Article by Wendy McCance
A few years ago I had a conversation with my youngest daughter. She was at the time in fourth grade and was having a frustrating day. She had been whining about being bored and didn’t I know that she was a social girl who needed to party all day long? I swear she said this and I immediately had images of dread thinking of what high school would be like for her.
This very social daughter of mine didn’t know how to enjoy her own company. I suggested reading a book, drawing, baking, riding her bike and so on. Each suggestion was met with an exasperated expression and an eye roll. This same scenario had been playing out quite regularly whenever there was a break in her playdate schedule.
I sat this daughter of mine down and gave her the raw truth about what would happen if she couldn’t enjoy herself when no one was available to play. I said that she needed to find a way to get excited to spend time just with herself. By finding ways to enjoy her own company she would be honoring herself and taking care of the person who was most important to nurture. Getting uncomfortable the moment someone else wasn’t around to distract her from the boredom she felt would lead to disaster as she got older.
A close person in her life fits the example to a tee of the type of person who never learned to enjoy their own company. We talked about what life for this person was like. This person is an adult who gets depressed and feels isolated whenever they aren’t socializing. The person we talked about is sadly very lost and has no idea what their own personal interests are. They are far from in touch with themself. They are simply miserable being with the one person they will never be able to escape.
My daughter admitted that she got frustrated when no one was around because she didn’t know what she liked to do alone. She avoided having to figure this out. Somehow this was too painful to push through.
I told my daughter that part of the fun of growing up was learning about yourself and trying out many different things. How would she ever know what her interests and hobbies are if she didn’t give herself a chance? Thankfully she understood what I was trying to motivate her to do and decided to work on her.
My daughter is now in middle school. She has a strong sense of who she is and what she likes. There are days when she is bored and wishes a friend was available to hang out with. There are other days when she is excited to spend the day alone doing her own thing. She likes the fact that being with just herself gives her the opportunity to do whatever she is interested in without worry of having to entertain someone else or give in to what they want to do.
Being able to spend time alone from time to time is a way to recharge and get back in touch with yourself. There is so much noise and distraction in our day to day lives and without an opportunity to slow down and have some alone time, it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and what you need to be a happy, content person.
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