Tuesday, 2 September 2014

How to enjoy your own company and love being alone.

So in my last post I said I would be going to an exhibition on my own and spending the day alone. But how were my first steps to enjoying something alone? 

Scary, thats the truth. Scary as hell. I set my alarm for 8am, which allowed me enough time to get up and be on the train with enough time to cycle from London Charing Cross to Kensington on a Boris Bike (My new found love). 

Cycling In London is surprisingly relaxing in London.  (Hyde Park) 

When I woke up I had so many options, go back to sleep and stay in bed all day watching Netflix. Do the weekly shopping with mum. Visit my nan for the day. All of these were just so that I did not have to go out alone and not enjoy myself. But I knew I had to do it, if I can't even get on a train to London on my own, how am I ever going to fly to the other side of the world alone? (Yes, travelling the world is my dream - but more about that another day). 

Sitting on the train on the way in to London was awfully nerve wracking, what if people thought I was weird by going alone? What if I don't enjoy it? What if I cant find it? I do that same journey alone every single day to work, but today was different, I knew I would be alone all day. 

Once on my Boris Bike, I looked up the route on my phone to the exhibition and enjoyed cycling my way through the streets of London. Stopping whenever I felt I needed to, or whenever I wanted to take a photograph or just sit and admire the beautiful city that I live in. And I realised, being alone was relaxing, it was liberating and mostly it was teaching me a lot about myself. I never live in the moment or admire the beauty of the world around me, I just carry on with tomorrows that never come. My life is a constant tomorrow and being alone taught me to live in the moment, to just live. 

The exhibition was amazing, really really enjoyable. It has finished for this year but keep an eye out for the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards for 2015. And even enter at http://www.tpoty.com/ if you feel you have the right photograph. 

Four of the pictures that caught my eye the most. 
What this day taught me the most though, is that people do not care what you did today, what you saw, who you did it with or how it made you feel. People are interested in themselves. Nobody cared what I had seen or how much of a big step it was for me to do this alone, So I didn't make anybody listen to the story that they didn't want to hear.  

But I did learn that in order for people to find you interesting, you don't need to tell them about what you did last weekend or how many beers you had at that house party, you need to listen. Listen to what they have to say - be generally interested and let them speak about themselves. Do you not think that the ones you like the most are the ones that listen to you, the ones that let you tell them your story and they listen?

Try it, just for a week and if successful try a month. Try listening to the people around you don't be the one constantly talking, constantly changing the subject. Just listen and in response to a story you are listening to or a problem you are trying to solve, ask the person a question to dig deeper into them and learn more about them.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to 

live forever.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

This quote is one I read today online and it really stuck in my mind. If you were going to live forever, wouldn't you want to know as much a possible? If you have to go alone, Do so, and enjoy it. 

But the real question in this post is 'Did I feel lonely going out alone?' 

The answer is no, it was liberating, relaxing and most of all it was a learning curve. Try it out, spend time alone, visit the museum you have always wanted to see, do the white water rafting your other half won't do with you and your friends can't afford.

 You yourself have one life, your own life to live. Stop living other people's lives and start living your own. I'm not saying to drop your friends and do everything alone, because that would become lonely. But if there is something you want to do and nobody wants to go with you - don't be afraid to go alone. You only have one chance to do everything you want to do and you never know when tomorrow may never come.  

Learn to love yourself, Learn to love being alone. Learn to Love the world. 

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