If you were challenged to spend 1 hour alone every day for the remainder of your life, are you more likely to feel good or does the thought make you cringe? Would it be Alone Time or Lonely time? This is a no judgement zone, so let’s explore together as an honest moment of truth. If you are more likely to sweat at the mere thought of being alone, well, you are NOT alone in that feeling.
Discovering our truth is so important in better understanding ourselves. The truth, in fact, is much more revealed in our alone time – no distractions – from our feelings, fear, doubts and personal reality. The adjustment between what is considered alone time vs. loneliness is different for each of us. Due to the many benefits of alone time, researched from all the sciences you can think of, makes this topic worth exploring. Not to mention, we are globally facing unique times of solitude and social distancing. Learning to discover your personal truth, reflect, become comfortable and know that YOU are enough can only help in all aspects of life. Would you agree?
Why is Alone Time Easier For Some People?
The question remains – why is alone time easier for some people? A couple of things come to mind – such as the negative association between loneliness as a form of punishment. For example, we envision bad behaving criminals in jail being locked in a small dark room for days at a time as inhumane. We also may commonly label people we know as extroverts (social butterflies) vs. introverts (weird and antisocial). As innocent as it appears, the act of labeling has been a part of our DNA for centuries.
Dr. Thuyvy Nguyen, quoted in a recent NY times article, stated “because there is so much research demonstrating that humans are social creatures…people will try to dismiss that it’s also important to spend time alone…hard for them to imagine that you can have both.” Further, says Dr. Nguyen, “…studies show that when we are by ourselves, what is uncomfortable is the lack of stimuli,..can’t rely on other people to shape your experience in a certain way.” Let’s unpack that statement a bit. Can you name some ways that we depend on others for our pleasure and happiness that we, for various reasons have a hard time looking internally to fulfill ourselves?
SHIFTING from SELF DOUBT to SELF LOVE
The key here is to remember WHO you are. And guess what? The secret is out that so many of us are still figuring that out, which is OK. Understanding yourself is a life-long process and surely a journey not a race. The process of self-discovery should be a loving one that is filled with curiosity, honesty, humility and excitement. Take yourself on a date, figuratively and maybe even literally. Practice self-care and self-love.
Ask yourself what makes you tick: what are the colors, movies, books, ideas, hobbies that bring you joy? And what are the very same things that bring about sadness? How quickly could you answer those questions in a trivia? How about taking it one step further and asking yourself WHY you came up with those answers. What is the root of those feelings? Who are you when you are alone vs. in public? Are you relatively the same, and in our present age of social media, is there possibly another layer to who you become behind a screen? Enjoy the process of getting to know yourself and shifting your mindset from lonely time to alone time.
Yes, these are many questions coming at you, and it is absolutely intentional. This is because it appears uncomfortable to some of us to look internally at ourselves. We are afraid of our truths – when in reality – we should be embracing our answers. Adding the ‘why’ behind each question creates an emotional impact that may take some time to reveal. All you have to do is start small and continue chipping away at the diamond in the rough. You, my friend, are the diamond.
PERKS OF ALONE TIME
Think of someone who is important to you. Would you have an even better relationship if each of you knew yourselves just a little bit more? You’ve guessed it – there is a ton of research on alone time improving – not hurting – relationships. Balancing the actions that bring you joy, with allowing your partner to do the same, for example, can be the most uplifting aspect that keeps that spark going. Trust me, the honeymoon phase never has to end. And if you are currently single – how good would it feel to meet someone who is just as confident and self-loving as you?!
The magic is in being happy with yourself because you ARE enough. And when you are alone, your creativity, productivity, peace of mind and self-love are increased. Your ability to answer the tough questions and rely on yourself to show up as your best self is the icing on the cake.
According to Forbes’ 7 Science-Backed Reasons You Should Spend More Time Alone “creating that quiet time for yourself could be key to becoming the best version of yourself.” Recognizing that there are various stages, illnesses and psychological reasons of loneliness – it is recommended to just start small to begin building alone time into your daily routine.
Build Alone Time into Your Daily Routine:
Can you carve out 2 minutes a day to just find a quiet space to slow down, and maybe count your breaths? Then move to 3-5 minutes? Another option could be journaling your thoughts. Don’t overthink – just write the emotions you are feeling, in a quiet space – for up to 10 minutes. In what ways would that change things for you? What would you reveal? Forget the self judgement, because there is no one to criticize you when you’re cozying up by yourself.
Take a couple of these ideas, one step at a time, and I promise discomfort will reinvent itself to a little bit more excitement on your path to self-discovery. Happy tears, revelations, joy, laughter and AHA moments are a gift worth unpackaging every day. And now that we all seem to have a bit more time on our hands with our present global pandemic – when could you think of a better time? The universe already made that choice for us. Are you in?
We look forward to sharing more concepts around the benefits of solitude for your sanity and your soul… In the meantime, check out my Gratitude in Solitude posts on my Instagram or on Life Inspired by Nature’s Instagram.
Remember, WE’RE In This Together!
Lots of love from all of us at Life Inspired by Nature