I feel like I learn the most about myself when I am alone.

I haven’t always felt this way; in fact I used to spend a lot of time hiding behind people and activities just so I wouldn’t have to be by myself. But getting older, I started to realize how much I enjoyed being alone. In not so many words, solitude became my solace from the world and I learned to embrace it. Those moments alone are where I began to learn the most about myself. Based on a multitude of experiences coming of age, I’ve started to realize how terrified most people are of being alone. And, honestly I don’t blame them, although it is not as scary as some think. I have definitely been there: latching on to people out of fear of having to confront my own boredom and insecurities. Not to say that’s the case for everyone, but typically people are afraid to face some form of themselves, good or bad, so we tend to use others as a distraction from that. 

I knew what my issues were with myself, but who wants to spend time confronting that when there are people who can make you feel better about yourself without having to deal with the pains of growing?

I’ll admit it can be an extremely arduous task and I definitely understand why dealing with people who uplift you easily would be easier than confronting our own thoughts and feelings about ourselves.

College was my first lesson in solitude.

I will never forget my first year, making friends and, ultimately, having to make the decision to be alone. Freshman year you meet so many people who you think you are going to stay friends with the entire time, but that’s usually pretty rare (depending on the people involved). I’ll never forget calling my dad, complaining about how the people I called ‘friends’ at the start of the fall quarter had suddenly turned their backs on me later on. Upon expressing how hurt I was and not knowing what to do, without a second thought he told me, ‘Well, be alone’. I sat on the line in confusion, further expressing my displeasure and discomfort with the idea, which he only continued to reply with, ‘Girl, be by yo self.’
My fear only stemmed from the fact that at that time I didn’t know how to do that, and had a large fear of missing out on typical college memories. Later on, it became some of the best advice I have gotten to date.

These days, I am at my best when I have spent some time alone.

My dad’s advice has taken me such a long way in my adulthood and even allowed me to develop much better relationships with people. Most days, you can find me reading on my couch, listening to my record player with all the blinds closed, hiding and recharging from the world. My solitude gives me a peace of mind that no one else can give and constantly reinforces my overall sense of self. If there’s any time to do it, your late teens and 20s are the best time to learn yourself. I tend to do a lot of things on my own. Through solitude I discover new places, new movies, new hobbies, new interests, and new facts about myself, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Contrary to popular belief, moments of solitude are when we learn the most about ourselves, and while people can be amazing, they can also be very distracting.

Do not allow loneliness to scare you--learn to embrace it.

It literally teaches you things you would never know in the company of others. Use your solitude to strengthen your self-awareness, needs and wants.

The moment I stopped letting it terrify me, it became my greatest asset and I learned more than I could ever imagine and, even better, people started to enter my life following suit. This goes for romantic relationships, friendships, familial relationships, and more. My freshman year following my first run-in with solitude, some of the most amazing people walked into my life unexpectedly and I built some of the best friendships I have to date. The moment I gave up using people as a crutch to counteract my own fears and anxieties regarding loneliness, I evolved into a better version of myself. 

So go to the movies, download some music, go for a run, do your favorite activity, or cook yourself a nice meal. Whatever it may be, do something nice for yourself. Take some alone time, whether it be 10 minutes, 1 hour, 3 days, or an entire week, spend some time with you. As I always say no one knows you better than you do and the only way to know those things is to embrace your solitude…

When's the last time you practiced solitude?

Let us know in the comments below and on Instagram @NaturallyCurly

Follow Khadija's blog, The 90s Aesthetic and read more of her articles here:

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