People who eat alone in public without feeling self-conscious often display these 8 Stoic traits

There’s a certain strength in being able to eat alone in public without a hint of self-consciousness.

This act, simple as it may seem, often reveals a profound depth of character. It’s not about shunning others or being antisocial. It’s about a quiet confidence, a sense of self-assuredness that doesn’t need constant company to validate.

People who can do this often embody a philosophy called Stoicism, which is all about emotional resilience and finding contentment within oneself.

In this article, we’ll delve into the eight Stoic traits often displayed by those who comfortably dine alone. 

Let’s get started. 

1) Embracing solitude

Solitude is one of the fundamental concepts in Stoicism, and it’s clearly evident in people who eat alone in public without feeling self-conscious.

These individuals aren’t defined by external validation. They don’t need the company of others to enjoy a meal, and they certainly don’t see dining solo as a testament to their social standing.

They understand that solitude is not loneliness. Solitude is an opportunity for reflection, for quiet introspection. It’s a chance to be fully present, to savor the food before them without the distractions of social interactions.

In fact, Stoics believe that being able to be alone with oneself, embracing solitude, is a sign of emotional maturity and self-sufficiency.

This doesn’t mean shunning social connections. It simply means not needing them as a crutch for self-worth or enjoyment.

When you see someone dining alone in public, and doing so with absolute ease, you’re likely witnessing a Stoic trait in action.

2) Possessing emotional resilience

Emotional resilience is a key Stoic trait, and it’s one that I have personally witnessed in action.

I have a friend who often dines alone in public places. One day, while we were at a café, he decided to have his meal at a separate table. He was perfectly content to eat alone, reading a book while savoring his coffee and sandwich.

A group sitting nearby started making jokes about him. They were loud enough for him to hear and for me to feel a surge of discomfort on his behalf.

But my friend? He didn’t flinch. He didn’t look embarrassed or upset. He just smiled, continued reading his book, and enjoying his meal. His emotional resilience was on full display.

This is what Stoics strive for: not allowing external factors to steal their peace of mind. They understand that they can’t control how others behave, but they can control their reaction to it.

In the face of ridicule, my friend chose tranquility over turmoil, exhibiting a strong Stoic trait. His ability to maintain emotional composure despite negativity was not only admirable but also deeply inspiring.

3) Practicing mindfulness

People who eat alone in public without any self-consciousness often display a high level of mindfulness, another Stoic trait.

Mindfulness is all about being fully present in the moment, not getting lost in the past or worrying about the future. It’s about tuning into your senses, experiencing the world as it is right now.

Interestingly, neuroscience research shows that mindfulness can actually change the structure of our brains. Regular practice can increase the thickness of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher cognitive functions like decision-making and social behavior.

So when you see someone sitting alone at a restaurant, fully engaged with their meal and seemingly unaware or unbothered by the bustling world around them, it’s quite possible they’re practicing mindfulness.

This ability to tune into the present moment and not be swayed by external distractions is a true hallmark of Stoic philosophy. It’s not just eating alone; it’s making every bite count.

4) Valuing self-improvement

Stoics believe in the constant pursuit of self-improvement, and this is often reflected in those who can comfortably eat alone in public.

These individuals see every moment as an opportunity for growth and learning. Dining alone, for them, isn’t just about satisfying hunger. It could be a moment to learn something new – maybe they’re reading an insightful book or listening to an educational podcast while they eat.

They’re not just filling their stomachs; they’re feeding their minds.

This relentless pursuit of self-improvement and personal growth is a clear Stoic trait. They believe that we should always strive to be better than we were yesterday, and every moment, including meal times, can contribute to that journey.

5) Displaying contentment

There’s a beautiful sense of contentment that often radiates from those who dine alone in public without a hint of self-consciousness.

This isn’t the fleeting happiness that comes from external validation or material possessions. It’s a deeper, more enduring sense of satisfaction that stems from within.

Stoics call this ‘ataraxia’, a state of serene calmness, free from worry or preoccupation. It’s about finding joy in the simple act of being, in the very essence of existence.

The next time you see someone eating alone in public, watch closely. If they seem at peace, genuinely enjoying their own company, they’re likely experiencing ataraxia.

This inner contentment, this joy in solitude, is more than just a Stoic trait. It’s a testament to their inner strength and self-sufficiency.

6) Embracing acceptance

Acceptance is a fundamental Stoic principle, one that requires a good dose of courage and honesty.

I remember the first time I decided to dine alone in public. I was convinced everyone would stare, judge, or pity me. Instead, I found people were too engrossed in their own lives to pay much attention.

In that moment, I learned an important lesson about acceptance. Accepting that I can’t control others’ opinions or actions, but I can control how I perceive and react to them. This realization was liberating, empowering me to enjoy my own company without concern for societal norms or expectations.

Acceptance isn’t about resignation or complacency. It’s about acknowledging reality as it is, not how we wish it to be, and finding peace within that.

People who eat alone in public comfortably often have a firm grasp on this Stoic trait. They accept and embrace the world as it is, without letting others’ opinions sway their own contentment.

7) Exercising self-discipline

Self-discipline, an integral part of Stoic philosophy, is often evident in people who can comfortably eat alone in public.

These individuals know the value of their time and are disciplined enough to use it wisely. They don’t let societal pressures dictate their actions. Instead, they make a conscious choice to do what suits them best, even if it means dining alone.

They’re not swayed by the need for constant social interaction or approval. They choose solitude over company when it serves their purpose, and they do so without feeling self-conscious.

This strong sense of self-discipline is a commendable Stoic trait. It’s about making choices that align with one’s values and goals, regardless of external influences or pressures.

8) Seeking internal validation

At the heart of Stoicism, and indeed, at the core of those who dine alone in public without self-consciousness, is the pursuit of internal validation.

They aren’t swayed by external opinions or societal norms. Their sense of worth comes from within. They validate themselves, their choices, their actions.

This is perhaps the most powerful Stoic trait. The ability to look inward for approval, rather than outward. To know that one’s value isn’t determined by what others think or say, but by one’s own actions and beliefs.

Remember this: The opinion that matters the most is your own. Validate yourself, and you’ll never feel self-conscious again, whether you’re dining alone or in company.

Final thoughts: It’s all about the inner journey

The art of being alone in public, without a hint of self-consciousness, is more than just a solitary act of dining. It’s a reflection of a deeper philosophy, a testament to the Stoic traits of emotional resilience, mindfulness, and self-validation.

These individuals have mastered the art of looking inward for contentment and validation, rather than seeking it externally. They have embraced solitude, not as a sign of loneliness, but as an opportunity for introspection and personal growth.

It’s not about shunning social connections or external validation. It’s about finding contentment in one’s own company, in the simple pleasures of life like enjoying a good meal.

In the words of Marcus Aurelius, one of the most famous Stoic philosophers, “Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”

So next time you see someone eating alone in public, unbothered by the world around them, remember this: They might just be on an introspective journey, carving their own path with a stoic resolve. And maybe, just maybe, there’s something we can all learn from them.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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