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Solitude : The state or situation of being alone”

When was the last time you were alone? Not deserted or lonely, but  alone with yourself. When was the last time you took time off from the world tojust be by yourself?

One narrative I’ve always found fascinating is the one that paints solitude to mean the same thing as loneliness, dejection, all other shades of negative. Solitude, as a matter of fact, is not the same thing as being lonely. It means being alone. And while at first, solitude might not be something people would willingly want to try out, I think it is something we must do, at least from time to time.

Why is solitude so important? Oh the answer to that is pretty simple. It is the reason a lot of people dislike solitude, and is the exact reason it’s so important – solitude directs attention inwards. When you constantly have to move around at work or at home, when you’re constantly shuffling between meetings and deadlines, social media and events, it is almost impossible to spend time with oneself. And while all these things provide some form of escape from the things we would rather not think about, , it is essential that one must look inwards.

Solitude forces you to spend time with yourself. Once again, this might seem daunting, but spending time with yourself is absolutely necessary for growth. In spending time with yourself, you can pick out things that need to be fixed, face fears that need to be faced. Spending time with yourself helps you appreciate yourself. In spending time alone, you can celebrate your victories, and lick your wounds without an audience. It teaches you to pick yourself up, and helps you understand that at the end of the day, you have to be there for yourself.

Another great thing that solitude teaches you is how to pay attention to details. When you’re by yourself – admittedly, this is sometimes a side effect of trying to escape self scrutiny – you begin to notice things around you that are so easy to overlook during the hustle and bustle of life; the smell of rain, of freshly cut grass, sunrises and sunsets, the way the sky and sea come together in a beautiful blue line. If you’re one for taking yourself out on dates, being out alone teaches you to take note of other people, more than the regular passive observation; it teaches you to actually notice people around you.

Solitude is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself; time away from social media, people, work – time to just be by yourself. And the beautiful thing about solitude is that it can be incorporated into everyday. One hour of solitude per day helps you keep in touch with yourself, and helps self actualization, self esteem and creativity!

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