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 forced many people into isolation. However, a global pandemic is not the only reason you might feel alone at times.
Whether your significant someone is currently on a business trip, or you’re going through a break-up – an increase in solitude can make you experience fear and loneliness.
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 learned to embrace solitude, and how you can, too.
1. Positive Self-Talk & Perspective
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.
Being Alone Does NOT Equal Being Lonely
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.
In order to define solitude properly, it takes a good look at how we feel and how we view ourselves:
- Do you consider yourself to be strong?
- Do you push through difficult times?
- Do you want to believe you can do anything and can accomplish things on your own?
Embrace Solitude as a Gift
If you can be alone and completely embrace solitude, you can thrive by having the opportunity to focus on yourself and listening to your thoughts without distractions.
Oftentimes, solitude is defined as being lonely, dragging along a pile of negative connotations. Truth be told, solitude is really just what you make of it.
When you feel lonely, you tend to stress your fears and the desire for companionship, unable to genuinely embrace solitude and unable to regard it as an opportunity. Or view it for what it really is – a gift.
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. Taking the time to embrace solo activities may help you discover a new passion, a hobby, or just simply help pass the time.
Unsure where to start?
Here are a few ideas for you to learn how to embrace solitude and use your alone time effectively:
Meditation with Music
Why not use this time for something that requires you to be alone anyway? With everything going on in the world around us right now, use this opportunity to find some inner peace.
Meditation with music, particularly when playing relaxing tunes, can improve your mood and well-being.
Don’t forget to add some scents, light a few candles, and meditate in a comfortable setting. Gently stimulating your senses can help you feel grounded and connected to the world around you.
By focusing on your breathing and listening to your body, you can remove that nagging feeling of anxiety and shake emotional burdens off of you. Meditation, especially with music, is, therefore, a good idea for you to embrace your solitude.
Find a Hobby
Remember that passion of yours? Yea, the one that made your eyes light up when you were a little kid and that still makes you smile and feel at ease?
While many of us remember, the truth is that our busy everyday lives and the burden of being responsible adults have pushed our dreams and passions on the back burner. Yet, following your hobbies and doing something you genuinely enjoy shouldn’t be such a struggle for you to do.
Your well-being depends on you to do the things you love and to have time to do them in the first place. So, whether you want to be the new Picasso, would like to perfect your cake recipes, or just want to binge-watch your favorite show, this is your window.
So, grab a good book and don’t waste your chance.
Pick Up a Task You’ve Been Putting Off
While this might not be the most fun job to do upfront, doing something you’ve been putting off for a long time can be extremely rewarding.
Wouldn’t you be proud of yourself, now that you have extra time at your hand, if you tidied up your garage or organized your closet? Or imagine you could get all these little repairs around the house done, some of which have been piling up for years.
Embracing solitude means you make the best of it and spend your time effectively. Whether that means addressing tasks around the house, following personal passions, or just checking stuff off your to-do list – how you define solitude is up to you, but whatever you do, use it.
3. Listen to Yourself
Along with positive self-talk comes paying close attention to your thoughts and feelings. We spend so much time doing that we often miss what we’re thinking and feeling.
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 continue to avoid, we’re not able to learn more about ourselves, re-evaluate what we want out of life, or make time for improvements.
Find Out What You Want and Need
Take a few moments to listen to yourself and evaluate your wants, needs, and priorities. By doing so, you can course-correct your work life, personal life, and relationships.
Need help finding a way to listen to yourself? How about a nice, hot, steaming bubble bath? Light some candles, turn on some music, and become one with your thoughts.
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 are and aren’t struggling the same way. You may also start worrying about what they may think about you and how you can measure up.
Seek Approval of Yourself, Not Others
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 what you think – 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.
The Bottom Line
Solitude may not be your cup of tea, but whether it’s social distancing, personal reasons, or business related, you cannot escape solitude all the time.
Being alone for long periods of time can be tough for everyone, however, making the best of the situation and embracing solitude is an art we can all learn to master – no matter the reason.
Although difficult times can be a struggle, they may also be a catalyst for positive change. How are you embracing solitude these days?
If you’re looking for more quality ideas to spend your alone time, read this blog post and learn how you can find more happiness for yourself through mindfulness. Put yourself first every now and then – you deserve it!