Rather, this is what me being alone looks like for me. Not just single, but alone. I find that sometimes people struggle with this concept and look at it as something to be afraid or ashamed of. I was like that once, so I thought I'd share what being both single and independent looks like for me. This isn't every aspect of it but just a quick share.
1. Take care of yourself.
I’m not sure if you’re into introspection but I love knowing why people are the way they are. What makes people tick etc. On the Enneagram, I am a 2. My Meyers Briggs personality is an ENFJ. I’m also a Hufflepuff (lol, but seriously). One quality that ties these things together is that I am a “giver” Coincidentally, I often feel like I am a producer, an editor, a curator. I see the end result, the bigger picture and I see the best in people. This makes me want to constantly help, always say yes but it can sometimes be to my detriment because I forget about myself. I often put others before me. I put time and energy and care into the lives of others to the point where I neglect myself. I’m the person that feels guilty when I can’t or don’t want to be everything for everybody. I know that I can't be alone in this.
Introspection, over the years, has made me significantly more aware of these things and now I make a point to intentionally love myself. I know people throw the self-care term around a lot these days but I believe it’s because we have all been neglecting ourselves for so long and at this point, we are in denial.
Remember my blog post where my world was somewhat falling apart and I was unsure of absolutely everything? That week, I went to bible study, listened to worship music, hung out with friends, ate junk food but you want to know the main thing that lifted my mood and made me feel better? A mani-pedi. Sitting in that spa chair literally gave me life and made me feel like a new person. It was EXACTLY what I needed and I didn't even realize it.
My pre-bed night time routine is extensive. On a great night, I’m taking a shower with lights off, candles lit, music playing, exfoliating with my lavender body scrub. Then, I’m applying oils and serums and watching a YouTube video or listening to a podcast. I’m rounding off the night, nice and greasy, laughing at Bob’s Burgers.
I don’t these things because I’m vain or bougie or extra, I do them because it’s the way I’ve committed to caring for myself every day. I do it for my sanity. It’s an hour of my day I’ve blocked out to do things only for myself.
Self-care is important when you are alone because you if you don’t take care of yourself when you are by yourself, another person won’t make a difference. Also, if you don’t take care of you, you can’t take care of anyone else.
2. Date and Get to Know You
Something I realized in my mid-twenties was that I knew a lot about a lot of things but not much about myself. I knew what I did, my routines, my occupation but I didn’t truly know ME. Things like the aforementioned personality tests have contributed to the cause but really I had to spend time alone, intentionally, with me.
This concept has evolved and changed over the years. I take walks, I go to the movies, museums. I put my headphones in and lose myself in my thoughts or I don’t. Sometimes I feel chatty, and I’ll strike up a conversation with a stranger that has peaked my interest. Going to the movies alone has become one of my favorite things. I’ll have nights in where I’ll watch a rom-com I’ve seen a million times while masking and deep conditioning my hair. I’ll go to the most hipster coffee shop I can find and write in my journal. My point is, do the things you love to do, the things that bring you joy and make you unique. And do those things with yourself. Be the life of your own party. You are enough.
3. Have a Strong Community
Ok. I know this may sound contradictory to the title of this post, but it’s important to have a community of friends, family, and people who respect your periods of alone time that will be there, waiting and un-offended when you re-emerge. After a couple of days of “you” time, you don’t want to call your friend and hear her passive-aggressively complain about how she can’t believe you went to see Black Panther without her, or how she doesn’t understand how you watched 50 First Dates for the 50th time. If your alone time was spent uncovering some things, or healing, or simply resting, you don’t want someone pressing you for every single detail while you are still processing those things.
Also, while it’s great to be alone, I don’t believe it’s always beneficial to stay alone. While there are seasons where being alone may just be our circumstances or even needed, it’s important to have people to meet up with, face time, or call and engage with who love and support you unconditionally.
I hope that if you struggle with the concept of being 'alone' that some of these things got your wheels turning about how to better enjoy your own company. If you love spending time with yourself, let me know what it looks like for you.