The Art Of Being Alone: How To Find Comfort In Your Own Company

by Taryn Lachter

I am a textbook extrovert. I’ve always thrived off the energy of others and derived most of my happiness from the people around me. Because of this, I’ve struggled with being alone.

I’ve always needed to be around others. As a kid, I constantly over-scheduled myself, and my mom would say no and make me have downtime at home.

At the time, I hated it, but I realize now she was trying to teach me to be at peace on my own.

As an extrovert, my social life has been an extremely high-priority because I’ve always equated being busy with being happy.

I’ve lived in six different cities since 2008, and each move taught me something new about myself and my own personality. Every time I moved, I struggled with the process of starting over.

The idea of spending Saturday nights at home and not having enough (or any) friends would frustrate the hell out of me, and I’d beat myself up about it.

I felt like a loser, even though I was in a brand new place with brand new people. It was hard to be okay with letting things take time.

This last move to New York City has been different. I vowed to myself that I would be okay with taking the right amount of time to establish myself.

With that, I’ve been working on trying to understand why I’ve never been okay being alone, and I’m actually figuring it out.

Basically, I’ve concluded that my constant need for the company of others means I’m not comfortable with just the company of myself.

I’ve never understood how someone could be happy as an introvert and how he or she actually enjoyed that much time alone, but now, I’m actually starting to enjoy it myself.

Two years ago, if you told me my favorite thing to do now would be hang out in Central Park by myself, I would have laughed very hard in your face and then cried at the idea of it.

I think moving to a city that is jam-packed with 1.6 million people helped me to appreciate the alone time.

Nothing like some subway-induced claustrophobia to make a person value his or her space.

Think about it, though; we are literally never alone. Even if there is physically no one around you, you probably have at least two forms of technology in your immediate vicinity that can connect you to the outside world in just about any form of virtual communication.

We’ve become dependent on our ability to talk to anyone at any time By avoiding loneliness, we’re preventing ourselves from being confident on our own.

It’s really hard to find your own voice when you can hear (or see) anyone else’s at any given moment.

There’s something to be said for dropping off the grid for a little bit, even if it’s just for an hour or two.

Listen to your own mind, or don’t listen to anything at all.

Find peace in the silence.

You’re forced to like yourself, or at least figure out why you don’t.

It’s hard to avoid yourself when you’re the only person in the room.

Trust me, I’ve tried.