Many people fill their lives to the brim with activities, events and social engagements because they’re terrified if being alone. But is solitude really such a bad thing? Let’s explore some of reasons why solitude has received such 'bad press' in the past.
Sometimes the terms solitude and loneliness are used interchangeably, but the truth is that there’s a vast difference between the two. I guess you could say that they are similar because in both circumstances, you are alone – or are you?
Feeling lonely is a deficiency state, a state of discontent marked by a sense of estrangement, and it can be debilitating. In this state, we think about ourselves endlessly; and we focus on what we don’t have - this becomes all-consuming, and motivates all our activities. Ironically, it is that very sense of separation of the self from others around us which compounds those feelings of isolation and loneliness.
To avoid this feeling, we might try to escape it in all manner of ways - through social activities, constant ‘busyness’ and even with drugs and alcohol.NOW AVAILABLE!! Lose weight easily with my New CD
Where does solitude fit into the picture?
Now, here is the real difference. Finding time to be alone with your own thoughts is arguably one of the most sensible things you can do. With the pressures of day to day life, many people feel overwhelmed
and burnt out. So stepping back from the constant chatter and crowds could be just the thing you need to gain some perspective in your life and create a sense of balance. In fact, we don’t spend enough time alone!
Solitude is not only enjoyable, it is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with your innermost being. It is a time that can be used for reflection, inner searching or growth and enjoyment of some kind. Any kind of personal growth activity requires solitude; reading, experiencing the beauty of nature, thinking and creativity are just some examples.
When you can embrace your 'aloneness', you will experience peacefulness stemming from a state of inner richness. It’s all about enjoying the quiet and whatever it brings. Being alone allows you to replenish and refresh – clearing the mind of thoughts often brings us the answers we are seeking.
Are you afraid of being alone?
Remember that solitude is something you choose, while loneliness is imposed on you, sometimes by others, but more often by yourself and your own beliefs.
If you’re feeling lonely and disconnected, then a little bit of 'me-time' might be just what you need; time to reflect and get clear on exactly what is not working in your life and why. The sense of emptiness that comes with loneliness usually goes much deeper than the absence of other people to ‘play with’.
Are you buffering your life with superficial pass-times and other things in order to avoid what’s really going on in your head? If you feel anxious about the prospect of spending time alone, then chances are what you fear is exactly what you need. So make the commitment to explore what it is inside you that scares you so much; you'll probably be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
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I’d like to share some personal information with you. When I was younger, I was very extroverted and spent very little time alone. On the surface, I was very social and outgoing; the life of every party, always the first with the quick one-liners and invited to every important social event by my peers. I was never ever alone, but I was extremely lonely and unhappy. My outrageous ‘look at me’ nature was little more than a cover up for the intense fear and self-loathing I felt deep inside.
You see, just as there is a big difference between being outgoing and extroverted, there is also a big difference between being alone and being lonely. The other important thing to consider is that over the years, we DO change; there are things we used to do in the past that no longer give us pleasure. In my twenties, staying at home on a Saturday night was the equivalent of 'social suicide'.
Nowadays, you’ll find me snuggled up at home with a good book, making (and eating!) home-made ice-cream or playing with my dog. (My partner might get a bit of attention too - but only when he behaves!) I'd be lucky to have 10 names on my e-mail circular list...but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I have deep personal connections with a few people, and that’s all I need. I believe in quality not quantity, and I absolutely LOVE my time alone.
I've said it before, and I’ll say it again; do what works for you. If you’re not clear on works for you then talk about it with your therapist until you get the clarity you need. Solitude does not have to mean unhappiness!
Feeling stuck? Consider enlisting the services of a
qualified therapist to help you identify your blocks and create new, empowering beliefs.
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So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this issue of Success Express...have a great day!
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