As a society, we often avoid solitude, seeing seclusion as a punishment rather than a privilege. While introverts have long embraced solitude, the social butterflies of the world generally flee from it. How you feel about solitude may depend on your personality and how comfortable you are with being alone. The key to embracing solitude is realizing that being alone and feeling lonely aren’t the same thing. When you can be alone without feeling lonely, you’ve mastered the art of solitude.
The COVID-19 pandemic over the past couple of months has forced many people into isolation. With this increase in solitude, many are experiencing fear, loneliness, and having a hard time adjusting to the new normal. The situation has been overwhelming to say the least.
But whether you enjoy your alone time or not, there’s always room to learn more about yourself and how you can grow emotionally. Here’s how we’re embracing solitude right now, and how you can, too!
1. Positive Self-Talk
When you think of being alone, do you associate the word alone with being lonely? If you fear being alone, you’ll continue the cycle of avoiding it and feeling lonely when you do. To embrace solitude, change the narrative in your head of what being alone looks like. Give yourself new words to associate the word alone with — ‘independent’, ‘self-reliant’, ‘creative’, or any other positive outcome that can come from solitude. Words are powerful and this small switch can make a big difference in accepting being alone.
2. Solitary Activities
Some may associate the word alone with being bored. If this sounds like you, find some fun and meaningful activities to do on your own. Anything from exercise, meditation, reading a book, baking, art, or playing music are good solo activities. Solitude doesn’t have to mean boring; it can be fun, creative, and rejuvenating too. Taking the time to embrace solo activities may help you discover a new passion, hobby, or just simply help pass the time.
3. Listen to Yourself
Along with positive self-talk comes paying close attention to your thoughts and feelings. We spend so much timedoing that we often miss what we’re thinking and feeling. But when you’re alone, you have the opportunity to uncover what you may be trying to bury. You have time to process your emotions, and discover your wants and needs. When we avoid, avoid, avoid, we’re not able to learn more about ourselves, re-evaluate what we want out of life, or make time for improvements. Take a few moments to listen to yourself and evaluate your wants, needs, and priorities. By doing so, you can course correct in your work life, personal life, and relationships. You may be able to accomplish more and get greater satisfaction out of life all by simply taking the time to listen to yourself when you’re alone.
4. Letting Go of Approval
It’s so easy to compare yourself to others. We tend to think the grass is greener on the other side by distorting other peoples’ experiences versus our own. You may think that other people are happier than you and aren’t struggling the same way you are. You may also start worrying about what they may think about you and how you can measure up. Seeking the approval of others and looking for external validation can kill creativity and diminish our authentic selves. When you’re alone, disconnect from the outside world and concern yourself with whatyou think, and you alone. Set intentions and long-term goals, and make decisions that are best for you. Determine what values are important to you and how you can make your dreams a reality.
Solitude may not be your cup of tea, but with social distancing and self-isolation guidelines from this global pandemic, it may be your current reality. Being alone for long periods of time can be tough for everyone, and we hope that this pandemic is over very soon. In the meantime, why not try to make the best of the situation and embrace solitude?
Although difficult times can be a struggle, they may also be a catalyst for positive change. How are you embracing solitude these days?