When I was younger it would really bother me when my friends would cancel the plans they had with me. I’ve always been the type to get excited about upcoming plans I had with people I enjoyed spending time with, especially if it was a girl I was interested in. I have a sister who lives in Richmond and I remember making plans with her to go on a cruise a year in advance. I would tell her how excited I was at least once a month prior to actually going on the trip. Lol. Anyway, whenever friends would change their plans on me I would walk around the house moping. My dad would ask me “what’s wrong?” and I would tell him about how disappointed I was now that I couldn’t do what I was planning to do. He would always tell me to just go by myself. This was around my first or second year of high school so I’m thinking “Is he crazy?….I don’t want to look like a loser without friends!” I didn’t know it then, but my dad was teaching me a very important lesson.

My dad challenged me to spend a “night on the town” by myself at least once. I accepted that challenge! I remember taking myself to dinner and a movie one evening. I’m pretty sure it was a Friday night and I recall a bunch of other groups of friends being out and about having a great time and there I was sitting at a table by myself playing with my phone. I kept hoping no one I knew would see me and that I wouldn’t see any attractive girls because I thought it would be embarrassing. Being alone felt weird, foreign, and uncomfortable but I chose to fight through it to prove to my father that I wasn’t afraid to do things by myself. As the evening progressed I found myself becoming more and more comfortable, I actually began to enjoy my time. I people watched, did a lot of thinking, I relaxed, but most importantly I gained a new sense of confidence in myself.

After that night I promised myself that every once in a while I would “date me”. Even today from time to time I enjoy going to the movies or trying new things alone. I realized it was opportunity to discover what I liked without any outside influence. It helped me build confidence and eliminate insecurities, it showed me how to move forward even when people aren’t willing to move with you. I didn’t realize it then but the lesson I learned on that evening alone was critical to the person I am today.

I think it’s important to learn how to be happy being alone. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. As a matter of fact if you can master being alone I’m confident that it will minimize the “lonely feeling” many of us have experienced. Too many of us miss out on opportunities and fall into bad relationships because we fear being alone. The best way to conquer fear is to face it. Force yourself to spend time alone. Go see a movie, try a new restaurant, travel, or take a mini road trip, etc. I’ve done all of these things and believe that I am a better person because of it. Being alone is mostly perceived as a negative position to be in. I don’t agree with that. I think that being alone is an important part of developing your individuality. It supports you in becoming self-sufficient, self-loving, and self-relying. Having friends is very important. I think everyone needs friends and family, but I think it’s just as important to discover how important you are to yourself.

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