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I’m trying to be comfortable alone, I’m out on a camping trip alone and feeling pretty low. Is this a useful exercise or unnecessary suffering?


Jacob Stephens
(@jacobstoic)
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My biggest external life/emotional issue has to do with loneliness & relationships. I’m trying to get more comfortable doing things alone, so I booked a camping trip alone. I’m at a fairly popular camping spot so there are hundreds of people around, but they’re all in groups together. I seem to be the only one alone, and I don’t feel great about that.

So, is this one of those things where I should learn to be comfortable with it and make the best of it. Or is this a useless exercise? Do any of you do this?


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gardnermcgee
(@gardnermcgee)
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A great exercise, well worth doing. But be aware, being alone in a crowd is the "advanced level" of being alone. It's far harder to be among people by yourself than it is to be by yourself with nobody around. Compare how you feel in a crowded campground to how you feel hiking alone on some trail.

You may feel you are being judged by those around you. First, that's not likely since people don't really spend a lot of time thinking about people they don't know. But so what if they are? Why should their opinions have power over you?

You may feel that they are enjoying the camping experience more than you, since they have people to share the experience. But that shouldn't matter to you, since comparing your experience to anyone else's is a fallacy. So what if they enjoy camping more, or less, or differently than you do? What does that signify?

Your life is yours alone. Where you are, and what you are doing, you do for your own reasons, in your way, in your own time. The only questions I think signify is whether this experience is time well spent, in accordance with nature, in accordance with your virtue. Notice that none of those questions depend in any way on other people.

I've spent a lot of time alone. I value it. Being alone is a vastly different experience than being with others. Most people can't handle it - they flood their time alone with headphones, and the internet, and all manner of entertainments because they can't stand to hear their own thoughts. They don't know how to guide their thoughts to productive ends when someone isn't yammering in their ear or texting them from afar.

I value being with other people, too. But I think it takes special strength and discipline to be happy in your own skin.

What you're doing is worthwhile. And it's very challenging. And it took me years to learn to be happy by myself. Stick with it!


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Chistopher
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If your gonna go on a camping trip alone, get away from people man. I did this twice, three days out in a cabin in Maine by myself. Did love it, especially the first trip seriously was an awesome experience for me. Trips like that are not really about "fun" or socializing they're about introspection and getting away from the commotion of life and just appreciating silence. Try it again but get deeper in the woods. 

Heading out alone, and into a crowd of people. I'd say that's a high level play there. But, you'll get there. You've experience it now first hand. You'll be able to come to terms with it. 

 

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frankrichardson1979
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Being alone is a vastly different experience than being with others. Most people can't handle it - they flood their time alone with headphones, and the internet, and all manner of entertainments because they can't stand to hear their own thoughts. They don't know how to guide their thoughts to productive ends when someone isn't yammering in their ear or texting them from afar.


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lainedunc
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A very inspiring post. I’m in the stage of learning how to be okay alone. So if I can, I try to avoid places like this but I can remember when I couldn’t even sit in my own home without my phone or the tv. I still rely on these crutches but my addiction to them has lessened.


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Richard Hawkins
(@richardhawkins)
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This is far from a useless exercise. The discomfort you feel right now is telling you there’s lots of room to grow. This is exactly what you bargained for.

 

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Margaux Dizon
(@margaux)
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Campgrounds are almost like wooded pubs in that people meet to gather around the fire, drink, and laugh. It's very easy to feel excluded in that environment.

Try to be alone in nature, like hike in by yourself and set up your camp. Where you can go hunting and fishing, as well as both, require you to be away from others and more in tune with nature. A gentler introduction can be stargazing. Drive out to a dark sky, park your car and go watch the heavens for a few hours.


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