Monday, November 22, 2010

How to be Alone

Photo: Google

Hello Optimists,

Of all the things that we humans do well, being alone is not one of them. We have this thing about it, that it just might be the worst thing in the world. Most of us wouldn't dare sit at a table for one and eat a meal with only ourselves. No, no.... that wouldn't look good. That would look lonely.  And we don't want to look lonely. 

So we take out our cell phones and talk cheerfully to the silence on the other end. We flip open a book whose pages don't turn, but rather stay as a centerpiece to keep our attention from meeting the eyes of others who are sitting happily with others. We gulp down our meal in hopes that this spare time will go by quickly and our solitude will go unnoticed.

So what is it about being with ourselves that is so wrong? Well, I'm not really sure, because personally, I like it. Of course I certainly enjoy the company of others and look forward to meeting with friends, but if I find myself accompanied by only me, I am perfectly okay with that too. I figure if I'm not comfortable enough with myself to be in my own presence, then how can I hope that others would enjoy spending time with me? Besides, I get my best thinking done when I'm alone. I find that some of my best conversations in life are those I've had with myself in my own head.

I came across this video the other day which puts this whole "being alone" thing into perspective, so I hope you can take a few minutes to view it. Fittingly, it's called "How to be Alone" and I think you'll find it quite refreshing...

I just love this little video. So many of the things said in here are just right on, and so for today's featured quote, I chose to feature one of the verses from the poem...
"'Cuz if you're happy in your head then solitude is blessed and alone is okay." -How to be Alone
I like this verse in particular because I think it's so important to be happy in your own head.  Once we have achieved this, we will find that being alone is a freedom that we should take advantage of more often. So if you find yourself in a moment of solitude, "resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone", relax, and enjoy the peace that you can bring to your own life. I hope this inspires you to welcome "alone time" in your life, or if nothing else, to stop dreading being by yourself.

I'd love if you would share your thoughts on this video and/or on your perspective on being alone. Feel free to leave comments below!

Keep Smiling,


  1. Like you I have never had a problem having 'alone' time, in fact is something I find I need.

  2. This is a very cool video that I can identify with very well. I've always been a loner and have spent much time alone. That's probably why I gravitate toward writing.

    When I was younger I would sometimes go hiking and camping by myself because I enjoyed the solitude. I also enjoyed doing those activities with others at other times.

    I like to travel by myself, but it's also fun to travel with another person who can enjoy the experience with me.

    Sometimes I feel awkward eating in a restaurant by myself, but I think it's mostly because I'm taking up a whole table. I usually don't eat at counters--maybe I should try that sometimes.

    I have met some cool people and had some excellent conversations when I've been by myself. I may have a tendency toward being a loner, but I'm not some weird antisocial person who can't get along with others.

    I love people and being with people, but I'm also my own best friend. I can guarentee you though that I'm not going to some club and dance alone--I don't really enjoy going to clubs.

    Enjoyed your post, my dear. It made me think--I like to think when I'm alone. Just because I'm alone doesn't mean I'm lonely.

    Tossing It Out

  3. I think being alone also has helped me trust myself better.

    - Vanessa
    Project Zen

  4. @Linda: Glad you can relate- and I think it's always good to have some quality alone time! :)

    @Lee: Thanks for such a thoughtful comment. Being your own best friend is really great- and it's something not a lot of people have the ability to do! I also find that I'm never really alone when I'm by myself...being in my own company is just as good as being with others.

    @Vanessa: So true! If you can be by yourself and be comfortable with it, you definitely gain a sense of're never looking for the opinion of others to make your decisions. Definitely a plus of learning to be independent!

  5. I have no problem being alone. I've lived alone for over ten years now and nothing makes me happier then being able to come and go as I please. Love coming home to solitude. No one telling me:
    --Go to bed
    --OMG don't you think you should clean in here
    --Wow! You spend too much time on the computer

    I have the BEST group of friends I've EVER had in my life and the ABSOLUTE BEST friend I've EVER EVER had. So it's not that I'm alone ALL the time. Quite to the contrary. I work in a public library where I'm always interacting w/the public and I love that too.

    At heart I really am a people person, I understand that I'd be miserable locked in an office or a cubicle all day. But I like my alone time too. I guess it's all a matter of balance, right?

  6. What a great topic. I must confess that before I looked at the video, my first thought -- in seeing the initial image -- was, "she's not alone! She has a cat." And that made me wonder... would I enjoy my alone time as much if I didn't have cats? I don't know how to answer that question because I've never been without them, but I do believe I have no qualms about being alone. And I feel sad for people who cannot be at peace with their own company.


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