Learning to Fly Solo

A photo of someone jumping with joy in front of a vast forrested areaBy: Maryam Khan, 3rd Year Health Sciences

Photo by: Peter Conlan on Unsplash  

As students, we cherish moments when we have time on our hands, as it's when we get to enjoy and experience life. An uncommon opinion is that such instances in life can still be special when you are alone as well! Being alone shouldn't label you as a loner or anti-social; it's the perspective that defines being alone. Redefining words can impact one's mental health and provide a positive perspective on life. There are many lessons that can be learned while flying solo. It's the comfort of being yourself and rediscovering yourself as well.  

Alone Does Not Equal Lonely  

Initially, I also associated the word alone with the gloomy term "lonely". It made me feel the need to stay productive and social at all times, and if I didn't, I would identify myself as sluggish and feel judged by this standard I weighed myself on. I quickly learned that this outlook was generally untrue and unhealthy; I also realized why people commonly associate these terms together. We all are guilty of wondering why someone chooses to be alone when seeing an individual go to the movies by themselves, or having a meal at a restaurant. It is difficult to alter one's perspective on certain words, especially those that have been long-standing. Fortunately, it is possible to grow and develop a better understanding of being alone! In the context of wellbeing, redefining a word can dismantle misconceptions and stereotypes. In this case, we can be comfortable being alone without feeling apprehensive about being seen as a lone wolf. In some instances, an individual by themselves is no more alone than that one person who's constantly surrounded by peers. You can still feel alone even with enjoying your own company and being comfortable admitting it.  

Discovering Yourself In Time  

Charles Dickens once said, "A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self". I find this everlasting quote quite accurate; excuse the pun! So even if you rewatched that Netflix show for the third time this month, took a nap and woke you up the next day, or had a silent staring contest with your cat, you didn't really waste your time in it. You essentially made an effort to stay comfortable and experience a low-key yet rewarding moment. The bottom line is if it's something you enjoy and feel content with afterward, then there is nothing to feel guilty about as you invest your time. Having downtime, relaxing, or even sitting in silence can help you connect with yourself. These moments can aid in defining what you cherish and build your intuition. We live in a fast-paced environment, where taking a break and caring for yourself is essential to decipher your thoughts and feelings for a more productive lifestyle.  

No Validation Needed 

You are enough. A self-affirming mantra that entails satisfaction on how we are complete in terms of feeling content with sincerity. Understanding a complex yet straightforward aspect of yourself takes time regardless, but it does provide one with an authentic identity. We spend most of our energy and time seeking validation from others, which in turn drains our drive. It's another issue when there are often toxic individuals in your life; that's when your own reflection is distorted, and it's possible to mirror others' vulnerabilities and unhealthy attitudes with time. Regardless, taking time to understand healthy and well-balanced validation by others and come to terms that you are enough can be beneficial. Taking the time to work on yourself also develops your intuition in connecting with the right people. Supportive individuals would respect and understand the importance of having space, as well as being considerate and genuine while validating your feelings. When no one else is around, you tend to realize that your opinions and thoughts are the most important ones that matter. Essentially, you no longer feel the need to impress and please others to gain their approval to feel temporary contentment.  

We all are still learning the ropes of being independent and balancing our personal and social lives. Yet, we tend to respect and understand each other if one of us is in a slump. So why shouldn't we expect that from ourselves as well? Give yourself the space to grow emotionally and mentally; this will provide you an advantage in learning about yourself and developing a reliable intuition. Being comfortable in your own skin and enjoying your own company is empowering. The important thing to remind yourself is that you are not alone. There is always a nearby boat you can swim towards. 

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