There is Nothing Wrong with Being Alone

there's nothing wrong with being alone

I am an extreme introvert. And I am in a long distance relationship. This means that both by choice and circumstance, I am alone often and need to be alone often.  My most common phrase as a child was "I just want to be alone."  Sometimes it feels really hard being a 20 something.  As a 20 something, I feel like I have to constantly seize every moment, every experience and "live life to the fullest".  I feel like I need to live up to the social norm that 20 somethings are fun, lively, busy, energetic and always up for adventure.  I feel constant pressure to always be active in everyone elses' lives.  And I always feel burdened by this social expectation that, as a 20 something, I am supposed to want to participate in everything, I am supposed to want to hangout with my friends every second, I am supposed to want to be eager to go go go.  I do love adventure, I do love new experiences.  But I don't feel completely fulfilled when I am seeking to always be active with other people.  Most of the time, I don't get energy from others.  I get energy from being alone, being quiet and contemplative.  I get energy from doing things on my own, by myself or maybe with one other person.

Most of my girlfriends are extroverts.  And I constantly feel like I am letting them down.  I feel like they must think that I don't care about them enough to want to hangout really often.  I constantly feel torn with myself, wishing that I was more eager to participate in everyone elses' lives, but knowing that it completely drains me.  I feel bad seeing my girls always excited to go out, to go to bars and parties, to hangout late into the night together, when most of the time, those ideas exhaust me.  I feel left out so often, not because of who they are, but solely because of me and my personality type.  I know I can't fully enjoy most buzzing situations that extroverts enjoy.  And I know that some extroverts just don't understand why I would rather spend my time alone than out with friends.
I presume that friends must think I don't care about them enough.  I assume that people look down on me or pity me for not being super excited to go out and hangout with people all the time.  When I feel really quiet in a crowd, it is not because I feel shy.   I just don't need to or feel inspired to chat away when other people are really engaged in each other.  I see the looks, and I know what people are thinking when they see a quiet girl lost in her own world.  But I don't need pity.  And I am in no way trying to block anyone out.  And I don't feel bad if I am not talking or am not the center of attention.  This is just the introverted person that I am and I can only hope that some people can understand we are not all the same.

I know that some people presume that I am not fully living my life when they invite me out and, most often, I don't want to go.  It is not because I don't want to invest in them or have a new experience, I just need so much time to contemplate and process each new thing that I can't constantly be engaging in the buzzing world outside.  Some would call me overly analytical and say it is a bad thing.  But why is it bad when my life feels complete and so very peaceful and full when I have a lot of time alone?  I am happy in my quiet.  I feel fulfilled when I have a good amount of time alone, away from others.  I do love adventure and change and new experiences so very much.  But I don't need it all the time.  I can find adventure and new fulfilling experiences within the contemplative world of my imagination just as much as the active physical world around me.  And when I participate in an event going on around me, the best way for me to take it all in is for me to be quiet and to observe.  I am not anti-social.  Who I am is not a negative thing.  This is me.  And I am an introvert.

There is so much joy to be found within the world of the self.  It isn't selfish.  It is just a constant and beautiful exploration of one's interior universe.  I made the above digital art today to remind myself not to be mad at myself for finding goodness and beauty in being alone.  I need to not scold myself for needing time alone.  Everyone needs time alone, just some more than others.  I encourage you today to take some time to yourself, be alone, and let yourself contemplate why the word alone is actually not bad.  Alone doesn't mean lonely.  It doesn't have to mean lonely.  Just change the n to a v and it is actually quiet Lovely.  Today, let yourself think about why and how your alone time is a lovely and beautiful thing.  Feel free to download my digital art and put it somewhere special to remind you that being alone isn't a bad thing.  It is just as fulfilling as the chaotic world buzzing all around you.  Being alone in a crowd isn't sad.  It simply means that you get to fully and quietly contemplate all that you are taking in around you.  You are your own calm in the middle of a storm.  That, to me, is beautiful and entirely fulfilling.

If you repost my image, please just post a link back my way.  It is greatly appreciated.  
And in my quiet contemplative way, I am very much appreciative of you too :)  
Have a peaceful and lovely day my friends.
(flower graphic from The Graphics Fairy. polka dot photoshop border from Pugly Pixel.)


Karen- The Graphics Fairy said...

Well said!!! I come from a long line of introverts so I know exactly what you mean. I definitely need my alone time and I do appreciate it!
I'm glad you were able to use my Rose image for your post, I really enjoyed reading it.

Kyla Roma said...

I know exactly what you mean- I love going out here and there, but I don't need it all the time and too much drains me. I need that energy for my creative juices! :)

Roxanne said...

I really love this. Really. I often feel so horrible when I don't want to jump at every chance to go out with friends, but I much prefer to be alone. And I know some of the military wives I know would look down on me for this; but I know that my husband's deployment will be a good time for me to be alone. It doesn't mean that I won't miss him or that I want him to go, but I know he'll come back and I'll be refreshed and focused. I also feel like it's hard sometimes to because while I'm introverted it doesn't mean I'm not social. I more introvert my feelings and thoughts, which them become really hard to express to other people. I do have to agree though, that being alone is quite lovely. Sorry for the book, but I feel like you wrote this from my perspective.

Erin Wallace said...

I LOVE this post. I'm a total introvert as well and need alone time. My husband doesn't understand my desire to be alone, to not go out with friends, to not seek out new things ot do. He just doesn't understand that I am happiest when I am home and quiet. Thank you so much for this post, and I am going to tweet it!

xo Erin

katrina said...

every line you wrote resonates with me -- i feel the same as you.

i'm happy that you incorporated the border into your lovely graphic. :)

Amy --- Just A Titch said...

I am an introvert, as are many of my more creative, writerly-type friends. I think it's difficult for people to understand that...but I think it's good that you're doing what works for you.

Allie said...

I put the image on the right-hand column of my blog. It's perfect there!

Windsor Grace said...

I am also very introverted and have felt like I was missing out on something or that I was weird because I didn't want to go clubbing every night or have 100 friends all the time.

Marsinah (mar-see-na) said...

Being alone is very lovely-especially for us artists. We need to dig deep into ourselves for inspiration and execution. I value my alone time and am not in fear of it, as some people tend to be. I embrace it with a chance to be creative and re-evaluate my purpose in this life :)

Amy T Schubert said...

I totally totally understand.
It takes some real bravery and self-confidence to be able to admit to your friends that, no, you would rather stay home alone on a Saturday night.
good for you

sara said...

you said it sister! thanks for sharing...we're all alone together, and it's GREAT!

Reticella said...

I am just now reading this (found it on your about me) and i cant thank you enough for sharing! Most of my family is extroverts and they always think i need to go and be out and talk to people. as this may be true, even if i am "out" i usually am quiet anyway. if i hang out with too many people, too many times, I am done for and get cranky. I definitely need time for myself. thanks for reassuring me that its okay!

Chris Martucci said...


My girlfriend is a fashion blogger and she told me to read this. We're both exactly the same way--we live together, but rarely hang out with friends. We love staying home.

Anyway, I linked to your article on my blog and wrote about my own personal experience being an introvert in my twenties. I'd love for you to read it, if you have a chance: http://whatblag.com/post/4197874796/there-is-nothing-wrong-with-being-alone

Thanks so much. Keep up the great writing!

AMAM said...

I loved it so much, I guess I don't have to write about my Lo"v"eliness now that I read yours. I really do feel the same. I'm a follower.
Thank you,

tea and chickadees said...

What a lovely alone post! Give me a game of Scrabble, a tea date with a girlfriend, a good book to read, a nature walk with my dog & cameras, quiet reflection & creative time and my soul is quenched.
Reading this post & the subsequent comments gave me a happy moment of alone solidarity.

yaga said...

what a great statement! It's exactly how I feel, but it is so good to have somebody else put it in words for me. This is actually the reason I have hardly any girlfriends.

Seraph said...

Never forget: Strength and solitude are side by side. It takes great strength to be solitary in an extrovert's world.