You are your most important relationship, your biggest source of inspiration, and your most valuable asset – provided that you take proper care of yourself and you are able to spend time on your own. If your palms get sweaty and your heart starts pounding at the mere thought of sitting alone in your mind for more than a few minutes, hear us out.
There is incredible freedom in being alone if you are willing to accept it. There are no rules, no distractions, no unnecessary noise, and no judgment. While on your own, you commune with what’s most important – your essence, dreams, insights, and feelings. Your aloneness is a gift to yourself from yourself.
Teachings of intentional solitude
Loneliness may be fatal. Intentional alone time, however, brings nothing but rejuvenation. Choosing to spend a portion of your time by yourself can have mental, emotional, and social benefits of restoring you to your glow and glory. Apart from recharging your batteries, providing space to rest, reflect, and relax, aloneness is also a brilliant teacher.
Lesson 1: Self-awareness and authenticity
Liberated from the eyes and ears of other people, your inner truth can breathe. In solitude, you learn who you are and what your authenticity looks like. This insight is self-awareness of the high order that allows you to stand firmly on your own two feet.
Lesson 2: Independence and strength
Self-knowledge liberates us from the prison of useless criticism. This kind of emancipation from the weight of anybody’s judgment and expectations builds you a castle of autonomy and individuality with walls too tall and mighty for negativity to invade it.
Lesson 3: Creativity and productivity
Imagination and inspiration thrive in the freedom of solitude. When our minds have quiet conditions to roam, they come up with original ideas, projects, stories – anything goes. The more immersive your creative endeavors, the more productive your alone time may get.
Lesson 4: Emotional intelligence and empathy
Time spent by yourself gives you an opportunity to look within, and, subsequently, develop your intrapersonal intelligence. The findings from our inward escapades frame the social dimension of our lives. The bridge of empathy is built on self-knowledge.
If you believe you already possess the above qualities, talents, and skills, intentional solitude will only enhance, magnify, and fortify them for you. And since we are all beautifully different, there is no way to tell what wisdom lies in the privacy of your own unique classroom.
Now that we have your attention, here are some ideas on how you could dip your toe into aloneness without feeling overwhelmed by it.
Talk to an introvert
Lay the foundations for your solitude with the help of somebody who has vast experience in the matter. Introverts are masters of quality alone time and they will be happy to share their wisdom with you. While they dislike chitchat, they love diving deep into what matters to them, and since aloneness is their element, prepare for lots of helpful tips and tricks.
Call A Friend (Maybe)
To facilitate making alone time a regular exercise, try not to push yourself too far too fast. If you are still apprehensive about the whole idea, let your mom, or any other member of your family, or friend group know that on a particular day you might call them for a casual conversation. This safety net will allow you not to panic when the quiet room gets scary.
Look Through Photo Albums
How can you slightly people your space without anyone’s physical presence? Dig up photos of fun times with your loved ones. Visuals of good memories will remind your heart about your emotional connection to those you deeply care about, instantly evaporating any traces of loneliness you could be experiencing. Do you feel the warmth in your chest? That’s all the comfort coming from your friends’ smiles and goofy faces.
Nobody said you need to spend your alone time locked in the house. When you take a walk in the park, go jogging around the neighborhood, sit in a coffee shop, or take yourself out on a date, you’ll be surrounded by people without any obligation to speak to anyone. This way you can be both alone and not at all at the same time – a true win-win situation.
People-watching will also anchor you in the present moment because it’s so contemplative. Observing the interactions and relationships of others ― real-life movie scenes unfolding in front of you ― will stimulate your imagination and visualization, aiding you in rediscovering your relationship with yourself.
Dive into Stories
Transporting yourself to another realm, whether by book, movie, or Netflix series will introduce you to new characters who can become your friends from afar. Blissfully, no interaction is needed, your intentional solitude stays perfectly safe from intrusion, and yet you are not quite alone. You are on an adventure with a different kind of companionship.
Preoccupy Your Mind with Joy
In other words: do more of what makes you happy. Whether it’s the quietude of journaling, writing the short story that’s been living inside your head for so long, or the excitement of throwing a party for one in your bedroom – your alone time is an opportunity to actively invest in joy. Yes, even if it means staring at the ceiling doing absolutely nothing. Rule over your time however you please.
You need you
The magic of intentional solitude gives us access to social life without forcing us into it. Humans will always be social creatures. Yet, whoever tasted the peacefulness of an unpopulated space, where you can do whatever you want without having to consult with anyone, knows the true value of mindfulness and breathing in the present moment. Loneliness is you craving connection with other people, aloneness is you craving connection with you. And you are 90% of what you’ll ever need.
“Someone told me the other day that he felt bad for single people because they are lonely all the time. I told him that’s not true, I’m single and I don’t feel lonely. I take myself out to eat, I buy myself clothes. I have great times by myself. Once you know how to take care of yourself, company becomes an option and not a necessity.” ― Keanu Reeves