The Silly Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Silly Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Silly Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

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Being Alone Isn’t Lonely

Spending time on your own paves the way for a journey to self-discovery and getting to know your true self
Stepping+away+from+social+media+is+a+crucial+step+in+learning+more+about+yourself.
AURELIEN CLAVAUD
Stepping away from social media is a crucial step in learning more about yourself.

There is a paradox to loneliness; a hesitancy to do anything besides spend time alone comes from a fear of actually getting to know oneself. To know oneself is to discover the good and, more intimidating, the bad in who we are. By coming to terms with both of those, we can be more at peace in the world. Knowing yourself will ultimately make you feel less lonely, but in order to know yourself, you must be completely alone. 

Pushing this notion away may seem daunting because it can be terrifying to come to terms with the realization that you don’t know who you are, making it difficult to start the journey of self-discovery. However, loneliness can be beneficial to expediting this process. It can seem terrifying to come to terms with the realization that you don’t know who you are and you don’t know where to start on a journey of self-discovery. 

It can be easy to fall into the trap of meaningless activities; taking a 15-minute break on TikTok to mindlessly scroll allows your brain to go on auto-pilot for a moment. By getting caught up in the meaningless, however, you are not spending quality time with yourself.

Taking the time to know yourself, what you like and don’t like, your opinions, habits, grievances and other deeper feelings, is important. You cannot run from yourself, and although that may sound unnerving, it should not be — what is more hopeful than knowing the one person who will always have your back?

When you begin to spend time with yourself, it is important to remember that you will make mistakes, such as becoming caught up in aesthetics or how you would like to be perceived. We tend to push ourselves away in fear of discovering all of the negative things about ourselves. 

There is an external pressure to present ourselves as perfect and, unfortunately, this ideology can become all-consuming. Striving for perfection isn’t fruitful because perfection will never happen, instead, you should seek to find the version of yourself that is truly you: this could be as simple as contemplating whether you are into a fashion trend or music because it genuinely speaks to you, or because liking them will be perceived as unique, cosmopolitan or chic.  

We tend to push ourselves away in fear of discovering all of the negative things about ourselves.

Another mistake many people make is that they forget their goals and abandon ship when confronted with struggle or conflict. People leave, jobs change, hearts are broken and pain will ensue. Although it is important to grieve, hardships also enable us to grow and change. 

Loneliness is an opportunity to be who you have always been, to be a form of yourself that is strong and ready for anything that is thrown in your path. 

So, what should be the starting point? Life is about understanding who you are and what makes you happy. It is important to start truly taking care of yourself, by stepping back and giving yourself room to change and grow. One way to do this is by picking up some sort of physical activity, such as walking, weightlifting or trying a sport. 

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the mental health benefits of exercise can even outweigh the physical ones. Consistent physical activity can increase focus, motivation, energy levels, relaxation and more. 

Another way to spend quality time alone is by stepping back from social media. Claude Mellins, a professor of medical psychology at Columbia University, said, “If you feel social media is a negative experience, you might need a break.” It may be difficult to go completely cold turkey on social media, but spending less time on it is still beneficial. It is important to separate yourself from the media that distracts you from your journey of self discovery. 

As young adults, we are constantly growing and changing. Struggle is inevitable, but it does not mean that your life is over — struggling means that you have an opportunity to grow and understand yourself better. Spending time alone does not mean you have to be lonely. It is a chance to spend time with yourself, doing what you enjoy and also challenging yourself with what may be uncomfortable. 

It is important to take care of yourself. Life is hard, but the burden can be lifted with the knowledge that you will always have yourself to fall back on.

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About the Contributors
OLIVIA DIRADO, Contributing Writer
AURELIEN CLAVAUD, Assistant Sports & Health Editor
Aurelien Clavaud (he/him), FCLC ’25, is an assistant sports & health editor at The Observer. He previously served as head photo editor and creative director. He majors in international political economy and loves photography, basketball and writing. He is from Houston, Texas, but has taken a liking to NYC and its frigid weather.

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