The human evolution is connected to the capacity of constructing groups. Being part of a group demanded from humans the ability of communication, a distinctiful characteristic from other species. Although we are sociable, solitude is also one condition to our survival over time.
Loneliness is associated with the pain of being abandoned which can be motivated by the sensation that your own company is never enough. We can also feel lonely after one unanswered expectation. However, solitude is a choice that expresses the “glory of being alone”, as once said Paul Tillich, German theologian and philosopher.
Solitude strengthens our sensation of liberty and autonomy that comes with self connexion.
This article presents 8 topics to help you seeing solitude as an opportunity of self care and development.
Solitude increases self knowledge
In current social media era, we are always looking for meeting new people. In this process, we may forget to dedicate time and energy to the most important relationship: with ourselves. Being alone helps us to learn our limits, powers and shadows. Solitude is a door that, once opened, invite us to meet the infinity that inhabit us. Without distractions, we can’t run from ourselves. To recognise the humanity on people around us, firstly we need to connect to ourselves, recognising our vulnerabilities and powers.
Strengthens the sensation of autonomy and liberty
When you are by yourself, you can make choices that really dialogue with your emotions and needs, without outside influences or pressures. This helps you developing more intimacy with yourself and recognizing your responsibility for your choices, which truly transforms you into the protagonist of your life. Therefore, this strengthens your liberty and autonomy, what makes solitude an essential key to become the best version of yourself. One study shows that a day with solitude would yield experienced autonomy better compared with a day without solitude.
Time by yourself develops empathy
Spending more time alone helps us to develop more compassion for people – especially for those whose behaviours seem too different from ours. It’s common developing a mentality “we vs. them” when we spend time with a circle of friends and construct one identity as a member of that group. However, this process can make you only consider points of view of your own group. This deeply reduces possibilities of connecting with new people – which requires compassion to try to understand from which context they come from. Solitude make us thinking for ourselves, what reduces chances of rejecting someone in order to reproduce the behaviours of our inner circle. Self connection teach us how to read our emotions. Once we do this, we desire learning to read other’s people feelings. This is the conclusion of a recent research developed in Louisiana Tech University.
Improve the quality of our relations
When you learn to enjoy your own company, you start not accepting any company just because you are afraid of being alone. Solitude is a master that teachs us that is our responsibility to fulfill our needs and that we can’t transfer it to other people. In this way, our relations start being opportunities to share and not to impose to others the mission to fulfill our loneliness. Solitude also contributes to the construction of sincere relations. Once self connexion permits us to identify our emotions and needs, we are able to talk about them with people we love, in a compassive way. This makes our relationships more reciprocal, respectful and careful – to ourselves and to those we love.
Creativity blooms when we are alone
Reducing external stimulus, permit us to concentrate and listen to our thoughts, what helps us organizing them better. Without other person to answer our questions, we develop our intuition and creative energy. When we don’t have to answer other person expectations, we become more receptive to new ideas, what helps us to create. One study developed in University at Bufallo showed that people whose sought out solitude scored higher on creativity.
Solitude is an opportunity to plan your life
Most people spend time and energy planning vacations but don’t think about how to get the most of life. Solitude makes you focus on yourself and answer important questions as “who I want to be?”, “what gives meaning to my life?”, “what can I do to help people around me?”. Spend more time alone can give you a chance to verify if there is a purpose in your daily life, to think about your goals, your progress and the changes you want to make in your life.
Teachs us to deal with challenging emotions
Emotions are essential tools that enabled our survival over time. Hard emotions as sadness, anger and fear are answers to dangerous situations, which demanded fighting or running away. Solitude enables us to identify such emotions, search for their causes and what message it tells us. Every emotion is an important message that can’t be repressed or ignored, because it helps us to recognize what makes sense to us and what need to be changed. This can be easier achieved when we are alone, free of other people’s judgements and opinions. All this process with challenging emotions help us to become mentally stronger, as concluded a reasearch produced in the University of Massachussets.
Looking for activities you actually enjoy
Being alone permit us to do things that we genuinely enjoy (and not those we do just to accompany someone else or a group). We also learn the way we prefer preparing our meal, practising a physical activity, which places to visit and which activities we appreciate the most in a new place. Is common that some of our preferences doesn’t match to those of our group, what makes us doing things we don’t necessarily take pleasure in. Solitude gives more time with ourselves, what contributes to recognize our preferences and make them our priority. This increases our independence, the trust in our instinctions and the capacity of making decisions without needing external validation.
When you feel afraid of being alone, remember the topics above and try to look for advantages of solitude. Social isolation is different of the decision of enjoying your own company. Finding a balance between the silence of a productive solitude and sharing your energy with others is essential to mental and emotional health.