Do you like yourself?
I’m serious, do you? Or do you sit at home alone and wish you had someone to go get a burger with because the idea of dining by yourself is akin to jumping off a cliff without a parachute? Will you miss that new movie because you can’t bear to sit in the cinema alone? Do you page through your contacts every single time you want to go shopping, workout, or go on an adventure?
If the idea of being alone scares the crap out of you, then keep reading.
That anxiety you feel about going into the public domain all alone is quite natural, and yet unnatural. We are taught to need the comfort and safety of others from a young age. It’s seldom a parent teaches true blue independence because most of the time the parent is still reacting to their own upbringing of the constant need to be surrounded by others.
You might knock a latch-key parent/child relationship, but that child learns to depend on themselves a lot faster than most children do. They can do almost anything on their own once they become adults, without any need for constant companionship. It’s kind of a sad way to learn it, but it happens. They either become totally self sufficient, or they decline in the other direction and become incessantly clingy. That’s the dilemma. There’s always a down side to questionable parenting.
I don’t want to ruminate on this subject and make it a technical and boring nightmare to wade through just to get to the good stuff. I’d like to just skim the top of it and give you some good advice and some helpful exercises to try out. So here goes…
If you have a mini-meltdown when you think of leaving your house alone, then this article is for you.
When I was younger I used to feel that way all the time. It was paralyzing, especially when I was bold enough to finally rent an apartment all by my onesy. I thought I was striking out on this grand new adventure and what I ended up doing was sitting alone in my cute apartment because I was too afraid to go out alone. I hated it!
When I had roomies I had a built in cushion of mates to run around with and now suddenly I had no one that could drop everything and have a lunch or a bike ride without a lot of planning involved. My spontaneity hit an all-time low and my spirit took a large hit.
I was needy.
Then my life took a turn for the worst and the better. I took a job that had me traveling out of town and staying in hotels during the week. I went to places where I knew no one, so now I was doing everything alone!
At the time this was taking place it was unheard of to strike out with a new age kind of approach to my problem. Most of my friends would cringe when I described my lonely times on the road, mainly because if they were in my place, they’d be doing the same thing. No one had any clue about self awareness or self help back then. All we knew was if it wasn’t broken, then don’t fix it. As far as all of us were concerned, I was doing the best I could do.
I remember feeling so much angst about going into a restaurant and ordering a meal alone that I would hit a drive thru and eat in my room or my car every meal. That’s a great way to gain some weight! When my first year anniversary with the company rolled around and I was still behaving this way, I knew drastic changes had to occur or I was going to die from the boredom of being terrified all the time.
I decided to start dating myself.
I started small. I figured if I could just get through a meal without breaking into a cold sweat and run screaming from the restaurant, I might be able to do it again. That was my first date…dinner for one.
I remember being afraid to meet my friends at a bar one evening because I would be arriving alone. Keep in mind that my friends were waiting for me right inside, but I was still hating the prospect of parking my car and then walking through that door all by myself. Then one of my other friends that wasn’t going out that night loaned me her coat. It was a long tan trench coat and super sexy when you had it on. She tied the belt in a knot around my waist and said “Katy, there is nothing sexier than a woman walking into a bar alone. Don’t you want to be that sexy woman?” OMG! YES! I wanted to be her! So I did it and I recited that one phrase to myself again and again with each step I took towards the front door of that bar. I made it there and I made it inside and I felt sexy as hell!
That was what I recited in my head that night as I entered the restaurant and as I was seated at the table and while I watched the server clear off the extra place setting. There is nothing sexier than a woman walking into a restaurant alone. There is nothing braver than a woman walking into a restaurant alone. There is no one sexier than I am right at this moment in time.
That moment was over 30 years ago and since then I have been many, many places alone. I have even flown to Egypt alone and that’s more than just a walk across the parking lot. After continuing to date myself by going to places like the movies, museums and art galleries, shopping malls and woodland hikes and even sitting on the beach alone with a book, I have learned to be alone, but even better than that, I have learned to enjoy my own company. I realize now that I have never needed anyone with me in order to have a good time. All that I have ever needed was the motivation to get off my ass and to start living.
It is true that we come into this world alone and we leave it alone, but what everyone forgets to add is that being alone is a compliment we pay ourselves and a gift only we can unwrap once we realize that the best companion we could ever be blessed to have, is watching us, hearing our thoughts and feeling our heart beats every single day we spend breathing.
Now get out there and find yourself.