Are You Comfortable Being Alone?

February 11, 2013 7 Comments TAGS: Uncategorized

Happy Monday! I’ll admit, I’m off to a late start today. I skipped the gym and snuggled in bed with my man who came home late last night after a 4-day business trip. I even watched my favorite Grammy performances all over again this morning. The Grammys are MY Super Bowl, and honestly, if it weren’t for the music, I don’t know where I’d be. Call it cheesy, but whenever times have ever been rough, it has been my music that has saved me.

But back to being alone. I wrote a Facebook post yesterday that seemed to resonate. Many of you related. It wasn’t meant to show off, it was meant to inspire you to revel in your aloneness sometimes. It went as such:

“Let me set the scene: My kids slept out at the grandparents’. My husband has been away on business since Thursday, and is coming back today– I attended an engagement party alone last night on our behalf for a close family friend. And I opened my eyes, alone, in my own bed, at 9:11 this morning. It’s been 10 years since I slept in until 9am. I’m now having coffee quietly alone in my own bed. And I’m thinking: some peace and quiet every now and then is really not a bad thing. ;)”

Being alone. How comfortable are you at being alone? When was the last time you went to see a movie alone? When was the last time you went to a cafe, brought a book or magazine, bought a tea or coffee, and sat outside under the umbrella and read quietly? When was the last time you brought your gorgeous self over to a bistro for lunch, treated yourself to a glass of wine, and ate a delicious meal, alone?

Being alone– something I really want you to think about today. Truly being alone. Comfortable in your own skin. No distractions. No cell phones. No husbands. No kids. No girlfriends. Just you.

I recently watched Eat Pray Love again on the dish. And funny enough, when I read the book years ago, I found myself bored to tears throughout most of it. But something in the movie completely moved me. I loved it. Something resonated so deep down inside, that I cried on and off for two straight hours. Besides watching the beautiful scenery of Italy (for Eat), India (for Pray) and Bali (for Love), it was Julia Roberts that brought Elizabeth Gilbert the author, so much to life. And while I couldn’t identify with most parts of her story, parts of it were scarily so very ME.

For those of you that forget the premise, it’s about a burned-out successful female writer living in an unhappy, unfulfilled marriage who decides to leave her husband and travel the world alone for a year to find herself, and document her experiences. And while I couldn’t identify with living unhappily in a marriage, if I can be honest, which is where I am the most honest, here on my Blog with you, I identified with sometimes wanting to run away and be alone. The thought of peace and tranquility and clearing your mind from the daily grind. From homework, from work, from chatter and noise. To clear your head from routines and ruts, from schedules and carpools, from events and obligations. To just up and leave, and let the world be your oyster. To meet up with other bright and dynamic women strangers and sit and chat for hours and learn about other cultures. To not have to answer to anyone, nor be accountable for a period of time felt so free, and I escaped in that feeling for two hours.

eat pray love julia roberts

Now, I am an only child, so being alone is a very comfortable place for me. It’s when I do most of my thinking, growing and learning. It’s not to depress you or sound dark, but I am truly my most comfortable alone. This is not to say my most cherished moments are not being with my adoring husband and wonderful children and incredible family. My happiest thoughts are of us laughing, hanging out, playing and being a family. They are my life, my reason for getting up in the morning. But I also love to be alone. Those of you who live in Montreal can often spot me anywhere ALONE. I shop alone. I often eat alone. I can peruse through a library or bookstore for two hours alone. I like to take my own car everywhere I go. I like to be able to slide out the back door if something bores me. I like moving at my own pace… which on some days is snail-pace, and on other days, is catch-me-if-you-can pace. I guess you could say I’m a loner, despite being a very talkative, outgoing and loud person. And despite having many wonderful girlfriends.

But I know from experience that being alone can be wonderful. And I don’t mean being a divorced, single woman alone. I mean being alone as a married woman or in a committed relationship. I mean taking moments, your own moments, to re-discover yourself. Does that make sense to you? I mean getting comfortable with yourself without distraction. Closing your eyes and listening to your Ipod. Reading without any distraction. Heading downtown shopping without needing the approval of anyone to tell you if something looks good or not, if you look too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall. I can tell you from experience, every successful decision I have ever made, has come to me while being alone. And I think we often underestimate our own capabilities. Whenever I have been on the fence in my life, I have been the one to uncover the answers. Not my husband, not my parents, not my friends. So what does all this mean for you? It means that there is only ONE PERSON in this world who has all the answers to your questions. That person is YOU. And you will discover those answers to your questions if you learn to be alone and spend the time.

Watch this. Don’t laugh. It can seem weird or funny. But watch it ’till the end. I’m sure if you allow it to, something will click inside and you’ll understand why being alone is imperative to your happiness.

I’d like to challenge you to something today. As I give my coaching clients homework, I would like to give YOU homework for this week. I’d like you to pencil ONE HOUR alone with yourself between now and Sunday. No cell phones, no friends, no distractions. Do whatever it is, you like to do. Take a walk in the park, go to the bookstore with a coffee, lay on your bed and listen to soft music. Whatever. One hour to FULLY clear your head. Try it out, and let me know how it goes. I hope you come to make some big life decisions, on your own, and figure out how you will get off the fence and thrive in your life. I’m not saying not to bounce your ideas off of the people you love, but really, all the answers lie within you. So get comfortable getting to really know yourself. I encourage you to reach out to me either in the comments section below or via email and let me know how you made out.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you ever spend time alone? Are you COMFORTABLE being alone?

Until next time,

    7 Comments

    1. Kim Foster says:

      I crave my alone time. In the eight years since becoming a mom, I feel like my alone time has been slashed and burned…yet I continue to fiercely protect it. It’s like air for me. Sounds like it is for you too, Erica. Have you seen Susan Cain’s TED talk on the power of introverts (or read her book Quiet)? She also spoke at Blissdom Canada this year, which was fab. She’s amazing, and everything she says totally speaks to me. I love my husband & family, and love spending time with girlfriends…but if I don’t get my alone time I get a little, shall we say, cranky.

      I also adored Eat, Pray, Love…although I totally couldn’t relate to some of her issues and dramas, I could ABSOLUTELY join in the fantasy of an indulgent, spiritual, lengthy escape. {sigh}

    2. Peter says:

      You cannot write music, nor a poem, nor a book if you are dangling on someone else’s hook.

    3. Erica Diamond says:

      Thank you for your comments ladies. I see them all and they mean so much. I am glad you are all thriving in your own way. When you know, teach, and help others.

      Many blessings to you in your aloneness.

    4. Elana says:

      Hi Erica! I love this post. Being alone vs with people (friends or family) is something I think about often. Like you, I do my best shopping alone and really enjoy delving into whatever activity I’m immersed in. When you’re out doing something solo it gives you the opportunity to focus fully on what you’re doing but when with someone else you don’t quite get to appreciate certain aspects as much. I, too, consider myself a sociable person but I know when I want to share my time with someone else and when I don’t. Time by ourselves is wonderful and I agree that everyone should take some time to try it. :-)
      Thanks for another great post! -Elana

    5. Hannah says:

      I too love being alone and as with Frances, it totally recharges my batteries. When my kids were little and the babysitter or the cleaning lady was in the house, i’d even go to the library just to have some personal quiet time to peruse the bestsellers or sit and read magazines.

      I think you have to love yourself somewhat to enjoy being alone. You need to value yourself enough to set time aside to be alone with your thoughts, to clear your head. When I was single, I dated a lot but also was alone a lot and sure, sometimes it was lonely. But I love to have the quiet time to observe, read, watch a movie, eat or whatever. Not many women can do it i find.

    6. Frances says:

      I LOVE BEING ALONE!

      I’ve recognized over the years that being alone for me is like recharging my batteries. And now that I have a kid, it’s even MORE necessary. I’ve enjoyed eating alone, going to the movies alone, etc.

      If I don’t have that time, I’m a bitch, seriously! LOL

      Glad I’m not the only one!

    7. Kellie Garrett says:

      I loooooove being alone. I’m married, have grown kids, have a hectic executive job, am blessed with many friends. I too am very extraverted. But I love getting on a plane alone and reading or working. I love being alone in my den with my thoughts – writing or listening to music with my cats. Ahhhh.

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