Don’t confuse loneliness with time by yourself. It’s not that solitude is always good, but it can be good. Choosing to spend time doing things by yourself can have mental, emotional and social benefits, but the key to reaping those positive rewards comes from choosing to spend time alone. In a culture where we often confuse being alone for loneliness, the ability to appreciate time by ourselves prevents us from processing the experience as a negative thing. In fact, getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences.
When you feel bad or guilty about something, write it down and ask yourself the following questions:
- How can I feel guilty for taking care of myself?
- Why don’t I trust people enough to let them know what I need?
- If a friend needed alone time, would I fault them for it or support them?
Leave your guilt on paper and do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Don’t apologize for asking for what you need. Let people know if you need some time to yourself or would rather stay home while they go out.
Clutter on the outside can feel like clutter on the inside. When you have too much stuff in your home or on your calendar, you might feel overwhelmed, distracted, or anxious. By choosing less on the outside, you may experience more peace on the inside—and get more time to yourself. It’s very important to learn to say no; if you don’t like something, don’t do it. No is a complete sentence. Expand when you need to, but still keep it short. In just a few sentences, you can say no with gratitude. “No thank you. I appreciate you thinking of me, but I have another commitment” is better than a long explanation about how busy and sorry you are.
We only have so much in our immediate control. Sure, we can impact the outcome of one thing or another by our actions today and our decisions tomorrow, but some of the greatest things/successes/achievements in life aren’t as predictable or immediately plannable. They require ~time~ spent nurturing, fostering, planning, executing to build a series of smaller successes into a bigger great thing.
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