How to be more independent?

When I was a teenager, I was extremely independent. My life revolved around being out – spending time with friends after school. When I attended college, most of my friends had drifted apart, but this was okay because I had made new ones. Towards the end of my courses, I had met the love of my life – as cheesy as that may sound – it is true.

Two kids and two businesses later, (six years to be precise.) Sadie and I have spent a lot of time together, hardly ever getting a moment apart. It’s difficult because we work, live, and parent together, and as you could imagine, this does cause some heated arguments.

The truth is that we are so close, and whilst I love that I’m in a relationship with my best friend, we do need to have some time alone as well. The main issue is the struggle to get out of the house alone which stems from a lack of confidence, social skills, and the overall loss of my independence. Going out alone can be frightening, but I am here to tell you that the initial thought of it is a lot worse than the reality.

If you are struggling to get out of the house on your own, I want you to know that I have been there myself. I understand how hard it can be, the crippling anxiety in your mind and the overgeneralized black and white all-or-nothing thinking can be so scary. The good news is that it is a problem that can be solved.

You will need to build up your own confidence, you can do so by getting yourself used to do things alone. In my own experience, I tried for weeks to get myself out, and eventually, I took the leap. Due to suffering from headaches, I made an appointment at the opticians for an eye test. On the day of my test I went out alone and the longer I was out, the better I felt.

After my eye test, I went and got my haircut, went shopping for some new clothes, and that day was so successful that I decided I never wanted to feel like I had no independence again. I started going out every single day, attended the gym, and started meeting up with some friends down the beach.

I think it is important for you to do something alone that you enjoy, A great part of getting my independence back was because of the shopping for new clothes and a nice haircut, as they say, “You look good, you feel good”.

Eating out alone

A few years ago I would describe myself as a person who will only do things if other people would join me. I would ask my partner to come along, if she said no, I would ask a friend and if they would say no, I simply wouldn’t go. Looking back now, I see that this mentality has only held me back from experiencing new things, developing my personality, interests, social ability, and in general, my independence has suffered hugely.

The thought of going out to a restaurant alone would terrify me, I would worry about the traveling to the place, the sitting down alone and all the groups of people looking over at me as if I was so pathetic that no one would want to do anything with me. Let me just say now, that thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. Eating out alone is something that I am now able to really enjoy, and it has even improved the experiences of going out with others too.

Because I am alone, I don’t have to entertain anyone, I am able to indulge in a book for the bus journey reading inspirational work from my favourite authors, I am able to pick the restaurant or café that I feel like eating at and there is no debate about which one we should go to. Once I am dining, people seem to be more friendly as an individual and because you are alone you set yourself up for conversations if you feel like getting involved.

One of the greatest things about eating out alone is that you then have a story to tell your friends, family, or partner about your meal. Plus, you are improving your independence skills massively which is very important for your mental health.

Things that are difficult to do alone?

Generally, things that you can’t do on your own are competitive sports such as bowling, playing pool, etc. This is because they usually require someone else to play which is where most of the fun comes from. You could however go to the movies alone, once the lights are off and the films start people don’t normally talk anyways.

Up next: Do affirmations really work?


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