When we’re growing up we’re not encouraged to be alone. When I was at school, you’d always buddy up with someone to do work, we had friendships benches in the playgrounds for people looking for a friend to play with, and being on your own was seen as odd. Correction, WANTING to be on your own was seen as odd.
Maybe it’s because I’m an only child, with no siblings to spend my spare time with, but I have never felt like I missed out. I learnt from an early age how to entertain myself, which nurtured my imagination and allowed it to flourish without being told it was silly or stupid to give my dolls voices, or create stories in my head for them.
But this opinion that if you like being alone you’re weirs stayed with me as I grew up. I enjoyed spending time in my room, playing with toys or computer games as much as I love talking on the phone to my friends for hours and spending the whole day in the park across the road until it got dark. I didn’t ever feel restless or bored, if anything I think I was given the freedom to explore my own interests and learn a bit about myself.
I guess you could say I am a reserved person. I like to stay home, I can spend hours on my own and not feel lonely, and I am known to cancel plans with others for the sake of my need to recharge and spend some time with myself.
You don’t have to keep up appearances
It can be easy to get wrapped up in the need to appear constantly busy, always be doing something with someone and not show the realities of spending a saturday night in bed watching netflix to anyone. With everyone posting everything on social media, and the phenomenon of being able to see how people spend their day to day lives through vlogging, insta stories, tweets and snapchats being the kind of content people are the most eager to see, it’s very easy to get caught up in the cycle of ‘I have to post about it or it didn’t happen’. I’ll admit, I am one of those people.
There was a time that I didn’t own a mobile. I didn’t have facebook, snapchat, instagram or twitter, and the only photos of me that existed in the world were the ones in the family photo album. When I was little nobody but friends and family knew about where we went on holiday, and most of the time none of them saw a picture until we had the film developed.Nobody compared their lives to ours, because they didn’t have access to it. But now, anyone you want to, can have access to your everyday life.
We have become fascinated by the lives of others. We love to check up on them, see what they’re doing with their day, and get frustrated and speculate their motive when we don’t see anything from them. I’m talking about the content creators, instagram models, huge youtube stars and celebrities across the social media platforms that let us into their world.
Posting what you’re doing on a day to day basis has become very normal. We crave that information, knowing where we’re eating, drinking, sleeping, who we’re with and where we are. It’s great in a lot of ways, but it can also make you feel like you’re not doing enough.
“I wish that was me”
Scrolling through your feed, watching people’s stories seeing them out and about, at events, going for lunch, showing off their most recent purchase. It can all make us feel a little inferior, like we’re doing not doing well enough because we don’t have what they have, or we’re not doing what they’re doing.
We start to feel like we’re missing out on something. Whether that’s missing out on money, time or opportunities, there’s a part of you that makes you feel like you’re not doing it right if you don’t have it.
The fear of missing out on something can make us do things we don’t actually want to do, but it’s our way of keeping up appearances. Making it seem like you’re always out, always doing something and always with someone else is dangerous. Because eventually you’ll start to believe that you can’t be on your own. Constantly needing the company of someone other than yourself, to me, isn’t healthy.
One of the best things you can do in order to grow and figure yourself out is to spend some time with yourself. Have a night in with a movie and a good meal on the sofa on your own; spend the morning shopping solo and sit and have a coffee on your own; go to a gallery, an exhibition, a show or a movie on your own if you want to! And if you don’t want to, that’s ok. But don’t be so afraid to have someone see you on your own.
This fear of our own company can stop us knowing more about ourselves. We can’t rely on others to lift our spirits and keep us sane at all times, there has to be a point where we know how to look after ourselves and keep ourselves happy. You can’t plant your own happiness in someone else and expect it to bloom, because it just won’t. You have to give yourself time an attention to grow as a person, and become comfortable in your own skin.