Being alone is not entirely synonymous to loneliness.
Even if you’re not in a relationship with someone or if you’re away from your family, you can still be genuinely happy—it does not mean there’s anything wrong with you.
Here’s a thought: Being alone is not easy, but being with someone yet feeling empty and lonely at the same time is even harder.
Although the mere idea of being alone can make some people feel afraid, it actually has its advantages. That’s why we asked experts to share their thoughts and ideas to help us explore the ways on how to be happy alone. Here are their insights:
Licensed Psychotherapist | Life & Relationship Coach
In order for one to begin being happy alone, they have to first let go of the idea that they are missing something by not being in a relationship.
It is easy to feel like you are missing out by being single and not having companionship. Not only is it okay to be alone, but it also does not limit one’s quality of life or mean that they are going to be alone forever. Being alone is an opportunity to grow, therefore, being happy during that time requires a change in mindset.
Being single gives time to heal from old relationships scars and work on yourself. People go into new relationships too often carrying around baggage from old relationships that they never heal from. Being alone provides time for one to work on these old wounds and potential become a better person. They will feel happier as they begin to let go of this baggage and feel freer to be themselves.
One can also be happy alone by living their best life. They should be doing all of the things that they are passionate about and checking things off of their bucket list. When you are alone you are able to make decisions based on what you want to do and do not have to include or think of someone else. Due to this, you should be taking vacations, trying new restaurants, going to the spa and anything else that you have wanted to do.
Psychotherapist for Individuals & Couples
Being happy alone is of utmost importance. When we are happy alone, we won’t depend on anything or anyone to fill that space for us, creating much freedom and clarity in our lives.
Feeling happy alone requires us to be able to spend time alone doing things that we enjoy and that reenergize us, like self-care routines (exercise, meditation, hobbies, sports, volunteering, etc.) These activities give us pleasure and show us that we are able to create joy and love ourselves.
Happiness has a lot to do with acknowledgment and acceptance of how we feel & think through our presence in each moment. With this, we are never needing to escape from ourselves or look for happiness outside of ourselves with another person or thing.
Happiness comes after we allow the unhappiness to just be, which is often counterintuitive. Because a lot of people jump into relationships out of fear of their loneliness, feeling all feelings as they are, without judgment, will eliminate that fear.
Become more comfortable with negative emotions.
There’s a lot of pressure to always feel positive, isn’t there? If someone isn’t telling us we should feel happy/grateful/joyful/confident, we are telling ourselves. Truth is, no one can live in that perpetually happy space 24/7. No one. Sure, it’s great to gain a positive perspective on difficult situations as you overcome them, but how are you supposed to overcome if you never acknowledge that something is difficult to start?
If you want to improve your overall emotional state, you’ve got to start noticing and accepting your emotions … or else. Seriously. Denial of negative emotions leads to depression (or anxiety or OCD or …) and believing you shouldn’t feel whatever you’re feeling, leads to denial. So, notice when you’re feeling anxious, sad, jealous, even happy without judging yourself.
Feel the feelings — you won’t be stuck in them forever (unless you ignore them forever). Then, after you know the feelings exist, you can actually do something about them. For example, once you realize and accept, “Oh, I am actually really depressed that my relationship ended.” you can address the sadness.
You can learn a new way to express and move past your emotions. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend grieving. Isn’t it amazing that our body has a natural method for releasing sadness? Yup! It’s called crying and it’s essentially human. You should give it a try sometime.
After the grieving, look for the silver lining. What did you learn? Can you turn it into something useful? Your relationship may have failed, but maybe you can appreciate your bravery in trying.
Take a tiny step in the direction of YOUR goals.
So, it’s been a decade of dreaming the same the dream, and you still haven’t taken a step toward achieving it? You’re not the first. Sometimes, our dreams are so big and critical to our self-esteem and happiness, taking action becomes too overwhelming and risky. After all, if you fail, what does that say about your value (self-esteem issue)? How will you possibly cope with your failure (happiness/fear issue)?
It’s easier to stay stuck where you are, right? “Why am I dreaming so big? My life is really fine as it is.” If, however, this years-long internal “should I/shouldn’t I” debate hasn’t dissipated by now, it’s probably here to stay. I say it’s time to go for it and take action — the teeniest, tiniest action.
Certified Neuro-Linguistic Life Coach, Self-ish Lifestyle
Your perception becomes your reality. I adhere to this philosophy so I choose to be happy. How is it that two siblings who grew up in the same household under an alcoholic father took very different life paths? One being an alcoholic while the other commits to a sober lifestyle. The power of individual perception is the answer. Make a decision—choose “happy”.
Happiness is a term that is subjective to every human being. So the first thing you need to ask and establish within yourself is, “What does happiness means to me?”
For me, happiness equals being grateful and vice versa. If I am happy then I’m grateful and if I’m grateful then I am happy. By saying, thank you for this challenge because now I can do something about it, Then happiness in my present moment comes into existence. This statement is a powerful tool that opens creative avenues for me to positively respond to life experiences.
The second question to inquire within is, “How can I be happy right now?”
Did you know that happiness is an instinct within yourself? It needs to be tapped into, activated and continuously exercised. My instant happiness technique is to smile and affirm—my perception becomes my reality. I am happy, I feel happy, and happiness is my birthright. Do not underestimate the power of a smile. I make myself happy.
Third question, “How do I maintain this state of happiness?”
This is not a passive technique, this requires you to practice happiness daily, much like exercising a muscle group. Once you’ve done it enough times, it becomes muscle memory and the act of choosing happiness can be asserted quickly.
Meditation is my highway to happiness. To begin, I require time out of my day—morning and night—to be in stillness. Be in a place where I cannot be disturbed. I gently close my eyes and take a deep breath in, following the breath as it travels throughout my body. The sensations of relaxation, peace, and harmony, brings me to the present moment and I smile, knowing that focusing on choosing happy is my goal.
Then exhale it all out saying thank you for this very moment of clarity. I do this two more times and tap into what happiness is to me. What that looks, feel, and be like.
To me, the choice to meditate, exercise, and doing what I love—teaching individuals to be in their power–is the key to being happy alone.
When we condition ourselves to choose happiness, then the habit of being positively productive becomes our way of being. The brain doesn’t know what’s real or fake, we send data to the brain through our feelings. We tell the brain what to perceive and so it becomes the reality. That is the power of taking responsibility and accountability of your way of life. Choose happiness.
Happiness doesn’t mean I bypass the ugliness surrounding me. But being happy within allows me to respond from a state of power. A decision made from a focused, powerful, and elated self is one that can be sustained in the long run.
Now that you have established what and how happiness looks and feels to you, notice the subtle shifts in your life.
Does food suddenly taste better? How about your outlook of the world? Are colors slightly brighter and clearer?
The greatest gift we have is the gift of choice. Decide to be happy alone, from within. If we let the outside world dictate how we should feel inside, then we are in trouble and happiness will always be an elusive destination when it should naturally be our home.
What does being happy mean? Are we happy when we’re financially stable? in relationships? Succeeding in our careers? Are we happy as a result of our conditions or do we hold true joy within, unconditionally? Are we ever present enough to witness our happiness at any given moment?
Most of us perceive that happiness is obtained outside of ourselves. When we reach this, we will feel that. When we obtain love with another, we will be whole. Truth is, we already hold the key to it all, within. No outside experience is of necessity when you already hold all the answers within yourself.
It’s easy to get caught up in the temptations of our reality that ultimately blind us from seeing what truly is. It’s easy to gain a sort of tunnel-vision for our life and lack understanding that there are other perspectives too! This blindness hinders us from seeing the interconnected nature of all things. We lack the understanding that everyone currently existing has feelings, doubts, issues, fears, just like you.
This illusion of separateness results in seeking joy outside of ourselves through the form of relationships, friendships, career aspirations etc.. While all of these relationships bring much joy to our experience, there is a clear distinction between being reliant on these versus acknowledging and embracing their purpose.
What do I mean by acknowledging and embracing their purpose? Understanding that you are divine and perfect just as you are. You hold no need to seek joy by using external circumstances to cover up unhealed sufferings. You instead view these relationships as mirrors reflecting what you hold within.
This allows us to pinpoint attachments or sufferings and work to heal them within, eventually leading to healthier and more loving relationships. On the other hand, being reliant on these relationships is a way to run away from our true selves and mask our pain.
Being alone is something that has gained an interesting reputation. Many feel bad for you or give you that “aw” reaction. I’m twenty-two years old, I’ve been single for over two years now, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. How do I manage to pull this off? Getting used to the typical questions some people ask is important. You’ll get the “Are you talking to anyone?“, ” Anyone new in your life?“. It’s so common people almost immediately assume your role in life is to date others! Getting over these questions and viewing them as comical is key.
Throughout these two years, I’ve spent a lot of time alone. I’ve grown comfortable with myself. I’ve analyzed and continue to analyze aspects of myself that I’ve never taken the time to understand. I unveil and eventually heal layers of suffering that allow me to get a little closer to my truth, every day. I follow my gut and trust that nothing occurs without reason. I understand that “who I am is so magnificent that being squeezed into a human body can be painful at times.“
Being alone is not painful if we find joy from within. We don’t seek external satisfactions, we don’t crave a love we already hold. Rather when we take the time to awaken/unveil these feelings of love, truth, compassion, they start to manifest in our external world tenfold. The key is starting from within, and watching as your external reality reflects what you are emitting.
Happiness can only be achieved when alone because happiness is only every achieved looking out of your own goggles or your perspective. You hold the capacity within you to feel joy! External circumstances are not joyful, you are the light that brings joy to your reality!
You only truly feel happiness, alone. You are alone in your mind, and so is everyone else! We can choose to disregard that fact and continue to form relationships that do not align with our truth, or we can disregard our mind completely and remember that our souls are one and connected. Our mind creates separateness that allows us to perceive we are alone. Our souls know we’re forever together and one.
Happiness starts from within you.
The gateway to learning how to be happy alone is the following:
Self-esteem is the number one asset needed. If you don’t have it and or it is hidden from years of sabotaging yourself and others not providing you with what you think you deserved in entitlement.
- Being alone and happy is something you can achieve.
- The process for you to learn how to be alone and happy in my experience is always empowering. You will tap inside the very best part of your character and emotional well being. This is where you will find the core power that will enable you to be alone and happy.
Create, cultivate and produce yourself. You have two choices in regard to how you look at this process. You can be self-actualized or a victim. This is where your power, control, success or failure resides – within you. No one else.
The keys to your success at discovering how to be alone and happy:
- Establish what self-esteem means for you personally.
- Think of people you know and or have read about that appear to have legitimate self-esteem, not hubris. How does this manifest in their behavior? Why is self-esteem important?
- What do they do when they are alone. Make a list.
- If you were to be with another person and you were happy. What would the activities be that you would do with the other person that would make you happy?
Being alone and happy can be a natural state of mind.
Embrace this idea of being alone as a time to cultivate, curate and produce yourself. Being alone can be a conscious choice of love and respect. Please do not look at being alone as sad, pathetic and as an outcast.
The more evolved you are in the art of being alone. This will show in your posture, how you treat other people. Other’s will notice. Most importantly you will know that being alone and happy means you are evolved and actualized.
Best-selling Author | Professional Leadership Coach
The foundation of love is loving oneself. It’s a process and a practice that requires persistence. We must learn to embrace the parts of ourselves that we judge, don’t fully accept or even those which we feel are flawed.
A habit to begin doing daily is to ask ourselves, ‘What’s something I want to acknowledge about myself, or what’s something I appreciate about myself?’ Once we learn to fully accept and appreciate ourselves, we can find joy regardless of our relationship status.
If we focus too much on what we don’t have or what we want; such as a relationship or partner etc., and neglect to focus on what we do in fact have, we’ll always be coming from a place of scarcity. The regular and consistent practice of gratitude and appreciation will serve one well, for when love with a significant other comes your way, you will have so much you are already thankful for — that this new relationship will be a bonus; your cup will overflow which will allow you to truly love this person versus try and get them to “fill your cup“.
Starting with oneself is not selfish. It’s a necessity. We must water our own garden and fill our own cups to ensure we attract others who know how to do the same. Focusing on our own abundance makes us wildly attractive and will also allow us to ‘call-in‘ more potential partners because we’ll be operating from a more grounded, self-assured and peaceful place. Not to mention, we’ll have that ‘glow!’
Related: Why Is Self Love Important?
International Bestselling Author
Take personal responsibility for your isolation and loneliness because you can change your life the moment you reach out. There are always people around to talk to and enjoy.
Have you become out of touch with your family? Rebuild close relationships with all the family members you can find. Skype your extended family. Get to know your neighbors. Bake delicious cookies and walk around your neighborhood. Your neighbors will be delighted.
Make new friends at work. Chances are someone is also in the same situation you are. Join a club or organization connected to your passions. Join online groups and forums. Create a community of like-minded people. Organize a potluck dinner and invite your friends who are also single. Post the event on social media and encourage your friends to invite others.
We were never meant to live in isolation. Don’t even try. Don’t suffer alone thinking there is something wrong with you if isolation makes you feel terrible. Of course, you are sad when you are lonely! The universe designed you to be with others. Now get out there and connect!
I think our ability to be happy alone is, more than anything else, a result of our experience. I realize that others do not share my frequent joy in solo activity. If you grew up in a big family, raised a family of your own, have been partnered most of your life, I expect being alone may not be your cup of tea.
None of those descriptors apply to me. I had one sibling, one cousin, married only late in life and never had my own children. Beginning with my family’s frequent moves when I was a preteen, I have had to learn to get along without a mob of companions.
That said, I love to encourage others to enjoy their alone time. I have traveled to Europe numerous times on my own and find that I have the most exciting adventures when I am meeting people on the road—which might not happen if I were busy chatting with a travel partner. The challenge of getting along in places where communication and customs are challenging adds to the stress, but also the thrill of travel.
One of the favorite days of my life, so much fun I remember it many years later, was a solo birthday celebration. I drove the hour into San Francisco, had lunch at a French bistro, walked the streets browsing interesting shops and on a whim bought a print that struck my fancy. (A picture of children on a beach, it hung in my office until my retirement, when I gave it to a staff member who had always commented on it.) After my wanderings, without having to be concerned about what someone else would want to do, I saw a Russian film and then headed home. A perfect day and the ultimate self-indulgence.
Related: 20 Fun Things to Do on Your Birthday
I have had long relationships in my life and although I have been single for the last fourteen years, would prefer to share my life with someone special. I know, however, that I am incapable of sustaining a relationship where I am not deeply in love with the guy. So although I date occasionally and have men friends, I remain single. I sometimes peruse the offerings on dating websites and occasionally reach out.
My strategy at this time in my life is simply to be open to opportunities that arise. I go out with friends or alone. I welcome invitations from married friends. I am open to being introduced to new people. And sometimes I enjoy just hanging out by myself, writing, reading, watching my favorite TV programs. Life is too short too not enjoy every possible moment.
Here are a few things I have learned over the years on how to be happy alone.
You can find out what truly makes you happy. You don’t have anyone holding you back or compromising with allowing you to try a variety of activities, finding yourself and really knowing who you are as an individual.
Take the time for some self-love and self-care. Looking after yourself is not a crime, taking the time out to do things that make you happy and feel good is great, especially when you can concentrate on you.
Related: Why Is Self Love Important?
Being alone allows you to decide your own schedules and what you want to do etc. It is a great opportunity to get healthy, exercises more, eats right – takes the time to look after your physical health and fitness. It can make you feel healthy and happy.
Always had that dream of being a writer? Or hoping to pick up painting? Now is the best time! You can develop those dreams that you thought could never come true. Find your passions and invest time and love into them. Doing the things you want to do and love will brighten your overall view on life, not to mention how accomplished you will feel.
Realize that is perfectly okay to be alone. You can only know yourself and do what you feel is best for you. No one has to be in a relationship and it is acceptable if you want to be alone. Don’t put pressure on yourself of finding someone just because everyone else says you have to. Value yourself and your own opinion.