Those are two different states. Being alone doesn’t mean that you are lonely and opposite you can feel lonely in a crowd of people. Alone and lonely are creatures which come out unexpectedly from the deepest, darkest corners of our mind when we least expect them. Alone is quite easy to get used to, lonely is trickier. Regardless, there are methods to subjugate them.
I would be a millionaire by now if I got a dollar every time somebody asks me if I don’t feel alone on solo trips. No, I don’t because I made peace with myself and got used to being a one-man band. Alone basically means it’s you and you only, single, one person without the +1.
I was a weird kid. I preferred to read books, learn languages, do sports or sit in my room, look at the ceiling and sink in daydreams. I carried that weirdness to my adult life. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends who I think read this blog, otherwise the number of visitors would be close to zero 😛 and I love hanging out with them. Also I have a bunch of friends abroad, like SD in Singapore or MH in the US and we chat over WhatsApp sometimes. Some of my friends like MSz say that I’m the most extraverted person ever who can make friends even while queuing to the restroom or that I’m the first volunteer for every crazy idea, especially after a couple of beers.
Yeah, true only thing is I really like spending time alone just with myself in silence or with Spotify playing something in the background, this is how I can really relax. Hence traveling solo is perfect for me as I determine the itinerary. If I feel like sitting down with a pint on the beach to admire the beautiful sunset and reflect on things, I do that. Also when traveling solo there is always space for one on a full bus or space for one in an overbooked hotel 😉 Another point is, on the road I often meet people so I’m not alone all the time. Same is with living alone. For a long time, I lived with my now ex-partner. It was exciting in the beginning but as time went by I figured that living alone is more appealing to me. I don’t have to listen to stuff like – do you have to work so late, do you have to go to the sauna again, do you have to go to your Toastmasters club meeting again. You might say, when you are with someone you need to compromise. OK, fine but I refuse to compromise my time that I spent on doing things I like and which make me happy.
In the first post I mentioned that the first person you need to make happy is you as the longest relationship you will be in with yourself. I absolutely don’t consider it as selfish, but to keep me mentally healthy. Now, there are also drawbacks to handling life solo. Although I don’t really consider them as drawbacks per se, just something you need to be aware of. Traveling or living alone means if shit happens you need to take care of the shit. For example, last month my shower tub was leaking, I changed the gasket, and it doesn’t leak anymore. Thing is that I just need to be prepared that I need to take care of stuff myself if worst comes to worst. Good news is that I can always ask for help 😉 That’s the beauty of being alone, you lose your inhibitions when it comes to asking others for help and start trusting people. What’s a good thing J Only, how to make peace with yourself and have a happy relationship with yourself?
Be happy with yourself
I don’t have a golden recipe saying take a cup of courage, two tablespoons of energy and a pinch of freedom for being happy with yourself. However, I can share what worked for me so you have an idea how to get there.
1. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses as well as things you can and can’t do. I know that I’m able to hammer a nail into the wall or change a light ball or do some things around the house but fixing the electricity is way beyond my capabilities. I know what I’m good at and what I suck at. Like I’m a quite creative cook but I have no talent at all when it comes to drawing, singing or playing an instrument. I can perfectly draw a stickyman and that’s OK.
2. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. I bet at least once friends or family tried to convince you to do something you don’t want – change your job, settle down, have kids, focus on your future etc. Instead of giving in, stand up and say: NO, MY LIFE, MY CHOICES, MY FREEDOM TO MAKE MISTAKES.
3. Don’t punish yourself for mistakes with thoughts like I could have done it differently, what if I did it the other way round. Nope don’t do that because that leads to fear and as Yoda said: Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Mistakes will happen and the main thing is to learn from them so we don’t repeat the same mistakes, only make new ones 😉
4. Accept yourself, just the way you are with no I could be taller, thinner with bigger boobs. That’s the most difficult part as we women always find something we can pick on 😛 I accepted the fact that I might not be the tallest but I’m definitely the loudest, like a chihuahua 😀
Thing is that I could go on and on but the main point is, try to put you and your happiness first and not the happiness of other people. If you feel miserable, how can you make others happy? My friend told me that she has a tattoo that says: don’t put the key to your happiness into somebody else’s hands. That is very, very ture. Besides, I’d rather be alone and happy than together alone.
Now that’s a tricky one as the feeling can hit you suddenly. It can happen everywhere, when you sit on the sofa, when you have fun with friends or when you are on an amazing trip and happen to sit on a beautiful white sand beach. It’s the feeling of emptiness inside, of not being understood, of being the only human on planet earth. That feeling sucks as hell. Happens to me every now and then. Mostly when things don’t go the way I planned and I ask myself – OK, what now? Then the loneliness creature crawls out of a dark corner of my mind. Sometimes the loneliness creature gives me a heads up after a party when all guests leave or after I come back home from a night out.
It mostly says I’m here again to make you feel miserable as you don’t have anyone nah nah nah nah. When the loneliness creature makes his appearance, my reaction is something like – oh you again, do me a favour and piss off will ya. To avoid sinking into the embrace of the loneliness creature I start thinking about all those good things I have – cool job, crazy family, amazing friends and adventures, meaning I’m grateful for what I have. Sometimes I call my Dad to complain about everything, sometimes I go for a walk along the river, which is next door and sometimes I just say – ah fuck it all I’m going to sleep. Next morning the world is beautiful again 😉
General rule however is to realise that at the end of the day there are things to be grateful for and not be so hard on yourself.
Having said all that I’m going to the hairdresser to treat myself well at the end of the week as on Friday my friends from Milano are arriving in Krakow and I promised to be their VIP tour guide.