How many times have you made plans on the weekend to go out with people you hate, to do stuff you don’t want to do? — All because you didn’t want to be alone. The fear of being alone petrifies people.
For some people it is more serious and can be defined as a disorder:
Intimacy with yourself is so important. How do you deal with SILENCE?
Circumstances can sometimes make dealing with SILENCE excruciatingly painful. We all know this from times when we have filled our FREE Time with pointless noise.
Grabbing the TV remote, turning on the radio, surfing the Internet or social media for some type of interaction — Some people will go to the bar alone rather than sit at home, in order to, take some time to BREATHE or THINK.
Some people NEVER take the time to just sit and THINK
How we deal with SILENCE is a measure of maturity.
It demonstrates the strength of a relationship between two people where there is no void to fill. No need to talk, for there is no fear of abandonment or criticism and no longing for more — they simply ‘are’, for silence is intimately related to trust.
Are you constantly wondering what someone else is doing when they are not in your presence, not picking up the phone, or returning your text message immediately?
Now, don’t think I am saying having social interaction is not important, it is. But, how we use corporate time with others is also crucial to our individual growth. Do you crave company and hence misuse it when you find it?
Solitude teaches us how to have the capacity to be an independent thinker in a crowd.
Lonely & Alone
Two terms often interchangeably misused when describing solitude.
LONELINESS is a negative state of mind and sign of immaturity. — WHY? Because being alone should be a positive state of mind, the ability to appreciate silence is a mark of true maturity.
BUT, It is possible to feel “alone” on a crowded, busy street while being content with who you are and what you are doing.
A crowd is merely a collection of people in one place — it says nothing about their purpose or inter-relationships.
A community can be very small and speaks of people united around a reason for being or a joint aim — even if that aim is only to care for each other.
Risks of Solitude
Spending time alone is never easy and if people are not ready then the consequences can be severe.
Mental Disorders — Excessive use of solitude in some individuals may actually be a precipitant to depression. Our bodies are like sieves in that the happiness we contain slowly leaks away unless we do something to make more (and social interaction is a great way to generate more)
Relationship failures — Friends may tell us to ‘snap out of it’, but it is because they do not understand the purpose or the experience. They are probably “caught up in their mindless activities.”
Loss of Interest in the things once enjoyed — Things that once satisfied us seem childish and do not stimulate our senses quite the same as they use to. Nothing reaches deep enough, everything seems superficial.
The FIRST GOAL of solitude is to be comfortable with yourself.
Benefits of Solitude
Mindfulness: A major benefit of pursuing solitude is that it enables us to rise above loneliness and busyness in ways that are not just escapism or avoidance. A state of Mindfulness means not just going through the motions.
Creativity: Time alone brings creativity. Expression of all those thoughts, you are finally able to gather in one place.
Healing: In many religions solitude brings healing for the believer. Time alone spent in prayer and self-development can bring peace and guidance to a troubled soul. In scripture and in other traditions, people have always sought out high places to remove the distractions of society. However, the greatest benefits come from prayer and within prayer the greatest benefits come from just listening to God (or whomever you believe in).
How do we develop the ability to be alone with ourselves?
Barriers to solitude:
There are two barriers to Solitude: conscious and unconscious.
When we are in the presence of others we are not alone without the warmth of “someone” else. They have the capacity to ‘hold’ our anxieties at bay.
But, as we begin a journey into solitude we must leave childish ways behind us. We are forced to deal with all of our insecurities and fears. This will have an impact on our mood almost like a “depression” of sorts.
There will be unpleasant stages that some will never chose to push beyond.
TIP: Keeping a journal of your thoughts will enable you to see them in black and white. This will allow you to “Name” them for what they are.
Listen & Stop trying to fill the VOID
Because of the way our society works, the temptation to fill times of solitude with “tasks” is HUGE. Most people assume their time is wasted if there is no plan, task, or purpose to constantly be involved in.
Developing the ability to listen and not chatter, write, dream, read, or fill the space in some other way than with Silence is one of the hardest things in the world to do. But, the rewards are only limited to your imagination.