A skill lost in the 21st Century...have you lost it too?
Updated: Jul 3, 2019
The skill of being completely alone and content has been lost, it’s been forgotten. I don’t mean being alone with the tv or radio on, not alone while being drunk or high….alone, as in ALONE! Alone and undistracted with only your thoughts to entertain you.
When was the last time you did that?
This 'art-form' is hardly spoken of. It's definitely not taught in school or university. It’s basically been forgotten and ‘shoved under the rug’. Being undistracted and alone is something we don’t do anymore. Life is far too busy and demanding. To make it worse, when we accidentally find ourselves alone…we pull out our phone to call someone or scroll through social media. God forbid we sit there and do nothing…how weird and awkward.
It’s not your fault you don’t have this skill. The fast pace of society makes it almost impossible for us to make time to learn how to be alone. You have to make a conscious effort and even then…it’s still hard!
Why is it important to be alone and undistracted?
When you are alone, it’s the best time to face, fight and beat your ‘demons’. How else can you? No one will conquer them for you, only you can! You hold all the power, but you are the one standing in your way. The ‘demons’ I refer to are bad choices we’ve made that could be amazing life-lessons once we confront them.
What’s the secret to mastering the skill of being alone?
Sorry, there is none :-( Unfortunately, it’s very simple…you just have to do it! You have to practise it. It will be hard in the beginning, but over time, it will become extremely enjoyable and satisfying. You will make time for it because you’ll understand it’s value.
A crucial component to enjoying your own company is to trust and respect yourself. It sounds cliché, I know, but it’s true. Would you want to spend quality-time with someone you don’t trust or respect?
On a side note, the only way to start trusting and respecting yourself is to constantly make good decisions. Over time, your good decisions will result in feeling good about yourself. You’ll realise life is better when you can count on yourself to do the right thing. Setting up moral boundaries is imperative to being consistent with your decisions. I’ll write more about this specific topic in another article.
I’ll reluctantly give you a personal example :-)
A few years ago, I really liked a guy and he liked me back. It was the biggest crush I’d had in a long time. He was handsome, cultured and respectful. I couldn’t get him out of my head, it was all-consuming. I decided to meditate on it. After a few hours…a penny dropped! No matter how much I liked him, there were too many things working against us, it was doomed no matter how much I liked him. As soon as my sub-conscious communicated that realisation to me conscious…I was free. I no longer thought about him, and all it took to figure it out was undistracted time alone.
This is a very personal topic for me. There was a time when being alone was completely impossible for me. From 18-25, I was constantly making bad decisions that left me feeling disgusted with myself. I simply could not be alone, or my conscience would 'eat me alive'. When I was alone, I was drunk and/or high watching tv or listening to music. If I was truly alone, I would end up crying…there were no exceptions.
My demons had power over me, I wasn’t ready to face them, I had to keep them quiet no matter what! The longer I cowered away, the worse it got. The more I pushed them away, the stronger they got. The stronger they got, the more ‘noise’ I had to make to keep them quiet. It’s a vicious cycle, if you’ve been in it before…you know exactly what I mean.
For me, faith helped me out of these dark times. Well…it was also a really bad experience that shocked me out of my ‘trance’. I’ll go into that another time. If God could forgive me, I could forgive me too. It didn’t happen overnight; it took years of practise for me to learn how to trust myself enough to enjoy my own company. After making enough good decisions in a row, I started to respect myself. I started being proud of who I was, and who I wanted to be.
My Mum used to always comment on how social I was, and that I could never be alone. She was right then, but now…things are different. I still get lonely sometimes. I still have demons lurking around, but I control when they show their face. I still ‘beat myself up’ over the past but then I sigh and say out loud ‘it’s ok Monica, I forgive you…let’s not waste energy on regrets’.
You can do it too!
I promise you, every minute you dedicate to yourself will be worth it! Not just to you, but to everyone in your life.
My advice to begin learning this skill is to start by finding something you enjoy doing alone that doesn’t require any noise at all. Hiking, drawing, driving, writing, sunsets, sunrises…it doesn’t matter. Just find something you can enjoy…alone!
Start there, and the rest will follow.
If you need help or guidance, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll help you as much as I can. I might sound ‘high and mighty’ in my articles but I’ve been at the ‘lowest of lows’. I still find it hard to believe that I’m writing advice to people after what I’ve done to myself in the past. I can relate to you; I can relate to your mistakes and failings. I want to use my experience to help others, so give me a chance to do that J