How to be alone.

This video isn’t perfect, but it underscores an important skill that women need to cultivate: the ability to be at home in our own company. I shared it with my daughters since one of them is already the age I was when I married and two are the age I was when I was engaged. None of them are as yet engaged or otherwise poised to be, so they need to get this even though it’s not something I ever struggled with.

The home I grew up in was directly across the street from a park equipped with playground, benches, tables, tennis courts, and a basketball court. It was fairly busy there during the hours when school let out. I would sometimes go out of my way to avoid the park during those hours. I enjoyed the park most often on Saturday mornings, right after sunrise, when no one was there or would be there for several hours. I’d sit on a bench and read for an hour or more.

My father, an extroverted man whose company was usually in demand, would stand in our screened front door and wonder at me there enjoying my book only to get up and head inside once the park started to fill up with kids at mid morning. Since the only time he insisted on being alone was when he was praying or reading his Bible, he found my behavior counter intuitive. He wasn’t the only one.

In other words, this particular lesson is not one I ever really had to learn. My challenge frankly, has been the opposite. However, as I’m sure is the case for most of us, I’ve seen women do inexplicable things to vanquish loneliness, so the sooner we learn to embrace and enjoy our own company, the easier it is to deal with periods of time when there is no one else around to distract us from ourselves. This is a truism worth remembering: “Wherever you go there you are, so learn to enjoy being with you.”

The idea that you need to be surrounded by people, involved in a romantic relationship, or wear some other societal seal of approval to be worthy is precisely how women find themselves involved with all the wrong friends, and looking for love in all the wrong places. There’s no better way to build the kind of confidence that attracts worthwhile people -and relationships which stand the test of time- than an unmistakable sense of ease in your own skin.No one besides God can give that to you anyway.

The linked video is decidedly secular, so the glaring omission is the need to build a solid and firm spiritual foundation through the kind of prayer and study you can only engage in by being alone in the first place. Even if you are married with a passel of kids and a busy social life, it is still worth it to be able to function well when you inevitably find yourself alone for a period of time.

Well, time alone isn’t always inevitable, as I find myself frequently scrounging around for a half hour of quiet, but when I get it I sure know how to appreciate it.

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3 thoughts on “How to be alone.

  1. I have a lot I could add to this but it might have to wait until Monday.

    But there are lots of skills to develop and resources to build during the single years that we miss out on if we neglect to see the blessings in every season of life.

    Like

  2. That was a lovely poem. I know very little about being usefully alone, I made scandalously poor use of my alone time which I regret to this day.

    That said, before I was part of a duo, there was a lot of alone, and there are parts of me to be reclaimed from the quiet pools of solitude.

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  3. Well I wasn’t the best steward of my alone time either frankly. The one good thing was that for the most part I was okay with actually being alone. Not always -I didn’t hesitate to use my head to get what my heart wanted when I did want someone. But it was more focused.

    This post modern culture basically tells women that their worth or lack thereof is decided by how many “friends” they have, likes they get, or the % of guys who think they are hot.

    I read once that the times a man lived can tell you more about him than the family he was born into. I don’t completely believe that, and I think by God’s grace we have done a good job with our kids but I still worry a little that they are somewhat infected a little by this post modern sickness that we all have inherited to some degree.

    Liked by 1 person

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