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Going It Alone

I am sitting at Starbucks Bintang Mall in Miri, typing this. Alone. Enjoying a cup of hazelnut hot chocolate and a pack of nuts. Alone. In about three weeks, I will participate in the annual Kuching Marathon, brisk walking. Alone. I shall drive to the location at 4.30am. Alone. Thereafter I shall leave the location after 8am for breakfast. Alone.

This is normal for me.

Sometimes, friends asks “wouldn’t you have more fun doing stuff with someone instead of doing stuff alone?”

My answer is always yes. And no.

I agree. Doing stuff with a friend can be a really rewarding experience. You don’t truly know someone until you’ve done something with them.

But I have just as much fun doing stuff alone. It’s a different experience, and it is no less unenjoyable. By doing stuff alone I learn about myself. I learn about my own strengths, and I learn about my own weaknesses and insecurities.

Meet me. An Introvert
It seems that according to society, there is something wrong with you if you prefers to be alone. Society looks highly at extroverts. Society think working in groups is better than alone. Society says collaboration is the only way of the future.

But the truth is, half of the world doesn’t agree. I certainly don’t agree. So much so that sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with me when I avoid working in big teams, or being in the center of attention.

But there’s nothing wrong with me is there? I’m just an introvert. And, according to some statistics, there’s about a 50% chance that you are, too.

Nice meeting you
If you’re an introvert, welcome to the club. This club don’t hold meetings because we prefer to work alone. There will be no group activities because we know we’d rather be doing it alone.

Being in social mode is equally fun for us introverts, but we can only take it in limited doses.

For me, when I participate in an activity, I purposefully leave the next day as being activity-less because I need my me-time. Alone.

At work, i dislike brainstorming because I know I won’t come up with anything useful. But leave me alone to think the project over and you might be surprised at what I think up of.

If you want me to join you for a night out, i much rather we go someplace quiet where we can talk. I get value from my relationships by getting to know you much more than just being around you.

And if you’re an extrovert, don’t assume there’s no value in being alone. There most certainly is. And handling it well is a beautiful thing. Or at the very least, it’s a useful life skill.

Single, solo you is good enough
You’re valuable as a person. You don’t need the approval of anyone else for that to be true. When you’re alone, it’s because you choose to be. And that’s ok.

Value others’ opinion. Value your own more.
Don’t ask others for advice unless you need a different opinion. Instead ask yourself first. When you trust yourself to give an answer that best suit you, you become more confident and stronger.

Sharpen your observation skills
To truly love being alone, learn to look at everyday situations in a new and unfamiliar way. At a park, watch how people play with their children or pet. At the supermarket, observe how people make their purchases. Learning how people operate when they think no one is watching can be eye-opening.

Appreciate the silence
The world is a busy, noisy place. Sometimes it’s  so easy to forget how nice it is to sit alone and appreciate your own company. Indeed you can learn a lot about yourself when you’re least occupied with everyday life and living.

Talk to yourself 
It’s perfectly normal to talk to yourself. But do remember that it’s considered crazy if you talk back.

Boring does not exist
There is no such thing as a boring person. A boring situation does not exist either. If you do find one, it’s probably because you have not been paying attention. Take interest in each and every person that passes through your life. Watch carefully what they do. Listen closely to what they share. You’ll be better for it.

Do it alone
Do things on your own what society says is best done with others. Watch a movie alone. Travel alone. Have a great dinner alone. I mean, who the hell decided that you weren’t supposed to do these activities alone?

When you learn to do it alone, you’ll start to see yourself, and the world, with fresh perspective. Each and every time. Because really, you are your best company. Learn to embrace it.

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