13 Secrets on How to be Happy All by Yourself
Some of the strongest personalities in history have been introverts. Einstein, Gandhi, even Marilyn Monroe, just to name a few. You think you are alone? Studies have shows that one-third to fifty percent of all people are introverts. We don't broadcast our natures like giant billboards for the world and as such our feedback from other introverts is limited to what we read.
Thankfully, we are often fond of writing.
Every now and again we get cornered and forced to defend our lifestyle and a moment of panic ensues. Relax, it's natural.
How does a bird communicate the lack of limitations and the amazing view offered by flight? How does the fish, swimming the depths below, explain the mysteries therein or simply how he breathes the water, to those who cannot?
The good news is that you don't have to explain yourself to anyone but if you want to, for yourself or others, here is a simple list of reasons why being alone is not a bad thing at all and how to best cultivate the silence you crave.
1. Learn the Concept of Nothing
Chapter 11 of the Tao Te Ching, a Chinese philosophical text written as a guide for rulers, says the following:
"Thirty spokes are joined together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that allows the wheel to function.
We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes the vessel useful.
We fashion wood for a house,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes it livable.
We work with the substantial,
but the emptiness is what we use."
Laozi Tao Te Ching 11
Being alone provides the silence and the space that is necessary for personal growth. We absorb what is around us. If you are around other people constantly it is easy to become more like them. Who wants that?! You are YOU and you need to learn who that person is. Surround yourself with the things that you admire and wish to absorb. Become an empty vessel and then FILL it.
2. Learn yourself in the absence of distractions
'When the water is clear you see the bottom, when it is dirty you see yourself'-Stephen Brust
An interesting quote. When there are too many distractions sometimes it seems that all you can see of yourself is your outward reflection. So how do you look deeper? Without distractions, of course. Clean the pool of self-reflection with purifying silence, meditation, and contemplation. As you grow more self-aware, it will become less clouded. Then look down with an open mind and start discovering who you are.
3. Learn Patience
Self-reflection takes time. You must learn patience, day by day. This is one of the most important lessons you can learn by being alone. It carries to the workplace. It helps in understanding friends. Best of all, when you plan ways to achieve the things that you want in your life then you will be less likely to make any hasty decisions that can shatter those plans. You will be able to watch and wait and when oppurtunity comes then you will be ready to recognize it and take action. So how do you achieve patience? Well, that's the funny part.
Wait for it.
4. Pursue Knowledge
As you grow in patience you will find that you are capable of many things. Exercising your mind should be one of them. The more that you know the more you are capable of. In times of defeat, knowledge can teach you how to avoid such problems in the future. Patience and Self-Awareness are empowered through knowledge so use your alone-time to become wise.
5. Test that Knowledge by Teaching
Write a blog to test your knowledge. Teach it to others. As mentioned before, you are not as alone as you think, and others can benefit from the things that you are learning. The best way to sharpen knowledge is to pass it along and if your blog encourages feedback then you will have a way to test what you've learned and who knows, perhaps learn a thing or two more.
6. Learn a Musical Instrument
Music allows you one-way communication with the world that can outlast your lifetime. Perhaps you are an introvert because people don't understand your complexities. Leave a message in a bottle on the sea of time. Perhaps someday another will come along, hear it ,and understand.
7. Learn how to Say Things in Other Languages
Yes, you aren't social, but did you know that when you learn a foreign language, your intelligence can increase and more neural pathways will be created in your brain?
Knowing more ways to say a thing can increase your skills as a poet or simply improve social speaking, as you can trim the fat from your words and say only what is necessary.
8. Get a Penpal
This can help in learning a new language or in simply decreasing the loneliness that comes with a solitary lifestyle. Whether you've chosen to be alone or not, a certain amount of socialization is still required, otherwise everyday social situations can become awkward as your social skills get rusty.
If you are already experiencing social difficulty, this is also a way that you can work your way out of it step by step. From paper letters to email, to chatting online, to phone calls, and then to meeting in public. It will go faster than you think if you can mentally look at the ground and not the horizon, enjoying the surroundings so much that you forget to count the steps. Letters have a Victorian charm about them that is hard to replace, however. You will likely keep your penpals.
9. Use your Detached Perspective to Understand Others
One of the advantages of being on the 'outside' is that you can see things more clearly. You learn to observe. Take advantage of this! When you wish to increase your social circle people will respond better to someone who is actually interested in getting to know them and is making the effort. Be careful how much you share, however. People may become uncomfortable if you seem too perceptive, so release observations sparingly and get them to relax by inviting them to talk about themselves in those rare times that you decide to socialize. People like you when you get them to talk about themselves.
Limit such socialization to one-on-one events as well. We hermits have a reputation to uphold, after all.
10. Realize that you are Spending time with Someone that you can Trust
One of the major advantages of isolation is a growing sense of self-awareness. You become very knowledgeable about how you will react in certain situations. You become more assertive in your views. Congratulations, you are getting to know the one person you can trust almost completely. If you are spending all this time to get to know yourself then be sure that you are being honest about your motivations and limitations. Self-reliance is hard to build but it is invaluable. It will take you further in life than anything else can.
11. Volunteer without your Voice
Volunteering is rewarding and can give your life an aspect of socialization that is not as threatening to your privacy as going out to a pub or other social venues. It comes with a feeling of accomplishment and in many cases allows you to socialize on your own terms. Best of all, it serves as a good reason that you can use when another person asks why you aren't very social.
Find a library or perhaps volunteer to help keep a local park clean so that you can enjoy nature. Being alone or almost-alone doesn't have to always be in the home. Get out and enjoy life a little.
12. Cultivate ways to Protect your Privacy
Think of things you can do to help ensure that privacy is only moments away when you want it. One favorite is 'the Chess Gambit'. If someone wants you to play chess and you don't feel like spending the next hour or so with them, here is something you can do. Memorize some famous opening moves from famous chess games. Just the first 3 moves will do. Then to get out of the game, make those moves, and then rise up, looking resigned, and say something like, "I just realized something. I've made the first opening moves from Kasparov versus Topalov. That game was over in 44 moves. I'm sorry, I'm just not at my best today. Let's play another time."
Place your King down for extra drama points, shake their hand, and go home. Not only does this one get you out of the game but it also makes you look like a damned good chess player. You'd better start carrying a checkerboard or some cards with you if this is not the case.
13. Travel and Roleplay to Fill the Needs of the Body and Heart
Sometimes you simply need socialization or a romance that's far enough away from home so as not to interfere with your personal time. There is an easy solution.
It doesn't have to be somewhere far like Rome, although a complete change of surroundings can be fantastic. You can simply choose a city that is near enough to travel to cheaply, by car or flight and begin cultivating a 'weekend persona' there. Be whomever you like. They don't know you and will only know what you share. Sing karaoke. Talk to people you wouldn't dream of talking to back home. If you are far enough away then who is going to know? In any case, once you get back home you can be safely and happily alone again.
We hope that you will write about it so we can share your adventures and all be alone 'together'.
Hermits, unite! Just kidding.