Being ALONE with ourselves is absolutely essential to finding happiness and joy. And in this super-connected world, it has never been more important to create solitude for ourselves.
Other people will always need something from us – especially those we love – whether it’s a smile, acknowledgement, to listen or to help with homework or dinner. It’s only when we’re alone that we can put down our social masks and be fully ourselves. And it’s only when we’re alone that we can see what we truly need and learn to take care of ourselves.
But most of us were not taught how to be solitary – for many of us being ALONE equals being LONELY. We go from our family homes to school to the workplace and on to having our own families – all without much positive experience of solitude.
It’s therefore all too easy to think that solitude is painful and instead fill our lives with activities and keep ourselves busy.
It’s really helpful to get clear on the difference between loneliness and solitude. Loneliness is where we feel alone – disconnected from others, and often unwanted or deficient in some way. We can feel lonely whether we’re alone or in a crowd.
Solitude on the other hand is a CHOICE – and it feels empowering. We choose to be alone, and instead of feeling disconnected from others we can focus on connecting with ourselves.
Solitude has Power in it. Here are 9 Benefits to Solitude that I have personally experienced:
- You get to KNOW your SELF. Solitude creates the space for us to observe what is going on with us, to find out what’s important to us, what we dream of and what we truly love. Creating solitude for yourself helps you find your voice and discover who you truly are.
- Get CREATIVE. In solitude your ideas and inspirations will bubble up as the swirl of your busy life calms and recedes around you.
- You get to completely and utterly PLEASE yourself without worrying what others think and feel about what you are doing. This is a joy it’s impossible to experience when others are around us.
- Get ENERGISED. Let go of all the complications of life and others and fall into the beauty of the present moment – and yourself. I think this applies to men as well as women when Barbara de Angelis said “Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.”
- Create space and PRIVACY to process your difficult emotions. Sometimes we need time and space to review and release our emotions privately – so that we can move on with our lives (also know as having a good cry).
- Slay your dragons! Solitude gives us the space we need to gather our strength, get to know – and slay – our dragons (also known as our gremlins or inner critic).
- APPRECIATE the small things. Allow the dust to settle and see those small things we all have to be grateful for. It’s when we get space and distance from our life that we can appreciate it in all its glory.
- FIND THE ANSWERS you need to life’s problems and difficulties. It’s when the muddy water of our busy lives settles that we get enough distance and clarity and see the truth of things.
- BUILD Confidence.The simple act of being alone with ourselves is incredibly powerful. We’re saying “I am worth it”. We are literally honouring our SELVES – the basis of self-esteem.
I love this poetic statement from Rainer Maria Rilke (from letters he wrote to encourage a young poet), “Your solitude will be a hold and a home for you even amid very unfamiliar conditions and from there you will find all your ways.”
We ALL have all the answers we need – inside of us, but we need solitude and stillness to discern the truth and connect with ourselves and our wisdom within.
Like this post? Click LIKE or Share below!
I’m an introvert and love spending time along however after reading the benefits I realize that I’m not taking full advantage of that time. I may be alone, but its not time in solitude, a time to reflecct away from outside noises that will keep me from really connecting with myself.
Hi Jean, what a lovely response! You really underscore the difference between time alone – and connecting with ourselves. Enjoy! Warmly, EL
Meditation is the best way to spend some time with yourself. Just sitting silently and looking whats going on in your mind gives you great clarity and wisdom.
Absolutely! Thanks! EL