To be alone is not to be lonely

Social media has spread the idea of #SelfLove quite enthusiastically in the past year or so. For different reasons, people everywhere are beginning to recognise the importance of putting themselves first. A healthy dose of selfish can go a long way, but the real question is, how can one truly embrace this selfishness if they struggle to spend time with themselves?

Growing up a black African, we are often reminded that we are born alone. In fact, it may be safe to say most African parents discourage large groups of friends, oftentimes alluding to the importance of you making your own decisions instead of being a follower. This advice is usually ‘shouted’ at us instead of ‘told’ to us, which is no surprise why we end up doing whatever we want anyway – until we get burnt. Oh, the joys of growing up, but I digress.

According to the Oxford dictionary, alone means “having no one else present; on one’s own” whereas being lonely is defined as “sad because one has no friends or company” – I hope the distinction is clear.

There is no sadness that comes with choosing to be alone. There is no sadness that comes with taking the necessary time to understand your thoughts, properly analyse your problems in order to come up with well-thought-out solutions. There is little to no reason to impose loneliness into your space of growth. Do not be afraid of yourself, if strangers can like you, imagine how much more you will find you can like yourself.

Indeed, it is true that “no man is an island,” but in the same breath, no man can claim islands are not good holiday destinations. So, take yourself out for an hour today, create your own island away from your routine. Bask in the sun of your own making, allow for your own renewal. In solitude you will see more clearly, allow your creativity to sore and rediscover who you are when media, people and the demands of daily life are not constantly fighting for your attention.