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August 24, 2019
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Gulf Times

Party of one please


Have you ever had that feeling when you are standing in a que by yourself; you feel paranoid, don’t know where to look or what to do. You look around, anxiously. So, you take out your phone and Whatsapp someone, anyone, just as long as you don’t feel alone.
When was the last time you had alone time? Is your weekly schedule packed, so that you can avoid spending time alone?
Many people think being alone means they are perceived as lonely, and many more seem to think higher of themselves when they are surrounded with people.
Ever since starting school, parents put an undue pressure on children to make friends. With time, the need to be around other beings takes over our lives to the point that having alone time can be a rare occasion. We are either with our friends and family, or in our digital era, we are with them virtually. Keeping social media addiction and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) aside, we are so dependent on communication that we cannot imagine being without it. 
Being alone and being lonely are two separate concepts. Being alone stems from being comfortable and isolating ourselves from people, limiting our social interactions, narrowing our circles. Being lonely is having no one to talk to, being unable to make new connections, or getting anxious at the thought of being around people. While loneliness can be psychologically damaging, being alone fosters growth, enhances self-awareness and builds our personality.
When we are alone, we put the voices around us on mute, allowing our inner thoughts and voices to get louder, giving us the opportunity to connect us with our true selves. This brings about creativity and new ideas. Have ever had some of your best ideas pop into your head when you are about to sleep? Or on a solo drive? Alone time give us space to determine what is important to us, it allows us to prioritise, to improve productivity and most importantly reduces stress.
It’s a very freeing moment, the day you decide that a relationship status doesn’t define your life. The day you decide that standing alone no longer intimidates you. In fact, it inspires you. Being happy with others is great. Being alone can be even greater, that’s because it’s real happiness, happiness that isn’t attached to anything or anyone; happiness that you cultivated by yourself for yourself. That’s a happiness that’s everlasting and can never be taken from you. It is only when you learn to standalone in in your own power that you are ready to stand together with another person.
I hope you can be brave enough to be alone, not just to be alone but to be alone joyfully. It is only when we learn to love and appreciate our own company that we are ready to invite someone to join the journey with us.

* The author is a consultant and coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa,  Website: missshefa.com
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