How to Know When You Need to Be Alone (& How to Grow From Your Alone Time)

You, yes you, probably need to spend some time alone.

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Photo by Caleb Frith on Unsplash

In our hyper-connected world, we all need alone time. Yes, even you. You probably need it more than you think.

I’m not just talking about a night with your couch, Netflix, and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s peanut butter cup ice cream (though that sounds like heaven); I’m talking about disconnecting from screens and distractions and being really alone — mind, body, and soul.

Do I Need Alone Time?

Here’s how to know if you need to spend some much-needed time with yourself.

You need to be alone when you cannot find a happy home within yourself. When you are scared — absolutely terrified– of being alone. When you seek shelter within the home of someone else’s arms to distract you from yourself. Though you may want someone to save you from your own chaos, you need to be your own knight in shining armor.

You need to be alone when your psyche aches in exhaustion — no matter how many hours you’ve slept. Though your eyes shut no matter the hour, you don’t really get true rest. True alone time will calm the demons that taunt you inside your head and quell the nerves in your stomach. You need to be alone, you need to feel and sort your feelings, and you need to fix the things that are causing your exhaustion — this is something only a refreshed and focused mind can do.

You need to be alone when you are unhappy and your outsides don’t reflect your insides. When you smile through the pains of the day, accepting that your shortcomings define who you are and will never change. When you need someone else to break down the walls in your head you’ve built, relying on them to help you feel the world differently. You need to be alone when you want so badly to love and to be loved but you just can’t get there. Love will only come to those who are at peace in their own minds.

You need to be alone whenever you sense you need to be (or are terrified to be), when you’re lost, when you’re found, when you’re broken, when you’re whole — even if that thought absolutely terrifies you.

And if you’re anything like me, it does terrify you.

Even when it doesn’t feel like it, spending time alone can be the best thing for you. But how? What are you looking for in your abyss of alone-ness?

How to Work On Yourself When You’re Alone

Whether it’s be by choice or circumstance, you are bound to be alone at certain points in your life. So take those moments, turn off your phone and TV, and search for YOU.

Here is where you should start:

  1. Step one is to value spending time alone with yourself. Practice just being alone with your thoughts — how does it feel? It gets easier with practice, I promise.
  2. Listen for your true inner voice. What is your inner voice saying? Have you been ignoring her? Have you been allowing other people to drown her out?
  3. Be an observer — really looking at the world without judgment. Observe yourself looking at the world. How do your experiences color the things you see?
  4. Learn how to talk to yourself … tip: it’s probably the same way you talk to others. And practice.
  5. Focus on the things that bring substance to your life. Whether that’s media you truly love to consume (rather than random Instagram scrolling), or activities you truly love to do (rather than activities you use as distractions from your feelings), focus on those as part of your alone time.
  6. Find something creative to try, give yourself permission to suck, and create, create, create.

For more on this, Bustle has a great post on how to spend time alone and actually enjoy your alone time.

Do you spend time alone?

I can’t say it enough: being alone is not always easy — literally or figuratively.

But, we owe it to others, and more importantly ourselves, to build the most meaningful relationship we can with the one who is most important: you.

Because wherever we arrive, life deserves every little piece of who we are.

I want to hear from you in the comments below!

What do you think about being alone? How has your self-reflection shaped you?

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