If you haven’t noticed, we live in a world that tends to shame people for doing things on their own. Buying one ticket to a musical? Oh baby, I’m so sorry. Going to the movies by yourself? Meghna, that’s so sad. Taking a spontaneous trip alone? OMG why didn’t you tell me? I would’ve gone with you!
I get the whole idea of sharing a moment with someone dear to you, but why are we programmed to be co-dependent? Why do we feel ashamed when we go to a movie by ourselves? Why do we feel sorry for ourselves when we ask for a table for one?
Last fall during my semester in Europe, I made a spontaneous decision to go to Paris by myself. That trip was by far the best trip I’ve taken. I didn’t have to run on anyone else’s schedule. I didn’t have to walk at anyone else’s pace. I could do whatever I wanted. And that’s exactly what I did.
I felt great about my trip and I was proud of myself for doing it on my own. When I came back, I was greeted with the classic “…oh….you went all alone? That must’ve been…nice” or the “OMG if I had known I totally would’ve gone with you!” The thing is, I realised I didn’t need or want anyone else there.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of self-dates. I have them constantly. Treating yourself to a day of laying in bed, doing nothing, or a night of experimenting with recipes and cooking up a storm. As an introvert, I get my energy from being left alone with my thoughts. That’s when I thrive. That’s when I am my truest self. The only person I’m trying to impress is me.
We have all been raised to require the company and validation of others. I’m not saying being around people is bad. Not at all. But we rarely ever think about how our own actions can affect us. We play this constant validation-insecurity cat and mouse game that never ends. We trap ourselves in this toxic mental space of self-pity and deprecation for doing something on our own or being by ourselves. Why is it so pathetic to stay in on a Saturday night and binge some TV? Why is it a cry for help if I’m sitting by myself in the dining hall? We need to learn to appreciate and cherish time to ourselves a lot more than we do now.
There were so many restaurants and cafes I wanted to try last summer but didn’t because I wanted to go with someone. It feels silly now, a year later, to think that I didn’t get to eat all kinds of delicious food because I was too scared to sit by myself. This time around, hopefully that will not be the case. Asking for a table for one isn’t easy. But is it worth it? Absolutely.
Learn to Treat Yo Self from the masters themselves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsABTmT1_M0
Photo by Meghna Ravishankar at Coffee Bru, Amsterdam.
Meghna "drinks too much coffee" Ravishankar