In this age of social media, it’s easy to get confused between the feeling of loneliness and simply enjoying your own company. The Oxford dictionary defines loneliness as “Sadness because one has no friends or company”, whereas enjoying your own company is having confidence in who you are by knowing when you need time to disengage from other people.
As someone who identifies as an introvert, I do recognise the importance of socialising and the need for good friends and family. However, I find that doing activities like going to the cinema, cycling, shopping and even eating out by myself (activities are dependent on what you like to do, I’m just giving examples), are extremely beneficial to my mental health. The constant need to feel like we always have to be around people can sometimes drive us into a state of fomo (fear of missing out) especially when we see videos and pictures of friends and strangers living their best lives. This can really consume the mind and make us feel like we are inadequate and insecure in our own company.
Having just finished my exams I was ready to go all out and spend every waking minute of my time with my friends, but now that I’m at home, now more than ever, I feel the need to take the first few moments of summer to myself and quite frankly I don’t feel guilty about it. It's weird because we’re always told to put ourselves out there and to take every opportunity we can in order to spend time with other people as a form of building confidence. However, in my experiences so far, I found that when I walked to town and went to the cinema by myself to watch ‘Cruella’ I had a boost in self-esteem and felt more independent. It was an ‘aha’ moment for me, a realisation that I was enough for myself and that whether I felt whole or not wasn’t and shouldn’t be dependent on how busy my social calendar is for the next week, month or year.
I’ve been through periods in my life where I’ve been sad and lonely - even in moments where I’ve actively tried to surround myself with loads of people (going out with friends, clubs, sleepovers etc). But the times where I have gained the most perspective and calm to know that those periods in my life wouldn’t be forever, were the times when I walked to town, ate the meal by myself, had the lazy day etc. Those moments of reflection allowed me to have more confidence in my abilities, relationships and my sense of self.
Now that’s all been said, I'd like to also say that it is important to spend time and to make memories with the people we love and care about and to not get too caught up in our own thoughts all the time. Nonetheless, if you’re going to take away one thing from this article, remember that the fun of simplicity is to “enjoy your own company, it’s that time when we suddenly come to know our own talents and ourselves”.
Written by Chiara Folefac
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