“Being solitary is being alonewell: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of yourown choice, aware of thefullness of your wonpresence rather than of theabsence of others. Because solitude is anachievement.”-Alice Koller
As a teenager in school, one of the hardest things to be is alone. Whether one is enjoying this time by themselves at this age or not, their peers view it as a detriment and scoff and tease. This fact alone proves that having time to oneself, finding comfort in solitude, is a very grown-up thing to do.
The very idea of solitude for some is frightening and it is due to succumbing to this one specific fear – not wanting to be alone – that often the wrong decisions are made in a variety of areas in one’s life. For if a decision is made in fear, how can comfort ever be found in it?
Solitude is quite the opposite of what the fearful suppose it to be. Surprisingly enough, it is not boring. It is a time of “voluntary retirement”, a time to be inspired to enjoy your life, to look at the many blessings that are prevalent and soak in the appreciation of this awareness. Without this pause, the opportunity doesn’t exist to reflect, to digest the lessons that life has presented and decipher how one would like to successfully move on.
Subconsciously, being alone forces you to face the demons, the worries, the situations that you may be trying to whizz past and ignore in this hurry-up pace of a society, but the flip side is where the beauty can be found. Yes, it isn’t easy to face the things that make your skin crawl, that make you feel helpless, but in facing them, the problems are taking their first step in the right direction to eventually being solved.
I can vividly remember a comment made by a close friend of mine when we had an opportunity to have a good heart to heart talk, and she commented on the fact that while she knew she needed to slow down, a small part of her would never let herself for fear of what she would realize about her life. The honesty in this statement was hard enough simply uttering it, but in it lies a weighty truth. What are you so afraid of? The longer you prolong the inevitable, the worse it will be to tackle down the road. Why not handle it now, so you aren’t wasting anymore precious time. Time that can be spent with a peaceful mind knowing that you’ve chosen to be an adult and be responsible, dealing with whatever is that is holding you back.
If you are shaking your head while reading this thinking there is absolutely no way I can slow down my life or take a few minutes a day or an afternoon each week, I would immediately challenge you with the question, why not? What do you have to lose?
Here are a few more benefits of solitude in hopes of demonstrating the real power in such a simple exercise:
- getting to know yourself, instead of having others tell you who you are
- quiet helps you appreciate the smaller things that are ignored and taken for granted
- isolation from the influences of others truly helps give power to your own voice
- time to reflect on what you’ve done and learn from it
- space to unwind and find peace
- an opportunity to create, imagine, dream
- time for clear, level-headed thinking
So the next time, someone gives you a hard time for spending time alone or being alone (hello, my fellow single readers), remind yourself that their under-appreciation for such a empowering concept is a reflection on their lack of understanding and insecurities and has nothing to do with you.
I will admit, it takes time to become comfortable being alone and this has to do with becoming comfortable with who you are – your passions, your desires, your dreams, your talents – but I can say with much experience that solitude is a gift, truly a gift. A time to be filled up, a time to be inspired, so that when you’re not alone you can be the best person you want to be. Think about it.
I hope you all have a beautiful Monday and a start to the week. And at some time during the next seven days, try to find some time to enjoy your own company because it is an achievement that too many people never accomplish.
Resources – Zen Habits