The world is connected like never before. The world-wide web, electronic devices and quicker modes of travel mean that the world is getting smaller and our lives are becoming more intertwined.
We collaborate, brainstorm, have group dinners – every moment seems to be filled with some activity and with someone. In fact, finding a moment of solitude seems near impossible and even frowned upon.
Being by ourselves is viewed as a type of punishment. Those who wish to spend time by themselves are misunderstood and often pitied. Some doctors even say that being alone can lead to a more health problems and shorter life expectancy.
“Humans have long stigmatized solitude. It has been considered an inconvenience, something to avoid, a punishment, a realm of loners. Science has often aligned it with negative outcomes,” writes Brent Crane in the article, “The Virtues of Isolation.”
However, there is a big difference between loneliness and choosing to be alone. The attitude about solitude is beginning to change with the view that choosing to be alone for periods of time can be a very positive experience indeed.
For those who are not used to being alone at all, this can be a difficult experience because when you spend time away from the crowd you are forced to examine yourself very closely. You may not always like what you discover but it provides an opportunity to acknowledge shortcomings and try to make changes.
“When people take these moments to explore their solitude, not only will they be forced to confront who they are, they just might learn a little bit about how to out-maneuver some of the toxicity that surrounds them in a social setting,” says Jack Fong, a sociologist at California State Polytechnic University.
Solitude is a way to find out things about yourself that you never knew. Being alone increases emotional intelligence, which is the capacity to recognize your own and others’ emotions. When you thoroughly understand and accept yourself, you are better prepared to have meaningful relationships with those around you – personally and professionally.
As someone who savors solitude and has done so since I was young, I have found great benefit in spending time alone. I’ve spent much time observing my surroundings and the natural patterns that occur in the outside space. Reflecting on the beauty of nature has lead me to observe nature and how precious our surroundings are.
If there are issues surrounding the business that have been troubling me or if I need new ideas and perspective, spending a little time alone is just what I need to recharge and refresh myself.
There are many ways in which you can find solitude. As I mentioned, my preferred method is to sit outdoors and observe nature. This can also be done while taking a long walk by yourself. If you are not used to being alone, mediation might be a great way to ease into solitude.
Rather than ostracizing those who like solitude, we should instead embrace a little alone time for ourselves and discover new insights. There is so much that we can learn from ourselves if we only take the time to listen.
Weaver, Thinker, Doer