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You’re on ‘Timeout’! Do we know how to be alone anymore?

Every life Guru will tell you that you should spend time by yourself. Sometimes the thought of spending time alone filled me with dread. Me and my thoughts need timeout from each other at the best of times. What if I get lonely? Who will I tell if I’ve made my best batch of brownies to date? Facebook? Facebook can’t enjoy brownies.

How many people are actually comfortable being alone? If you say you are, can you claim to really have been alone? Many of us spend most of our waking moments at work interacting with people. Then when you go home, the interaction doesn’t stop. It’s not long before you’re checking your emails or engaging in social media. Most of us live in a space of constant connectedness. Which begs the question- do a lot of us really know how to be alone?

Recently, I made a point of being reclusive for a while after a busy and challenging start to the year. I allowed myself to observe my own thoughts. My mind wandered into some pretty dark places, and though uncomfortable at times, I isolated areas of my life that need attention. I separated my understanding of loneliness and being alone.

Most of us are social beings that thrive on feeling we are part of a societal network. We need to reach out. It’s easy to mute thoughts and feelings with external distractions. We’re often surrounded by social norms, the latest fad, and opinions of others that it’s sometimes hard to isolate your own thoughts and beliefs. Our concept of ‘self’ becomes diluted. However, being mindful of your internal monologue can be quite insightful.

Take a long walk or take a drive. Spending quality time alone provides you with a great opportunity to listen to your inner wisdom and build trust in your own judgment. Taking a step away from the thoughts of others enhances self-reliance, which can be an empowering state of being. Of course, most of us are happiest when surrounded by those we love, but happiness elevated from yourself is the kind that will serve you well in the long term.

February 4, 2012   1 Comment