Living Alone: An Opportunity For Self-Discovery

For some, living alone is a lifestyle choice. For others, it’s an outcome. No matter how you find yourself on your own, it’s not a life sentence to loneliness – unless you choose that option.

For your entire life, you live with the best friend you could ever have – yourself. 

Many of us live our lives oblivious to that fact, and when we find ourselves on our own, we feel lonely. Some of us actually treat ourselves as the enemy. 

It doesn’t have to be that way.

One of the possible outcomes of living alone is finding out who you really are. I say one of the possible outcomes deliberately, because there are others, and you need to make a deliberate choice to embark on a journey of self-discovery.

If you are living on your own, I encourage you to make that choice, because the alternatives, like loneliness, depression and alcoholism, are not all that enjoyable. And suicide is final – you don’t get to reconsider after the fact, at least not in this dimension.

The external world is the focus of most of our attempts to understand the world and our place in it. It’s true, there is a lot of interesting stuff in the world we can study, and we can keep ourselves busy studying the world for hours. In fact, you can hide there forever if you choose.

The journey of self-discovery, on the other hand, is an inner journey that offers an interesting, revealing, and surprising experience as you encounter yourself along the way. You’ll definitely discover you are not who you currently think you are, if you undertake the trip.

To make the journey, you need to turn your focus away from studying things outside yourself and start studying yourself. This journey is about noticing what’s going on in your life and wondering why.

Stop wondering why things happened to you and start wondering why things happened for you to notice. If some things have appeared repeatedly in your life, take notice. You’ve been missing the lesson.

This journey is not something you’ll complete in an afternoon or by attending a weekend workshop. A journey of self-discovery requires commitment to ongoing exploration.

I suggest you start by learning to simply stop and check in with yourself. In my experience, the best way to achieve that is through meditation. 

Peter Mulraney is the author of the Mystical Journey: A Handbook for Modern Mystics and Living Alone.

Image credit: Allie Lehman | DTS