Knowing how to enjoy your own company is something that will immediately:
- Change your life and luck.
- Improve the quality of your relationships.
- Rid your life of emotional vampires in a drama-free way.
- Guarantee that you will no longer be needy and dependent on anyone to dictate your worth, mental/physical health, and happiness.
You are only considered “needy” when you put your fundamental emotional needs in the hands of anyone other than yourself.
When you truly know how to enjoy your own company, you are immune to a “needy” label.
Narcissists and other toxic types start to WISH someone like you needed them.
And those who are emotionally and empathetically available start to WANT you because you are now attractive to them.
It is a self-made, self-imposed league of your own. It is also the foundation of emotional entrepreneurism.
There is a big difference between being wanted and needed; between genuinely wanting someone and needing their physical presence (even though they may be emotionally absent) like you need oxygen to survive.
You’re still reading this post because you have, with the best of intentions, willingly given over the keys to a one-of-a-kind, priceless vehicle that only YOU are meant to drive.
You may have moved over to the passenger’s seat or have been demoted to the back seat.
Maybe you’re being held hostage in the trunk.
You may have been kicked out of the proverbial car altogether and now find yourself hitch-hiking on the road of life; always talking like Uncle Rico in Napolean Dynamite about the “good ol’ days” when you had a priceless vehicle that could have taken you ANYWHERE.
Yet, here you are. Stuck.
It’s always everyone else’s fault. Ask me how I know (I have a doctorate in emotional and relational hitchhiking).
You may have convinced yourself that you don’t know how to drive; that you can only rev up the engine to attract a driver and then, acquiesce to the passenger’s seat of your own life’s journey.
It’s time to get yourself in the driver’s seat. Whether it’s for the first time or vowing that this is the last time you will ever be displaced.
Learning how to enjoy your own company after a breakup, with no friends, at school, or even just at home starts with taking a look into your past.
Like I always say, no one had the perfect parent and no one will be the perfect parent.
Your parents did the absolute best that they could.
If your parents were consistently toxic and unavailable, if they threw money at problems instead of their attention and emotional availability; if they made you feel like you had to work for their love… that was their best.
It had nothing to do with you or your lack of worth.
As a defenseless and voiceless child, you were worthy of their unconditional love but instead, you were primed to perform for crumbs of approval.
Now, as an adult, you feel unworthy of unconditional love from the only person who will ever matter more than all the others: YOURSELF.
I used to internalize the ability of one of my parents to be everything I wished they’d be with me, but only with everyone else. This wounded me. As an adult, my solution was triangulation – in my relationships with family, friends, and lovers. It was the only way I could numb the pain of never being “good enough” to have a crumb of a cookie that was my birthright.
So what did I end up doing?
- I made good people feel like they had to compete for my respect, loyalty, love, time, and attention.
- I lied compulsively.
- I lived in constant drama and denial.
- I contradicted everything I supposedly stood for and copied everyone around me because I had no sense of who I was without the physical company, influence, and approval of others.
- I was disloyal to loyal people.
- I had to always show (via social media and other ways) how many friends I had.
- This is all very embarrassing for me to admit, but things like hooking up with guys, the number of “BFFS” I could acquire, social status, and material purchases (that I could not afford) were what I used to measure how “not alone” I was.
I couldn’t stand being alone because I didn’t know how to enjoy my own company.
What I didn’t realize is that all of the above were trauma-response coping mechanisms. They were merely ways to evade the truth and perpetuate denial. They were tiny (and very damaging) bandages that I would put on the metastatic CANCER of my inability to be alone, with myself and my thoughts.
I think the answers to questions we have regarding unrelenting emotional pain, self-sabotage, low self-esteem, bad relational luck, etc., in our adulthood, can almost always be found by taking a look at our childhood.
It’s about taking a look at trauma we’ve experienced and abandonment we’ve felt with the curiosity and enthusiastic inquisition of an archeologist (and the end result of empowerment). Instead of the impulsive habit to disempower and reduce ourselves to a helpless victim so that we can then shame, punish, and label ourselves into an inescapable prison of mediocrity.
I was raised around a lot of anxious attachment. Because of this, I wasted my life trying to avoid my own company – with friends, activities, engaging in stupid, time-wasting drama, showboating, phone and technology usage; the list goes on and on.
When it comes to knowing how to enjoy your own company, the truth is, you could be surrounded by countless family and friends. You could be the most popular person at school, in your community, or at work.
You could also, have no one in your life to call or to grab dinner with. No one that checks on you to make sure you’re doing okay or even reciprocates one fraction of what you give to them with all the love in your heart.
The point is, you could have no family and no friends. Or, you could have a very big, loving, or maybe even toxic family and fake friends. Either way, if the denominator of your dis-ease and pain is loneliness, it will feel just as paralyzing for the person who has everything you wish you did as it does for you.
You don’t know how to enjoy your own company because every time you tried to develop that skill as a child, you were disempowered in some way. You were so hungry for approval and validation, without it, the loneliness was too consuming and painful. You may have been made to feel like you were worthless by someone you looked up to and trusted.
This initiated a need to essentially find others to save you from yourself.
Now that we have identified the root cause of why you don’t know how to enjoy your own company, let’s get into how you go about improving the quality of the one relationship you can never afford to lose.
How do you learn to enjoy your own company? Is there a way to learn how to enjoy your own company without friends or after a breakup?
If you do a simple internet search of “how to enjoy your own company,” you’ll find many of the same suggestions.
- “Have conversations with yourself.”
- “Take yourself out on a date!”
- “Clear your mind.”
- “Appreciate all of the little things.”
- “Plan a trip and go alone.”
- “Accept and let go of the past.”
- “Forgive yourself.”
- “Get a weighted blanket and make yourself a nourishing meal.”
All of these are great suggestions. I didn’t want to waste time going into suggestions like these because they’re all over the internet.
Recently, I read a few quotes by Tom Hardy and they were much more accessible. They spoke to me more than any of the above suggestions. I may not agree with everything Tom is saying, but at least these quotes got the wheels turning. And after reading every one of them, I was either saying, “Yes!!” or Amen!”
“Weak people always have to be in a relationship so they can feel important and loved. Once you know how to enjoy your own company, being single becomes a privilege.” – Tom Hardy. I wouldn’t make a blanket statement that someone who always has to be in a relationship is weak. It’s definitely unhealthy and a red flag, but who am I to label anyone as weak? I chose to include this quote regardless because I can say that for me, personally, when I always had to be in a relationship of some kind to feel like I mattered, it was because I was weak. I had allowed the past to define me (and subsequently drain and break me down; I wasn’t strong). When you know how to enjoy your own company, being single becomes a privilege because you’re back in the driver’s seat. You are calm, never impulsive or frantic, because you know what you will and will not accept. As I’ve always said, the number one symptom of standard-setting is loneliness. But when you’re back in the proverbial driver’s seat and know how to enjoy your own company, you can still feel lonely without defining yourself as worthless and unworthy of high-quality company. You know what to do when loneliness hits because you are your own best friend. And you’ve stopped settling because you know that you can never “settle” your way into being, experiencing, and having everything that you want and deserve.
“Being alone for a while is dangerous. It’s addicting. Once you see how peaceful it is, you don’t want to deal with people anymore.” – Tom Hardy. I would change this to, “you don’t want to waste your time with TOXIC people anymore.” Toxic people get their validation by exploiting your hunger for theirs. When you realize that you actually feel more alone in relationships with toxic people than if you were physically alone, you start to prioritize your peace. When peace is prioritized, it becomes protected. And when it’s protected you start to build self-respect; you realize that you’ve been with your best friend all along (you).
“People don’t understand that sitting in your house alone in peace, eating snacks and minding your own business is f*cking priceless.” – Tom Hardy. Yup. I couldn’t agree with this anymore or have said it any better.
You are here because you want to know HOW to enjoy your own company; I’m going to tell you how. You need to realize that there is not ONE person on this ENTIRE PLANET who has been with you through every.damn.thing.
Not ONE person who knows EVERY SINGLE detail, secret, failure, embarrassing habit, success, rejection, pain, trauma, and the shame from it all.
The ONLY person who knows ALL of that and has STILL MANAGED to keep your heart beating in spite of all of the abuse, stress, and living with a limiting label that was never yours to adopt is YOU.
Don’t you deserve some self-respect? Don’t you deserve to care for and love yourself – instead of looking to others to do it for you?
No one is going to save you from yourself. No one is going to heal your past for you because no one has actually walked in your shoes but YOU.
The moment you realize that you are your own leader, savior, best friend, healer, “driver,” protector, and greatest love, THEN AND ONLY THEN can you start to enjoy your own company and be more choosy with who gets time with you (because you love YOUR TIME with YOU).
I think that knowing how to enjoy your own company is an art. It’s taken me so many years but finally, I am no longer at odds with myself. This was facilitated by realizing how much my “self” had done for me all those years when I did nothing but abuse, sabotage, undermine, and limit her.
Now, I have that weighted blanket. I love taking myself on dates. It’s no longer arduous but actually nice to treat myself to little indulgences and nourish my body with yummy food. It’s impossible to just skip to these things. Things like a weighted blanket, taking yourself out on dates, etc., are what NATURALLY happen when you do the necessary work and build off of the right foundation.
Now, if I go out to dinner by myself, I don’t need to be on my phone or squirm around because I’m uncomfortable.
I am my own best friend, first and foremost.
We choose a family for ourselves in our partner and our friends. If you feel like you want to start choosing more wisely, then it’s time to start treating yourself with more respect.
I used to tolerate disrespect because I was dishonoring and disrespecting myself at every turn. When you stop trying to educate people into being what your ego needs them to be and start GIVING YOURSELF everything that ONLY YOU know you need, you won’t feel guilty about walking away from users because you no longer tolerate anyone who treats you any less than you are consistently treating yourself.
If I can do this, so can YOU.
You got this and are never, ever alone.
Written by: Natasha Adamo