I took myself to Manchester for my 25th Birthday and it was such a beautiful and enlighten experience for me. Going solo isn’t a new experience for me, however this time around I did start to think about the time that I spend alone and how much of that time I spend alone is positive and how much of if is isolation. Which led me to ask myself if it is possible to spend too much time alone.
Seems like a silly question to even ask right? Surely it cannot be possible to spend too much time with yourself. But this self development journey has taught me to be more aware of some of things I claim to be acts of self care, but in reality are actually acts of avoiding what needs to be addressed.
Why I Spent My 25th Birthday Alone
I have always had trouble deciding what to do for my birthday, and this year was no different. Especially with the pressure to do something big and memorable for my 25th.
You can imagine the relief I felt when my good friend told to me to “forget everyone else. What is it you want to do?“. Being the people pleaser that I am, I sometimes find thinking about what I want difficult. Which is why I have struggled with planning birthday celebrations. If I find myself thinking of everyone else before myself, most of the time I am left feeling drained, resentful and overwhelmed. Which is why I decided to just do me this year.
I often find myself making plans with just myself in mind, I rarely think about who will be joining me, which isn’t a bad thing. Being comfortable to just get up and go without needing someone around is something I love about myself. However I did have to ask myself if it was purely confidence that allowed me to move through life like this? Or is it because I am unable to set clear boundaries, so I avoid situations where boundaries are required? I came to the realisation that it is a combination of the two, which is why I wanted to speak about both the importance of spending time alone, but also understanding that in some cases it is isolation.
Is It Possible To Spend Too Much Time Alone?
It’s not so much that the time we spend alone is the problem, but more so what you’re doing in that time. Society has us obsessed with filling time with the need to be doing something. We shouldn’t forget that there is productivity and growth when we can simply exist without the need to be doing something.
I must stress that being alone doesn’t inherently mean lonely. Time alone gives us the opportunity to explore the areas we are confident in, as well as the areas where insecurities present themselves. It is fair to say that sometimes people and our environment can be distractions, not always deliberately or with bad intentions. This is why I find that when I am alone I am able to manage my insecurities a lot better.
Back to when I mentioned earlier that a combination of not setting clear boundaries and enjoying your own company can lead to situations where you tend to isolate yourself.
If you find setting boundaries and voicing concerns and issues difficult, that sometimes ignites that fight or flight feeling. I find myself removing myself from the situation more than anything else, because I saw that “fight” feeling as something that is negative, which it isn’t (not all of the time anyways).
I believe you will know what is truly worth the fight and what is not. I think sometimes I convince myself that the “fight” is me “forcing it”, but I learnt that isn’t the case. Everything takes work and not everything is black and white to begin with, it may start out grey and it is our job to make things as clear as possible for ourselves.
Time alone gives me time to figure out what is currently grey and what I can do to make it black and white. I am aware that choosing to be alone is my a way of avoiding having those difficult discussions around setting boundaries. The time I spend alone isn’t always a distraction, a lot of the time I find that it just gives me time to make sense of everything and a short break is always a good idea.
If these moments alone allow me to come to these uncomfortable realisations, then I don’t believe you can spend too much time alone. Should you be aware of the times when you’re isolating yourself and avoiding situations? 10000% but we come to those realisations in our own time and I will be speaking about the importance of time when it comes to growth very soon.