Monophobia- Mankind’s fear of loneliness. We are frequently told that choosing to be alone is a sign of an antisocial personality or means that we have trouble connecting with others, but I beg to differ. This is an example of societal conditioning and doesn’t take into account one’s need for solitude as a way to recharge, revitalise and be a better family member, friend or significant other. The daily stresses of life are numerous and can quickly overwhelm. We should begin to think of taking time to ourselves as a gift, a way to come back ready to give our all to the people around us and tasks we dedicate ourselves to. Alone time is crucial to get to know ourselves- what makes us light up inside, what makes us tick. Our dreams, aspirations, fears, secrets. It’s a way to stay healthy and give back to ourselves, particularly for those with more introverted personalities. Constant social interaction can be draining and detrimental to health- it’s yet another shortcut to burnout and mental overload, leaving you short and snappy in exchanges.
Me time can reconnect you with the person you are and who you are to become. It can clear your vision, heighten your focus and remind you to breathe easy. Craving attention constantly and needing to be busy is not normal. Avoiding potential uncomfortable feelings is an indicator that you do not know how to be alone with yourself or your mind- surprisingly, it is very common; a fear based response to the truth of ourselves. In contradiction with this, the best remedy is to push past discomfort and just be. It is yet another learning curve that will eventually become second nature.
In welcoming time alone, we are embracing better balance in our lives and learning to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy patterns of thinking and being. We will learn to value our relationships in a whole new way and stop seeking others to complete us.
To sum this all up in a few words: most people spend a lot of time planning weddings and vacations but never plan how to get the most out of life. That says a lot!
The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in the freedom of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.
You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous — to poetry.
You can do what you want in your own time
A big contributor to anxiety for me personally is having to run by everyone else’s schedule. While I am not the most spontaneous, this leaves no room for me to make independent choices and take it easy. I overheard a few minutes of a youtube video once that discussed the disadvantages to a constant packed schedule. It is in our very nature as free spirited people to want to roam, to dislike being locked in to commitment after commitment. Those who lead a nomadic, wanderlust driven lifestyle have discovered the truth to living, the sweet nectar and honey of being alive. Hearing these words and seeing this concept explained so well changed my life. I finally knew of a way to speak about how I felt. It’s healthy to have expectations and want clarity on where your time will be allocated, but when taken too far this leads to neuroticism and obsessive tendencies.
You further develop your relationship and trust with yourself
The relationship we will develop and nurture with ourselves over the steady course of a lifetime is by far the most significant we will know. It is mind boggling to me that we serve as our longest standing relationship yet we fail to truly know ourselves in the most basic of ways. How often do we fail to tune into our needs or disallow ourselves to feel freely? What is ongoing is worth taking the time to understand. The people who have unlocked the so called secret to happiness know this is nothing more than a pretty illusion. A secret implies that there is a shortcut to be taken which is simply not the case. Developing a strong and steady relationship with ourselves is a lifelong journey and entirely non linear. Alone time helps you become more comfortable in your own skin. You can make choices and come to realisations without outside influence. Your opinions are no longer coloured by the thoughts or beliefs others hold. Nothing is more valuable than the insight we can develop into our character and persona when we are in solitude. A good practice is to set a date with yourself each month to do what you love- try out the new restaurant you’ve been meaning to go to, have a spa day or immerse yourself in the natural world.
It increases your emotional intelligence
The never ending exploration of Identity and Self- your Emotional Intelligence or EQ is the unique ability you hold to recognise, process and understand patterns and behaviours in yourself and others. You then put this ability to use in order to manage your behaviour and relationship smartly. Scientifically backed studies show that a high majority of top performers possess levels of emotional intelligence never seen before in a typical range of people. For such a rare quality, this is indeed a crucial skill to have and one that ties in heavily with self awareness. In fact, the two are so interlinked they almost cannot exist without one another. Self awareness requires discipline and frank, honest reflection of self. For most people, this happens best when they are alone. EQ to IQ is what street smarts are to book smarts.
You will experience a boost in self esteem
There is a lot to be said for enjoying your own company. It is a huge confidence booster when you are able to provide yourself with much needed internal validation and reaffirm that you are enough, over and over again, as many times as needed. You just have to believe what it is that you are telling yourself. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you’re uninteresting or that you need others company to find enjoyment if you are bored whilst by yourself. In reality, you simply do not yet know of the power you hold when in solitude. During this time, you are highly impressionable and can effectively reprogram your mind to believe in your true worth. You will begin to act and think in such a way that appraises and honours this. Self esteem is your opinion of yourself and your abilities- having doubts is entirely normal and healthy in that it alerts us to ways in which we can grow, but other times it serves only as a unconstructive critic. Make it your job to know the difference. It is personal to each and every one of us.
You will learn to appreciate the company of other people more
Ah, the age old adage. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. Regularly taking time for yourself makes engaging with others all the more enjoyable as you’ve given yourself time and space to miss their company. This serves only to improve your relationships and help them flourish. Time in solitude is a form of rest and is just as essential to functioning as sleep. Why would you choose to go without? The idea of differentiation and linkage in relationships refers to ourselves as separate autonomous individuals who also thrive off of being emotionally and physically close. Two elements essential for a satisfying and long term relationship. Furthermore, time alone reminds us of the blessings of community and shines a light on what we have to be grateful for. When you take the necessary time in solitude, you will escape feelings of overwhelm and will no longer take your time with others for granted. Considering the current situation of our world, I am sure this is a feeling we have come to know well. Alone time can help us to understand others better through the development of empathy and self awareness, two qualities that introverts possess in high levels.
Solitude sparks creativity
Creativity is a brilliantly nebulous concept, making it so incredibly open to demonstration and interpretation. Creativity flourishes in solitude, once we weed out what is unnecessary and carve out time and space intentionally. Creativity is found more often when we let it wash over us rather than actively seek it. Studies now show that people are more likely to come up with their best ideas when by themselves as opposed to during group brainstorming sessions. As people, we are sensitive to criticism from others and seem to enjoy deluding ourselves into believing our ideas and contributions are inferior. This can lead to cognitive fixation, the tendency to get stuck on other people’s ideas, therefore reducing their ability to come up with anything new. When we are alone however, there is no such pressure. We are able to think and express ourselves more freely and authentically. There is a scientific element to it as well- the lack of interruption from others allows the brain to ponder differently, leading to more vivid and original metacognitions as well as a boost in memory. You will notice that you become better at recalling facts and making links and associations.
You can visualise and plan out your life
Being alone can offer a rich psychological experience like no other. It can help you lead a full life where you need not worry about feeling emotionally depleted. Quiet helps us to appreciate the smaller things that get lost in the roaring riptide of life. Spending time alone gives you a chance to ensure there’s a purpose to all the hustling and bustling we subject ourselves to. Quiet space provides an opportunity think about our progress, the future of our dreams and the direction we are headed in.
Solitude increases your resolve
When given the opportunity to reach bravely inside ourselves, what are we faced with? We are no longer offered the option of being able to run, nor to hide. We are instead encouraged to bear witness to our truth, to draw out our personal demons and exorcise them through whatever means necessary. Simply, to release and find courage in the depths of all that is. Solitude is your opportunity for restoration.
Many wellness practices, meditation being one of them, require quiet space. Yes, you’ve heard this time and time again, but what do you truly know about this ancient art? Your wellness practice doesn’t have to be anything grand to achieve its purpose in connecting you with your core self. Perhaps you sit in a relaxed, comfortable position that allows you to keep your spine straight and release any tension or stagnant energy. Then you focus on breathwork- slow, deep inhales and exhales. You begin to really feel your breath as it enters your lungs. You return consciousness to your breath and begin the process of acknowledging and releasing the thoughts that enter your mind. They are like the weather, ever changing, but need not affect you unless you choose to let them.