Every day I get up early in the morning. The reason I wake up early is that I like to have a little solitude at least one time during the day. Being by myself allows me to look inside myself. This self-examination allows me to determine if I’m on the right track for developing true authenticity in my life.
The Need for Solitude
While it’s true that humans are social creatures, we also need time to ourselves. This is because our brains crave some time to relax.
Interestingly, our society views solitude in a negative light. It’s considered pitiful to be alone on Saturday night. When kids misbehave, they are sent to their rooms alone as punishment. It’s practically blasphemy to go to a movie or a restaurant alone because of the perceived optics.
But choosing to spend time alone is nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, it’s wise to spend some time alone on a regular basis.
The benefits of solitude
1. You have fewer distractions.
Spending time alone allows you to focus on yourself or anything else that you wish to reflect on. As I explained, I use solitude for self-examination. You could use it to plan your day or map out projects.
Face it, while they are entertaining, when you’re trying to get thing done, people can be distracting. They make noise, distract you with their movement, make requests, and do lots of other things that take you away from what you want to focus on.
If you would like a break from distractions, a little solitude can go a long way.
2. You can be yourself.
When we’re around others, we change our behavior. Here’s some easy examples:
- You act differently around your mother than you do around your friends.
- You act differently in front of your boss than you do around your spouse.
- You act differently around your kids than you do around your fellow workers.
You can only truly be 100% yourself when you’re all by yourself. This time allows you to get to know yourself better.
3. You learn more about yourself.
Yes, time by yourself is a terrific way to learn more about you. When you’re alone you’re free to do whatever you like. This can give you deep insight into your who you are authentically and the things you like doing.
When your alone, you don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks. You don’t have to accommodate anyone else’s needs or desires. (Some parents would call this paradise 🙂
4. Solitude recharges your batteries.
Being alone can be incredibly peaceful and allows you to regain your physical and mental energy. If you’re an introvert, you already know that nothing feels better than getting some time to yourself.
Techniques for creating solitude:
1. Ponder your practical options.
If you’re like most people, you don’t have a cabin in the woods you can escape to at a moment’s notice. What are some of the options you have for being alone? Make a list.
Perhaps you could:
- Go to your neighborhood park to take a walk or stroll through your neighborhood at night.
- Turn part of the spare bedroom into your personal sanctuary.
- Sit on your deck alone after everyone else leaves work.
- Rent a hotel room for a night and stay by yourself.
- Take a long drive.
- Go hiking or camping in the woods.
- Eat lunch by yourself in your car.
Take a few minutes right now to make a list of all the ways you could get some time to yourself.
2. Schedule time for solitude.
Every day you probably have appointments, if only informal ones, with other people. If you want time to be alone, you need to put those blocks of time into your schedule. If you wait until you have free time, you’ll probably be waiting for a long time.
Authentic success means prioritizing the important things in your life. As you plan your week, make sure you have a plan for when you’re going to spend time alone.
3. Let the people that matter know about your plan.
If people that are important to you don’t understand what you’re doing, they could start making up reasons that don’t help your relationship. For example, your partner might get offended if you go for a walk alone rather than spending time with him or her.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure they know that you feel that time with them is important. Then explain why you want to spend some time by yourself and how it will make your time together better.
If you’re willing to share your why, there’s an excellent chance that your partner will be understanding.
4. Learn to say no
If you let them, people will rope you into lots of obligations that may not be in your best interest. Learn to say no when people ask for your time. Look at obligations you already have and start hacking away at any unnecessary commitments from your life.
By learning to say no to requests for your time, you are saying yes to making each day as meaningful as possible.
Make Your Solitude Plan Today!
Now you can probably see why I get up early in the morning. It’s because solitude provides benefits that aren’t easily found anywhere else. Taking time to be by yourself will boost your self-awareness, charge your mental batteries, and allow you to be yourself without reserve. Solitude also gives you time that’s free from distractions while giving you a greater opportunity to focus on what matters.
Make a commitment to create the time to give yourself the gift of regular solitude. You’ll be glad you did!