There was a time when I dreaded eating out alone like a surprise visit to the dentist. It felt like the whole world was suddenly in the restaurant, staring at me and wondering what was so bad about me that I had resorted to eating out alone. A ridiculous complex, no doubt. A self-absorbed complex, certainly. Something I’m proud to admit, definitely not, but it’s the truth. A few years ago, I decided that such a complex had no place in my life, nor in the life of the woman I wanted to become. I see myself as truly such an independent woman, forgive the cliche associated with that, but it’s true. I don’t see myself as one of those women who needs to sit and wait for someone to accompany her during every little thing that she wants to do. I see myself as a woman who goes and does what she wants to do whether someone wants to come or not.
I still remember the first time I took myself out to eat. I had just gotten paid and I decided to test these independent waters at an O’Charley’s restaurant near my parents’ house. Only, I had a safety net with me. I brought a book and a notebook. Sure, I could sit at the table alone, but I still needed some sort of company, clearly. This was still driven by the idea that people were actually paying attention to me and gave a crap about the underlying reason of why I was dining out alone. So, here I was, still too consumed by other people’s opinions to milk the situation of all the good it could have done for me.
Fast forward a few years later and now I dine alone quite regularly, no notebook or magazines, just the occasional browse of Instagram or chatting with someone nearby.
Sometimes it can feel a little scary and intimidating to be alone with yourself. It goes so much deeper than just being “alone” physically, it’s the idea of being alone emotionally that tends to make the whole thing feel uncomfortable.
For whatever reason, early on we’re hand-fed the idea of companionship. The older we get we’re then force-fed that our worthiness as people is contingent upon our companionships and how often we have them. This isn’t solely for romantic relationships, but family and friend relationships as well.
We begin to associate who we are and our value based on the amount of people who are around us. This is incredibly troublesome because the truth is that we need to learn how to be alone and how to be ok with that.
You’re not actually alone, no one ever is, there’s always someone there for you (if you feel like there truly isn’t and you’re reading this, I’m here for you and you can always reach out to me)!
People underestimate all the good that comes from getting to know yourself, love yourself and enjoy your own company without the company of others. You’re with you more than anyone else will ever be and it’s so important to the overall good health of your life that you appreciate alone time with yourself.
It doesn’t matter what you do, whether it’s going out to eat alone, going to watch a movie by yourself, going to the park and reading a book alone, don’t only spend time with yourself at home in your room. That defeats the purpose of the message.
Learn how to love your own company even when you’re in the company of others you don’t know. This helps you learn that you don’t need validation from your surroundings or those around you. This helps you to increase the loving relationship you have with yourself on deeper levels. This helps give you the strength and motivation to do the things you love even if other people don’t want to do them with you.
I will never tell you not to create and nurture relationships with others, that’s important, too! However, if you’re not nurturing your relationship with yourself with some “you time,” you’re going to find yourself relying on others for every little thing and for validation. There’s nothing wrong with being a little self-involved!
So, take yourself out to eat and when the host/hostess asks if it’s just you, proudly respond, “Yes, it’s just me!” or “A table for one please. No thanks, I wouldn’t like to sit at the bar.” or simply, “Dinner for ONE!”