Recently, I told a colleague that I was going to have dinner alone. She looked at me like I told her I was going to go indulge in a sacrifice to Satan. She then proceeded to tell me that she is there if I need company. But I didn't need company to begin with.
Another time, I was telling my friends about how I want to travel alone over the weekend. Once again, there was judgement but more than that there was pity. "Don't travel alone. No one should have to do it. That is just sad," is what a friend said.
These instances forced me to ponder over questions that I have been troubled by for quite some time:
Why is spending time alone still a stigma? Why are people who like doing things alone considered lonely?
The problem here is that spending time all by yourself is considered to be socially unacceptable. It is understandable, really. Over the centuries, we've accepted that man is a social animal. We need people around us for love and support. It is only after interacting and conversing with our fellow homo sapiens that we build friendships that last a lifetime and meet people who help us grow into the best version of ourselves.
But we often underestimate how much we can do for ourselves.
Spending time alone will give you the opportunity to gather your thoughts, analyse your own life and change things that need to be changed. All of which will only take us closer to being self-sufficient people.
Yet, it baffles me how negatively spending time by yourself is perceived to be. Going out alone for a drink is one nightmare for me. The staff keeps asking me if I'm waiting for someone, people listen to my order and imagine the story of my heartbreak and I can see their faces painted with pity for me. However, here's something I want to clarify; going solo does not mean I am lonely or I lack friends.
In fact, I feel I'm perfectly entitled to simply not be in the mood to entertain someone through an activity or indulge in small talk.
Nowadays, social media makes it so tough to not be in touch. We keep staring into screens of all shapes and sizes just to see where people are going, what they're eating, what they're wearing and even how they've decorated their rooms. Half the reason for these uploads is social validation through likes and comments. I would be lying if I say I don't like it but it gets exhausting after a point. I reach a point where I start craving some 'me' time.
I find that spending time alone is the best thing for the soul. It is in this solitary time that I learn to enjoy my own company. It gives me a chance to think about things, to tell myself where I'm going wrong in life and to compliment myself on little achievements. It helps me take things one step at a time.
And well, mostly it is not even as romantic as it sounds. At times, it's just me, sitting at my favourite burger joint and reading a book. And if I'm completely comfortable with it, why does it make other people uncomfortable?
Honestly, I highly recommend spending time by yourself. Do all the things you've been missing out on just because you don't have company. Go for that movie none of your friends want to watch, take the vacation you've been planning, go for the art exhibition your friends find boring and just go grab a cup of coffee on your own when no one is free to do it with you.
Just do it if you want to! Realise that you are enough for yourself. Don't be scared of judgement but most of all, don't be scared of yourself.