Solitude is life improving and can improve our quality of life, though at first, this belief sounds oxymoronic. I’ve been posting a lot of thoughts recently on my IG channel about solitude and the importance of solitude to growth. Solitude can come in many forms, from early morning workouts before the sun has risen and the rest of the world is still asleep to daily meditation practices in an area of our home devoid of all distractions, and even in extended voluntarily periods of holidays and vacations taken by ourselves. Solitude is necessary because they are the periods of our days and years absent of distractions that allows us to engage in an uninterrupted period of self-reflection and self-assessment about the balance, our lack thereof, that we have been maintaining among our levels of happiness, progress and purpose in life. If we feel a constant urge to always be around people and we hate spending time alone, this is a sign of the existence of a deeper emotional problem that we need to fix.
Many of us mistakenly equate solitude with loneliness, the very opposite of life enhancing. Solitude can produce loneliness but it will only produce deep feelings of loneliness if those deep feelings of loneliness already exist. In other words, we often try to cover up and mask feelings of loneliness and despair by constructing our waking hours around constant human interaction from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. And with the rise of social media, this interaction does not even need to take place in real life anymore but can take place in virtual worlds. Others among us may mask unwanted feelings of loneliness with daily drug and alcohol use that destroys our ability to reap the benefits of solitude even though we are regularly engaging in them. If we regularly engage in behavior that suppresses our emotions, then the first moment we are confronted with a sober period of solitude, that suppressed despair will rapidly bubble to the surface and may produce an intense, immediate sense of overwhelming despair. If this happens, we should not ignore it but we should give it the attention it deserves. If we don’t, we will never realize that solitude is life improving. Many of us entrap ourselves in a vicious cycle by trying to mask feelings of loneliness and despair the moment they arise either through the aforementioned practices of self-medication with drugs and alcohol or by constantly seeking the perpetual company of others. However, If we are perfectly content in life and we engage in periods of solitude, than solitude can reward us with immense feelings of joy. Depending upon our mental state, we can be in the company of a hundred people and still feel incredibly alone or we can take a solo trek through the Himalayas, never see another soul for several days, and be filled with incredible gratitude, wonder and joy.
Loneliness and despair are states of mind that cannot be fundamentally altered by the physical presence of others. Connection to others is undoubtedly important but so is deep connection to our inner selves. If you find yourself afraid of solitude, and find yourself trapped within the repetitive destructive cycle I’ve described and you don’t know to extract yourself from this cycle, start by volunteering your time and helping others. Ultimately, we are here to serve and help others and helping others that need help more than you is immensely beneficial not only in the process of re-grounding yourself, but also in the provision of the mental clarity you will need to find your way back to the proper path in your life journey. Come follow me on my YouTube channel malamalama for additional discussions similar to this one. By the way, maalamalama is a Hawaiian word that means clarity of perception and understanding, something I hope I helped you find today.
Republishing Rights: This article may not be reprinted in full on any other websites. Only the first paragraph of this article may be published with attribution to the author and a link back to the original article at maalamalama.com/wordpress. For reprinting rights in magazines, please contact media-at-maalamalama-dot-com.