The Importance Of Solitude

So many are so afraid of being alone. Maybe they have still not realized that they have no choice in that area: we are all alone in this world to some degree. We are born alone and we die alone. We find people to walk next to on the way, people who can support us and people we can exchange information and emotions with. However, no matter how close we feel to someone, we are not inside their minds, and they are not inside ours, and so in reality we are always alone.

Being alone is not a bad thing, it’s just the way we are, and what makes the difference from one person to the other is how we learn to handle it. People are afraid of the being alone because they are not quite sure who they are in there and how to deal with themselves. People associate being alone withe loneliness, which is in fact two very different things. A person can be surrounded by hundreds of people and feel lonely, and a person can be all alone without feeling lonely at all.

Many don’t like the thought of spending time all alone because they associate it with something sad, something negative, something other people will wonder and worry about. They are afraid that they will not know what to do when not surrounded by people or social networks. How do you spend your time without interacting with other people? What do you do when you are left with nobody except yourself as company, and nothing except your own thoughts and wishes to deal with?

In today’s modern world, being alone is harder than ever before. We learn to be constantly available, constantly connected, and so we no longer know who we are without all that. People who like to spend time alone are easily looked at as a bit weird, as if liking to spend time alone is the same thing as being anti social. What’s difficult about being both social, a good friend, and still liking to be alone sometimes? Or maybe better said, what’s wrong with being totally okay with spending some time alone when needed? What’s wrong with being comfortable and in peace with your own thoughts when left alone with them, and able to see the advantage of them? What’s wrong with not being dependent on other people in order to have something to do? What’s wrong with having the confidence from knowing that you will be okay no matter what, that you don’t depend on others to ensure your own well being. In fact, maybe we have a lot to benefit from learning how to be comfortable being alone, and how to really enjoy our alone time. Here are a few reasons for why I find it important to set some time aside for yourself every now and then.

  1. Get to know yourself. You might know pretty well who you are among your friends, at your work place, in your family, and so on. You know your role, your place, what is expected of you, and how you should interact with your surroundings. But do you know who YOU are, without all that? Who is the real you when not put in to a context? What is it that you really want, without taking into consideration everyone else? Who are you without the expectations to live up to?
  2. Clear your mind. Even though we are now to some degree used to always being connected and available to everyone, it also leaves us with no space to recharge and clear our minds from the overload of information we are fed with on a daily basis. Allowing yourself to disconnect sometimes and just be you can also give your poor brain a well needed break.
  3. Improve your relationships and friendships! Yes, unlike the common belief of many, I believe alone time can benefit our relationships with others. Everybody’s needs and preferences are of course individual, but I know that for myself, when I am forced to interact and conversate with the same people for too long a period of time, without any chance to take a step back to reflect and recharge, I start feeling like too little butter on a too big slice of bread, or in other words, I have nothing left to work with, I feel tired and the interactions gets dry and unfulfilling. If I instead give myself the time when needed, to just be with myself in silence and recharge my batteries, I am much better able to fully appreciate my relationships, and I am able to look at my interactions as a generous amount of butter and my favorite cheese on a yummy baguette.
  4. Independence and freedom. If you do not need to depend on others in order to do things or go places, then basically there is not much stopping you from doing exactly what you want to do, now is there.
  5. Get shit done. Disconnecting is sometimes necessary in order to be able to fully focus on a task. If you allow yourself to be alone and disconnect and focus your time and energy only on the task at hand, chances are you might get a lot more done in a lot less time, and then get time over for hanging out with your friends later.
  6. Learn your priorities. Find out what is important for you as a person, and bring that in to the world around you rather than the other way around. Because if you don’t really know what you want and need, then who does? And if you spend life focusing only on the wishes of people around you, chances are you will forget about yourself, and you shouldn’t because there is nobody there to remind you.
  7. Learn to be okay. Through practice we learn. If we practice being alone, we realize it’s actually not so bad. Maybe we even realize that it can actually be pretty awesome! Maybe once you get to know yourself better, you will understand that you are actually a pretty awesome person that you don’t mind to spend some quality time with every now and then. Also, when you know that awesome person better, you can also introduce others to that awesome person in a better way. Maybe you realize that your happiness and well being is depending on you and not on others, and you can trust that you will be okay no matter what. Suddenly being alone now and then can be just as important and fulfilling as being surrounded by family and friends.