All our lives, we are taught to fear and dread being alone. Skim through your childhood memories; you never wanted to be called a loner kid with no friends. You wanted to mingle with other kids and feared nobody would attend your birthday party because, deep down, you felt unpopular. Even as adults, that fear remains. In fact, many people would rather stay in an unhappy relationship than be single. Some studies show that the fear of being left alone pushes people to compromise on relationship quality, often leading to unhealthy relationships. Just look at the current divorce rates. This is called loneliness, which is quite different from embracing solitude. Opting for quality solitude mostly enhances your relationships. You will see, read on below.
Solitude Vs. Loneliness
The terms resemble each other, but there lies a significant difference between them.
What Is Loneliness?
Loneliness is a feeling, an emotion, or even a perception of lacking connection or belonging while desiring more connection with others than one has. Many psychologists term loneliness as painful isolation.
What Is Solitude?
In contrast to loneliness, it is the condition of being physically alone voluntarily to potentially gain the positive or unique experience of enjoying one’s own company. It is a desired isolation, something positive and much more appealing than the other. Anybody can learn how to make the most of alone time without feeling lonely.
How to Embrace Solitude Without Feeling Lonely?
There are many ways you can feel happy alone without feeling depressed or panicked.
When you never spend time alone with yourself, the start of being alone with your thoughts as companions might feel unsettling. That’s common. The trick is not to feel pressured to spend an entire day alone. Setting aside 10 or 15 minutes weekly for quiet contemplation can have long-term benefits. Increase your me-time when you feel either ready, overstimulated, or overstressed. As you become more comfortable with solitude, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that you enjoy your company more than you ever imagined.
Take Time Out to Recharge:
We are all racing through our days, trying to check off everything on our to-do list in this fast-paced world. You can get worn out if this routine continues. Taking personal time out to tune out distractions is a great recharge. You will feel a sense of renewal, making you better prepared to meet life’s challenges and not get overwhelmed.
Find Alone Time:
If you have never had quality alone time, carving out your alone time may feel daunting. You may need to set some boundaries with your loved ones. Your friends or spouse may not comprehend why you want—or deserve—to take time away from them. To help them understand, let them know that taking time for yourself will allow you to reconnect with yourself and, later on, with them excellently. Politely explain that it’s a win-win for everyone.
Self-reflection is vital for a contented life. We are so busy we don’t have time to think about what’s happening in our lives. You need to use alone time to reflect on your life goals. Like, “Am I using my time in the best way possible to achieve what I want from life regarding my relationships, health, and career?” Remember, introspection provides self-awareness, bringing you closer to precious insights about your self-behaviors and values.
Being alone without distractions will cause many uncomfortable emotions to bubble up to the surface. It is normal. Instead of trying to suppress these emotions, acknowledge them and explore them without judgment. Living with your feelings will aid in self-regulation and becoming more resilient. Such mature and accepted emotions often help in maintaining relationship quality.
Let your Mind Wander:
Self-contemplation boosts creativity, and research studies even support it. When you let your thoughts go in your private time, you may find some fruitful inspiration. You may develop innovative ideas for some professional projects or new perspectives about your life and relationships. So, let your mind wander and take a breather from a hectic life.
Know When to Exit Solitude:
Alone time helps us to understand ourselves, our pleasures, and our values. We start developing positive habits of empathy and patience, which prepare us to love others. The trick is to know when to break out of your solitude and seek the company of others. The two most common signals include boredom and loneliness, signaling that the solitude you craved earlier has likely served its purpose. So, when you start feeling painfully lonely, and it overwhelms you, exit your alone time and connect with someone you feel comfortable with.
Embracing solitude is a constructive emotion, where you willingly go for alone time to connect with your true self. You learn to be happy alone while trying self-reflection to better connect with yourself and those around you.