Alone but not lonely

Last week I went to the movies on my own, which isn’t a rare thing for me to do. This year, I’ve been to the movies four times on my own. That may not seem like a lot, however to put that into perspective for you, I’ve been with others three times. Before I went to the movies, I went and had dinner on my own. I could almost see the pity in others eyes, some looked at me as if I were an alien, others like they felt sad for me, and the funniest – are the ones who look completely perplexed and confused at the person sitting on their own.  I really enjoy doing things on my own though, REALLY enjoy it. It’s my favourite thing to do.  I’m very introverted that way.

When I tell people I’m introverted however, it blows minds.

“You’re not introverted, you’re too good with people!”

“Really? I would never have picked that, you’re so easy to get along with!”

“I don’t believe you, you’re too loud and crazy”

Introversion is not whether you can talk to people, be social, outgoing, or driven. It’s about how and what you draw your energy from.  Sure, some of those qualities can be correlated with people that are introverted – but that’s a misinformed stereotype. I love people. I love helping people, listening to people, educating people, and learning from people. Still, if I had to choose between going for drinks to de-stress after a long day with friends, or go home and have a bath – I would choose the latter. To go out for dinner or stay in and watch a movie, I would choose the movie. To have drinks on a Saturday afternoon with a bunch of people or stay at home and read a book (or write a blog post), I would choose the latter. Why? That’s how I re-calibrate. It’s when I solve the most problems, get the most done, and leave space for creativity, thought, and mindfulness.

I find that the older I get, the more alone time I need. Which makes sense, when you think about the amount of stimulation that we get daily. There’s people, crowds, work, internet, social media and not to mention bills, appointments, dates, and deadlines. We live in an age where being switched on is constant. There is no ‘off’ switch, unless you create one – and that means we have to make time to switch off, but all too often we don’t.

When was the last time you switched off from the world for an evening? Didn’t use social media at the dinner table, or remained completely present as a loved one was talking to you? If you don’t know the answer to that, maybe it’s time you took some time out…

Don’t be so quick to judge the person who likes time alone. The psychological benefits of alone time include; increased efficiency, productivity and creativity, it allows space for deeper concentration and problem solving, higher satisfaction in your relationships with others and not to mention, you get to do whatever YOU want to do.

So take some for yourself over the next couple of days. Whether it’s a bath, going for a walk on your own, reading a book, or even shutting your bedroom door for some quiet time. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it.

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