fear, happiness, Job, relationships

On Being Alone

I have recently been reading a lot about personality types, and the one that I found most interesting and useful is The Enneagram.  I would recommend this book, by Helen Palmer, to anyone really.  I’m reading it right now and it is amazingly insightful.

That being said, a year ago when I found out what my personality type was, (Type 2, The Giver/Helper) I was upset.  Honestly, I thought it was the lamest personality type ever, and I just got..angry.  I was angry at a lot of things- angry at the Universe for making me this way, which, at least on paper, seems like the last person you’d ever want to be running a company.  I was angry at myself for, well..being so “needy”.  I got angry at myself for always trying to please people, to never put my needs above others, and worst of all, get angry at others if my needs weren’t met (which, logically speaking makes no sense because how the heck are they supposed to read my mind?) I was just really…angry.  And then after a while I just forgot about it, or more likely, I was just angry at most things and so everything just melded into this amorphous ball of anger and frustration.

The reason I started reading about it again was a conversation I had with my coach, Ruth.  I was telling her that I feel kind of sad, and the fact that I’m not around people and I have to work alone a lot of the time gets to me.  I thought it was Bangalore and just my job, and something I should change about my environment.  But she made me realize that this doesn’t happen to everyone- that it’s one of the main characteristics of my personality type.  I have the hardest time being alone, or working alone.  I always knew I felt weird being alone, but I thought that was normal.  It’s not normal.  It’s one of the things the Type 2 personalities just…have to work through.

Another thing I found out was that a lot of women are also Type 2 personalities (and that, in fact, Enneagram personality types are NOT distributed equally among gender lines).  I think a lot of women have a hard time being alone, which is why we have this whole notion of…I’m scared I’ll never find someone.  Or I’m scared to be working on something on my own.  I don’t know why it’s hard wired into a lot of us, but it is.  Myself included.

I guess you’re wondering, but Anu, you’ve been alone all this time and it doesn’t seem like you’ve been jumping from relationship to relationship (yes, from the first imaginary person to the second).  Yes, but at the same time, it’s not because I didn’t want to.  I guess I’ve always been a masochist, and I knew that being with people would always and forever be easier for me.  I wanted to do something difficult.  So yes, I’ve done that, but I wasn’t….deliberate about it.  I was just kind of doing it because in my gut, I thought it would be good for me.  And now that I know why I felt that way (and yes, it IS good practice), I want to make sure I’m actually getting something out of this (and not be a masochist for the sake of masochism).  The point is to yes, be uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, I want to feel okay about being alone.  And working alone.

Just like most things in life, new skills can be learned.  So now, I’m embarking on the skill of how to be alone.  And enjoy it.

At least at work, I’m going to work 2 days with other people, and 2 days by myself at home.  I am not sure what I’m going to do the last day- maybe work in a co working space or a cafe or something.  But I want to ease my way into it.  It helps to know that yes, it will feel uncomfortable, but after a certain point in time, it’ll be ok.

I think the other key is to just…slow down.  I heard about this space between you and other people.  I don’t really understand it yet, but that’s how Ruth described it to me.  Apparently that’s the place you wan to be so you can non judgmentally understand yourself, as well as to start and understand the framework by which to listen to others as well. It’s going to be tough, but that’s the place I want to discover.

6 thoughts on “On Being Alone”

      1. Not really, but I am planning on picking up one of the reading materials for personal enrichment. In a nutshell, from what I got about skimming some articles about it, it’s an hakuna matata philosophy.


  1. Yes, It is difficult to stay alone, It is actually much more difficult to be productive while staying alone.

    Have you tried Meditation? I think important thing is to be absorbed in the work (Zen focus). I do the things which you absolutely love to do while you alone, all rest in group.


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