obviously, it wasn't, because I have not been living my life as if it was my own.
Beings at the height of their own resonance, their own selfness, fully in bloom, that's what bravery and beauty looks like. But, most of all, because the brave me reminds me that I am complete just as I am, not in relation to anything else, just wholly and fully me.
The brave you gives you the courage to hold your own agency, your own choice, your own desire, your own longings, your own fear and your own future. She's just one aspect of your soul that helps you become the fully embodied and completely integrated real, true self.
And I think she's in each of you right now, in your journal, in the back of your mind, somewhere in your heart, waiting for your invitation. So I invite you all, if you haven't already, to let her out. To let her have her glory. This beautiful, powerful part of you is just waiting for the invitation.”
Words by Rosie Smith