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"Table for one, please!" is something I have no problem saying aloud! Yes...I'm that friend. I'm that friend who will go to dinner or catch a movie alone. I'm that friend, who enjoys being a loner, as opposed to being constantly surrounded by people. (Exhale.) Now don't get me wrong—I love my family and I adore my friends, but too much of them is too much for me. Finding that balance is crucial! Yes, I have had my share of group outings, double dates, "Ladies Nights," girl chats, wife chats, just-because chats, and family functions. However, on a constant basis...it can be a bit much and extremely draining. Yes, I must confess that part of the reason I'm uber content with being alone is because I'm an only child—through my mom—so by default I am a loner. (I do make the conscious effort not to always be!) Growing up, if I wasn't visiting my dad's, or playing with my cousins, I was playing by myself. As I got older, I found myself wanting to do more, and so I begin surrounding myself with people more often than being alone. So, through the years, I forced relationships and I've forced friendships for the sake of having tangible "somebodies" to be around. But what I didn't realize is, I didn't know who I was, and so their presence served as a validation to my existence. (Whew! Heavy right!?) Yup. That's my reality and that's my truth! And when I finally mustered up the courage to discover who Juanita is—with the absence of people—self-love begin to manifest.
To some, one's response to me dating myself would be, "She's crazy, I'd never go to the movies alone!" or "Geesh, she must really be lonely, anti-social, or depressed for that matter." But I'm neither! (LOL) Truth of the matter is, being able to attend a dinner alone, catching a movie by yourself, or traveling solo is not a sign of loneliness, rather an indication of solitude. The reality is, most people who are uncomfortable with doing things alone, are truly uncomfortable with being alone. Learning to enjoy the company of self is apart of self-discovery—you can't find who you are if you're not looking. And you can't look for something, if you remain still, while constantly being in the mix of people. You can be alone and not be lonely—that's solitude! Those quiet-quality moments spent with self, will allow you to get to know you...for if you can't embrace solitude, you'll never enjoy company.
More often then not, I have watched many women and men (something we don't usually talk about) allow themselves to be so tied up with being in the presence of others, that they never or hardly ever spend time alone. Those who find themselves constantly in the midst of crowds, tend to lose themselves to the presence of people. You become so accustomed to being accompanied by people, that your identity becomes wrapped up in them—this is true as it relates to any relationship—be it may a friendship or companionship. Being amongst or accompanied by people should not define or validate you as an individual. One thing is for sure, when you journey to solitude, you learn that if you can't be happy being by yourself, then you will never be happy being with someone else.
Digging at the root that causes the uncomfortable feeling of doing things alone is, as I mentioned before, the fear of being alone. Consequently, when we as men and women feed our fear of loneliness, we give way to unconsciously building strongholds. Digging deeper, this fear of "being alone" affects us in such a way that it creates a ripple effect in our relationships that we will tolerant so much so to settle for less than what we deserve in fear of "being alone." This is why solitude is so very important, because you can be in the midst of people and still be lonely. I believe this is why we have a lot of lonely men and women desperate for relationships to fill the void of their loneliness. When you get to a place where you discover who you are, having someone else around is just extra. You no longer thirst for someone else's presence, because you enjoy your own. When you discover self, you value your presence more than the presence of "people." And from this, I have grown to not just loving, but to liking me. And because I love me, I refuse to put myself in the predicament to be around people who I know don't like me—and those that do—just for the sake of having company.
Listen ladies and gents...I say to you... rid that fear, drop those bags, unpack your luggage, and journey to solitude and discover self. When we are constantly surrounded by people, we shy away from dealing with our inner-me. Take time, to make time, to spend time, with YOU. After all, you are all you have, you go with you everywhere, and you have to live with you for the rest of your life. So get to know yourself in the absence of people. Spend time with yourSELF, whether it's shopping alone, treating yourself to a facial or day spa, a quiet lunch at Red Lobster's, or a quick trip to the movies. And if you find that someone who looks strangely at you, as if you're crazy for coming alone, smile back at them knowing that the "glass is half full."