Solitude: The Art of Being Alone
How do you define solitude, in a positive or negative? Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “the quality or state of being alone or remote from society: seclusion.” On the contrary, solitude is a positive state of being. You can be in solitude and not be lonely and vice versa.
Benefits of Practicing Solitude
1. It minimizes stress levels – The way you practice solitude will help with decreasing the stress of our daily lives. When you crave some time to yourself, you might spend that time by doing some yoga, meditation, reading a book, taking an online course, looking at nature, sipping some tea, or whatever your heart’s desire. All of those activities are extremely beneficial to you not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.
2. It gets the creative juices flowing – Even if you’re not a writer, did you ever have writer’s block or a mental block? Where you just keep hitting a wall when it comes to writing or doing something creative? Spending time alone with your thoughts will open up your mind to such creative, endless possibilities. When you tell your mind ‘stop thinking’ guess what’s going to happen? So just kick up your feet, enjoy that cup of tea and wait for the creative magic to happen.
3. You develop a better sense of self – Through my teens and 20’s I didn’t know who I was. I would happily parade around with my peers and we all thought and felt and experienced life as a group. At times, I didn’t do the best of things, I was a delinquent and would do anything for a laugh or to climb our group’s social ladder… peer pressure! When I eventually started to live alone I realized solitude doesn’t have to be lonely, I can enjoy it and use it to my advantage, and the real me started to unfold. I found time to work on my self-development and finally found my self-identity. Every day I am adding more to who I am as a person in this world.
4. Solitude can improve your relationships – I saw a meme one day and immediately sent it to my husband. It said something like ‘I want someone I can share my life with, who will leave me alone most of the time’. That is epitome of our marriage. I told my husband to go play golf whenever he wants because I enjoy quiet time when I can do whatever I want for myself. His response: “PERFECT!” No wonder it still feels like we’re still in our honeymoon phase, we have the perfect balance of solitude and togetherness.
Give Yourself Time: You Deserve It
Why do people always put themselves last? When you fly doesn’t the flight attendant tell you in case of emergency to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others? Albeit, an extreme example but I think you catch my drift. What good can you do if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Giving yourself time is not being selfish, it’s promoting self-care and self-love. You must learn to love yourself and realize your body is your temple, it’s your responsibility. You must treat your body temple with care and general maintenance. Keep your body and mind in shape and you will develop an amazing and wonderful boost of self-confidence and self-love. Every being on this planet deserves to feel that way.
It’s sad to know there is an over-abundance of body shame and low self-esteem in people. It can stem from as early back as childhood trauma, and hard to defeat because we put so many mental barriers in our way through self-sabotage. Do everything you can to get over those mental barriers, through counseling, drug or alcohol rehabilitation if applicable, cognitive behavioral therapy workshops, neural-linguistic programming, spiritual service, etc. Once you release those traumas you will finally realize “Yes! I deserve to feel happy, I deserve to feel love, I love myself and won’t settle for anything else!”
Give yourself time to heal and transformation will always follow. You will then have the strength become the best version of yourself that you can ever imagine.
Many times, I would get so annoyed at myself for practicing a meditation and my mind would wander the whole time. I would give up after a few tries and wonder what I was doing wrong.
But I wasn’t doing anything wrong, besides not exercising patience.
#1 Rule to Practicing Patience – Slow down! I don’t know why this world is in such a big hurry. It exacerbates my anxiety when I see how quick some people live their lives and yet sometimes I get caught up too and find myself running that hamster wheel. But I’m quick to jump off and practice mindfulness and patience. Remind yourself throughout the day to slow down, and you’ll learn to enjoy every moment.
#2 Rule – Concentrate on Your Breathing. When you find yourself stressed and becoming impatient, just close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Try to picture your lungs filling with oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide, then slow your breath down. This will immediately relax you.
#3 Rule for Patience – No One Holds Your Power; Only You. People are quick to blame others for their state of anger or frustration whether at a doctor’s office or in a traffic jam. The quote above is so important to realize because it’s not what we go through in this life, it’s how we deal with it. You are the only one who has the power to control your emotions. Don’t give that power to anybody else.
Mindfulness: Living in the Moment
Many people’s minds either live in the past or the future. Have you ever noticed how much you think of what to have for dinner, what to do on the weekend or remember the disagreement you had with a co-worker or a significant other? The majority of our days are spent planning for the future or remembering events of the past. Very rarely do we notice the present world we live in.
Becoming mindful means you become aware of the present moment, and start to focus on it. When you practice mindfulness, you will start to develop an open and accepting attitude. You will start to look at things in your life through curious eyes and notice your control on what you give your attention to.
It can be difficult to know how to begin, but once you get the hang of it, you will always have it. Kind of like riding a bicycle, you will always remember.
To practice this you must eliminate all distractions, sit comfortably, and just concentrate on your inhalation and exhalation. When a random thought comes to your mind (which it definitely will), it’s okay, just become aware of it, let it go and gently return to the present moment. Soon you will master the art of mindfulness.
Solitude is Empowering
Your friends and family may think you’re ‘lazy’ for living a life of self development and mindfulness, because they may not understand it or may think you’re wasting your time. That’s far from the truth, in fact solitude can be very empowering.
I believe in the adage that it’s none of my business what others think of me.
My daily practice of solitude can come in many forms: Allow myself enough sleep, exercise through cardio and weight-training, meditate, prepare home-cooked meals, do chores, work on my website and training, go for a walk downtown to do errands while enjoying the fresh air and scenery.. whatever my heart’s desire and what my spirit needs.
So don’t be afraid to spend time in solitude. With so many benefits everyone should be doing it on the daily. It can lead to personal strength, creative imagination, intellectual discoveries, and mental fortitude.
Peace and blessings <3