Do you dread being alone? I don’t mean lost in the wilderness alone, I mean alone with our modern conveniences but without the company of a human or pet companion? Do you distract yourself by texting others or by keeping the TV on to have background noise?
Getting comfortable with solitude can pose some interesting challenges but by looking for the hidden rewards within those challenges you can change your perspective and come to enjoy three benefits of a little quiet alone time.
Your time alone is time just for you
If you’re someone who avoids being alone in quiet like the plague, take some time to figure out why. Were you punished as a child by being sent to your room and feel like you’re now missing out on all the fun? Is time alone in quiet overwhelming in the sense that you feel sensory deprived? Do you feel that if you’re alone it’s because you’re unworthy of being with others? What are the deep reasons you dislike solitude? Now think about how you can look at this time as something good, something luxurious, and something just for you. As an adult you get to influence what you can do (or be) during your alone time. How powerful is that?! So the next time you’re alone, shift potentially negative thoughts to positive ones of power and see if you can’t feel a little better.
Your time alone is a reward and an opportunity
If you find yourself alone or consciously choose to take some time away from others, try and view it as a reward and an opportunity; what can you do with this gift you’ve received or given to yourself? Adopting the thought that time alone is a gift may take some time and you may come up against some angsty feelings as you make this shift. If you are able to view time alone as an opportunity, you open the door to taking care of yourself which not only benefits you, but others as well. Taking time out for yourself is not selfish, it’s an important part of self-care. By getting to know yourself better, you ultimately set yourself up for better health, more fulfillment, and greater success in all areas of your life.
Your alone time will help you get through your “stuff”
If being alone brings up a lot of strong emotions for you, chances are you need to be working with those emotions instead of fearing and avoiding them. And this can be terrifying and uncomfortable. To start, try and sit with your emotions for a few minutes at a time. Even if you don’t know how you feel, just sit and be still. Grab a pen and notebook and write down your thoughts, focusing on the feeling words. Get curious and ask yourself why you feel the way you do. If you don’t know why, remember, that’s OK. All of your feelings are valid –even the ones you find not so pleasant – so just sit with them and let them be. Feeling your feelings and being honest about how you feel is a part of personal growth. If you’re inclined to see a therapist or counselor, do that as well, but don’t substitute seeing that person for your alone time. Know that both will be beneficial to you in the long run.
Being alone in a quiet place from time to time doesn’t have to fill you with dread. By looking at that time as an opportunity – to learn more about yourself, to indulge in a bit of self-care, to work through your issues –you can start to shift your perspective, tune in to yourself, and appreciate alone time in a whole new way. Start slow and schedule in a few minutes each week (or day) and see how the hidden rewards within the challenges of solitude can help reward you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.