8 tips on how to make solitude a friend
Does the idea of being alone make you panic? Take a deep breath and consider these 8 suggestions on how to embrace solitude.
Humans are social beings. We need others to achieve personal growth.
It is normal to find solitude difficult and no surprise that it has a negative connotation. Being alone–and content–is not intuitive or comfortable for everyone.
And yet, appreciating the well-being that solitude offers is something we can learn. Here are a few ideas on how.
1. Differentiate between solitude and loneliness
The distinction can be illustrated by comparing the notions of “being alone” and “feeling alone.”
The first refers to a state in which there is no-one in your company, whereas the second is associated with isolation and a feeling of exclusion and is often accompanied by mental suffering, anxiety and a feeling of emptiness.
Nothing better illustrates the distinction than Joseph Roux’s proverb: “Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.”
2. Disengage from onlookers
Solitude is beneficial; it allows us to live without others and the outside world looking in.
It is when we are by ourselves that we can concentrate on our inner lives, understand ourselves and our private needs.
Tend your secret garden without feelings of guilt. Let your emotions talk; we often filter or even suffocate them when we are with others.
Creating and nourishing moments of aloneness helps us find and forge meaningful bonds with others.
3. Find solitude in enriching activities
Include activities in your schedule that nourish the mind and body and that do not require you to make any compromises.
The possibilities are never-ending, with activities to suit sporty, creative, intellectual or cultural types.
Any discomfort you may feel about being in solo mode will quickly disappear, the more you do your chosen activity. The feeling of well-being it generates will make you appreciate these moments you devote to yourself.
Spending time doing the things we really enjoy does us good. There’s no need to please others!
Writing means putting down on paper the thoughts we censor when we speak. We often find it easier to clarify our inner world in writing.
Writing allows us to realize that we are entirely responsible for our own happiness.
Once we are aware of this, we learn to cherish solitude and the moments we reserve for ourselves.
Meditation is the technique of getting in touch with yourself, to be mindful of your thoughts.
In this place of peacefulness, you can focus on yourself and your inner life.
The technique helps put you at an interface where you can listen to your needs, and respect and understand yourself.
It is during moments of solitude that you can nourish your quest for happiness. Think about your needs, your desires, dissatisfactions and, above all, about what you might do to transform your unhappiness into the changes that could ultimately become sources of happiness.
7. Use social media in moderation
While social media might claim to connect people, it can also contribute to isolation.
If you feel bombarded by photos of your friends’ perfect lives and this only awakens a gnawing anxiety in you, maybe it’s better to steer clear of the platforms until you have learned to embrace solitude.
8. Consult a professional
We each learn solitude differently. If you are having difficulty befriending it, don’t hesitate to turn to a professional.
A professional can help you overcome your fears, break out of isolation and understand what you are feeling when you are by yourself.