Everyone has experienced the state of thinking that you are not doing enough and that you are wasting your time, while spending a cozy and peaceful Saturday evening at home. Instagram stories from different parties, the gossip that goes around the following week, and the memories of you being alone. Am I considered a loser, if I am not part of the cool kids, that haunt me in the little screen that I hold in my hands? The negative meaning of the word ‘alone’ or the fear of missing out are thoughts that are implemented by our modern society. But what is so wrong with spending some time by yourself? Is this really something that we should feel embarrassed about? Or is solitude actually a requirement for a happy and healthy life?
Solitude is not to be confused with loneliness. Solitude is more about being alone, but not necessarily being in physical isolation from other human beings. It is about letting your mind wander without being influenced by other minds. And this peace of mind is what is important for our personal growth.
But how do you gain this certain peace of mind? Some people try to spend time on their own in the forest and try to find their way back to themselves. Connecting to nature is an activity that lets our mind wander and calms our soul, which can help us find new inspiration and motivation. But this might be harder than it sounds. Even looking at our phones for a few minutes a day keeps us from truly experiencing pure solitude and listening to our soul. Technology makes it easy for us to distract ourselves from our thoughts and problems. We use it as an escape and a way to relax, but in reality, it just helps us set unrealistic standards for ourselves that are influenced by absurd concepts of a perfect life.
The Societal Influence on Our Mindset
Our society in the 21st century is heavily influenced by technology and different kinds of media that seem to rule our everyday life. Not one single hour goes by where we don’t have the possibility to let our minds be mesmerized by checking Instagram, looking at the new shoes that we want, or seeing what our friends are up to. Technology takes up such a huge portion of our life that it almost seems impossible to avoid it for a few days, but that’s exactly what most of us would need right now.
Solitude as Our Personal Therapy
But what is it exactly that makes solitude so essential to our well-being? Most of us are used to a hectic life, where we are trying to create a good balance between our career and our personal life. There is barely any time to stop for a second and think about where we are right now and where we want to go. Once we are forced to deal with our thoughts that are usually brushed aside by other daily problems, we end up discovering facts about ourselves that we were not aware of before. Solitude enhances our creativity and teaches us how to use our own minds without questioning the approval of others. It helps us reflect on our lives and the goals and dreams that we have. The chance of stepping back and having the opportunity to look at the past and practice gratitude for the things that we are able to experience and that we might have taken for granted. Being alone might seem scary to a lot of people, but it actually helps us develop self-awareness and be more comfortable with our own presence. You are and will be the only thing in your life that is certain and that will always be there. Therefore, it is important to get to know yourself and to build reliance before we get too dependent on other human beings. Even Bill Gates, who describes himself as an extreme extrovert, mentioned that he spends two weeks a year in a small cabin without any other human interaction in order to connect with his vision and his goals. But don’t worry, it does not require a whole cabin to practice solitude. Simple activities, such as meditating, keeping a daily journal with short reflections of your day, or just peacefully reading your favorite book. Don’t think of these activities as a tiring requirement, but rather a gift to yourself.
We Are All Just Human Beings
We need solitude just as much as we need personal relationships. Being alone is something that was taught to us as a sort of punishment. Whenever children misbehave, they are sent to their rooms as a consequence of their actions, but this stigma must be broken since it does not match our human nature. In the past, people were forced to face solitude due to the lack of technology and different values. Even nowadays no one should feel embarrassed about needing some time with their own mind and without any interruptions. So, whenever you feel like your world is falling apart and you don’t know where you are standing, grab a cup of tea, put your phone away and organize the thoughts in your head that have been keeping you from truly enjoying your own presence. We are all just human beings and sometimes we just have to remind ourselves of this fact.