I’ve been starting to come out of my social shell a little a little more lately. It isn’t perfect, of course. Most of the time people still scare the crap out of me, but I’m getting better. I’ve found myself enjoying the time I spend with my friends more and more, and actually look for new opportunities to socialize. I’ve found myself talking on the phone…. regularly!
I got there, though, because I was able to work through my issues by spending so much time alone.
Some People Are Afraid to Be Alone
I used to be afraid to be alone. I thought that if I was alone, it meant that it was because no one wanted to spend any time with me. It meant that there is something that is wrong with me that they didn’t want to expose themselves to. It was a bleak, dark loneliness that was all consuming.
It was also a crock of crap.
One of my favorite all time musicals is RENT (the stage production, not the movie). One of the lines that stuck with me (in musical context even) was “You’ll know true love, until you learn to love yourself. I should know.” It took a long time for me to let that sink into my head and really grasp that concept. I had to spend a lot of time with no one but myself.
It wasn’t easy, though. I spent a long time in a very dark and depressing place, hating myself. I ate food that was disgusting and heart attack inducing. I spent so much time just watching TV and listening to the Smiths thinking about how I was a complete looser.
Every day, though, Abbey, my golden retriever would sit there and look at me like she couldn’t believe that I was in this horrible funk. She’d just lay beside me, being all cuddly and warm with unconditional love. Given enough time, it started to sink in that there was this big ball of fur that thought I was pretty cool, even being cool is just a synonym for “brings me food.”
One day, it clicked for me, that I wasn’t alone because there was something wrong with me, I was alone because I didn’t go out and find people. After that, I started spending some time just hanging out with me. Instead of eating horrible food, I started looking for things that I enjoyed doing. I began to learn who I was as person. I started to find out that I liked me.
I had to spend that time alone to be able to enjoy the company of others. Now, I know that I don’t need other people in my life to make me happy, and that means I’m on more equal footing with the friends that I have.
It’s important to learn who you are, and the only way you can do that is to spend some time alone.