Being lonely sucks.
You know what doesn't have to suck, though? Being alone. Because the two don't have to be one in the same.
Guys, I'm over the single girl sob story. I used to feel bad for myself about being single all the time until I finally realized, being unattached is a personal choice for me right now.
I still have hard days — when I feel isolated and wish I had a guy to come home to and cuddle with — but for the most part, I enjoy being on my own.
Although, my road to enjoying my alone time hasn't been easy. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out things I love to do and identify my triggers for feeling lonely. In the past, I tended to self-sabotage. But now, I love my space and time to myself.
Now, I want to help you figure out how to enjoy being alone. Here are five ways to be happy AF on your own:
1. Figure out what your passion is and make it a reality.
What's the thing that makes your heart beat out of your chest: Is it creating art? Helping people who are less fortunate than you?
There are a million excuses to not pursue these dreams — one of which can be waiting until you're in a relationship to get started on them.
Now, let's just say, for argument's sake, the love of your life trips and falls into a volcano and you never get to meet him. Do you want to look back on your life and realize, not only did you not find someone special, but you also didn't work hard enough at what you've always wanted to do?
That's what I thought.
So, during your alone time, make it a point to network with people who have similar career interests as you. It will make you feel a million times less lonely, and it will help make your dream more of a reality.
2. Pay attention to and improve your friendships.
What baffles me are the people who enter relationships and suddenly go MIA, completely neglecting the friendships that once meant so much to them.
Being in a happy, healthy relationship is great and all, but if you don't also have friends you can count on, who are you going to lean on if and when your relationship gets tough?
And, who are you going to include in your bridal party?! You don't want to be that girl standing at the altar, looking around at a group of wedding guests that only include family members and her husband's BFFs because you totally abandoned your bestie.
Keep working on your friendships. When you're feeling lonely, don't hit up an ex — something you're bound to regret later on. Instead, call up your friends and see how they're doing.
3. Use fitness as a meaningful activity.
I love setting fitness goals for myself because I can feel and see the progress. I go to the gym to build my strength, endurance and beat annoying physical plateaus.
But sometimes, when I work out by myself, I get lost in my thoughts and start to doubt my physical and mental abilities. That's why I've started working with a personal trainer twice a week. He always pushes me, and helps me feel less alone on my fitness track.
But that's just me. Maybe you're more of a workout class person. Or, you may meet a like-minded person at your gym who has similar fitness goals that you can start to train with.
4. Work on achieving your long-term goals.
Look, it isn't easy to stay committed to stuff. Every New Year's Eve, I make a list of goals I want to achieve for myself by the end of that year. A typical list, for me, looks like this: Be better at keeping in touch with family, take care of yourself mentally and stop changing your mind about what you want to do with your life.
Every year, I fail at following through with most of these things, and that failure has contributed to my bouts of loneliness.
It wasn't until recently that I realized making a list of goals isn't the same as accomplishing them. You have to commit to being committed. For example, if that job opportunity doesn't just come your way on its own, take it upon yourself to job hun relentlessly, and don't stop until you get it.
Staying committed to your goals ensures that all of your free time becomes time well spent — and not idle moments where you just sit and lament your solo status.
5. Allow yourself to feel lonely.
I once had a therapist tell me that aggressively fighting my loneliness is one of the most dangerous things I can do, since it can make me fall into a pattern of doing unhealthy things, like doing drugs or drinking, to numb those feelings out.
Instead, he advised me to sit with my loneliness. Allowing myself to feel it will ensure it passes, whereas not giving into the emotional state can make it linger for longer.
In other words, don't drink away your loneliness to distract yourself. Recognize that everyone feels lonely sometimes — Even people in relationships — and these moments are just a part of life. (FYI: Any relationship that always makes you feel lonely isn't the right one for you.)
So, don't be too hard on yourself. Some days you'll feel super energized to do tasks one through four on this list, and other days, you'll only be capable of doing number five. That's totally OK!
As long as you're focused on really and truly enjoying your alone time for what it is, you'll be too happy to worry or lament your solo status.