Did you know that some people hate spending time alone with themselves so much that they would rather endure painful electric shocks instead?
In a study published in the journal Science, University of Virginia psychology professor Timothy Wilson and Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert found that people in the study didn’t even enjoy being alone for 6 to 10 minutes!
They first asked the participants to sit quietly in a room and do nothing for six to fifteen minutes and then rate the experience from 0 to 9. Most of the volunteers rated the experience a 5.
Now, for the interesting part, the researchers upped the ante a bit for the second half of the study, showing volunteers beautiful photographs and giving them slightly painful electric shocks. They then asked the volunteers how much they would pay to avoid the electric shocks if they could. After hearing the answers, the professors asked the participants to again sit in a room alone for fifteen minutes. They had the option of pressing a button to shock themselves, which would feel like a painful static shock on their ankle.
The results? Of the 42 people who said they would rather pay than endure the shocks, two-thirds of men and one-quarter of women chose to shock themselves. One woman even pressed the button 190 times!
What does this tell you? For the most part, people would rather avoid being alone like the plague. They have no idea how to enjoy their company or become their best friend. However, learning to look forward to alone time rather than dreading it will enhance your life in many different ways.
Here are five things that happen when you become your own best friend:
1. You learn how to love yourself.
Like we said before, most people have no earthly idea how to love themselves or even like themselves because they can’t stand being alone. They would rather constantly escape themselves than endure five minutes of sitting in silence with their own thoughts and feelings. Many spend their whole lives running away from themselves, just so they don’t have to deal with what they find. However, uncovering both the darkness and light within will yield beautiful new beginnings and discoveries about what you’re made of and who you are.
Once you start to become your own best friend, you will learn to treat yourself like you would any other friend. You will also learn to have a real relationship with yourself, and not depend on others for love and attention.
2. Solitude won’t scare you anymore.
Many people feel afraid of spending time alone, but it shouldn’t scare you; in fact, it should liberate you. You don’t have to answer to anyone else or try to explain yourself to others; you can just BE, and take in the joy of simply being alive.
In solitude, you can find out more about yourself, and do things on your own clock. If you want to spend hours in nature, go do that. Go do it if you want to spend time gardening, drawing, or coloring. Spending time alone means learning what you like and don’t like, which will help you uncover more truths about yourself and peel back those layers on your soul.
3. All your relationships will improve.
Once you become your best friend, you will magically see all the other relationships in your life improve. You will no longer have disconnected or strained relationships because you will have started to mend everything disjointed and distant within yourself. If you want better, more meaningful relationships in your life, you must first learn how to be your best friend and love yourself no matter what. Do this, and you will have blossoming, wonderful relationships with others that seem effortless rather than exhausting.
4. Being your own best friend means creating your own happiness.
As you make a best friend out of yourself, it will become clear that nothing outside you should regulate your happiness. You hold the reigns and can gallop through the most beautiful field of wildflowers or into the darkest, stormiest night. You get to make the choice, and only you can steer yourself toward a happier life. In becoming your own best friend, you will learn what makes you happy and start doing more of that! We can’t learn to create our own happiness if we don’t take the time to explore ourselves and realize what brings our hearts the most joy.
5. You will feel more independent.
Nothing feels better than freeing yourself from expectations and dependency on others. Simply put, if you rely solely on other people for happiness, companionship, safety, or anything else, you will have NOTHING when they leave. You must cultivate all of this within yourself and truly realize that everything you need, you already have. You came to this Earth as a divinely created, complete being, so nothing is lacking within you. This world might have you think you need all these things outside yourself to feel happy, but don’t buy into that.
You have it all, and once you understand this and choose to live from a belief of abundance rather than scarcity or inadequacy, you will have the best friend possible by your side: yourself.