Powerful Ways Solitude Can Aid in Your Personal Growth

Being alone and feeling lonely are two different things.

Kimberly Fosu
Apr 14, 2020 · 6 min read
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Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

umans are social beings — the mere thought of being alone can be scary to most, but there is power in intentional solitude. Separating yourself from the pack can be very beneficial for your soul’s evolution. A solitary lifestyle sounds uncomfortable, but solitude is just as important as social connection.

Loneliness and solitude are two different things. Loneliness is the negative feeling that arises when you feel dissociated from others. It is a sense of feeling isolated from everyone else. Loneliness is a state of wishing for social interaction, whereas solitude is an intentional act of withdrawing from social interactions. Solitude is being alone without feeling lonely.

When a person is feeling lonely, they feel empty — like something is missing. There is often a hole they need to fill. A person can also feel lonely while surrounded by people, which is the hardest form of loneliness.

Intentional solitude is done by choice. It is in our solitude that we are more open to receiving epiphanies. Solitude promotes creativity. In Anthony Storr book — A return to self he said:

The creative person is constantly seeking to discover himself, to remodel his own identity, and to find meaning in the universe through what he creates. He finds this a valuable integrating process which, like meditation or prayer, has little to do with other people, but which has its own separate validity.

His most significant moments are those in which he attains some new insight, or makes some new discovery; and these moments are chiefly, if not invariably, those in which he is alone.

What am I saying? The fear of solitude is the fear of one’s self. When we are alone with ourselves, our darker thoughts rise to the surface. The darkness within us shows its face, and many people aren’t ready to deal with their shadows. So they reach out outside of themselves for support or use distractions like smartphones and social media platforms to cope. Solitude forces us to confront who we are. It forces us to go deep within ourselves for the answers we seek.

There are so many studies that show why a solitary lifestyle can help you become the best version of yourself. Here are a few reasons to spend some time alone, away from people and distractions.

1. Solitude enhances creativity and boosts productivity.

Nikola Tesla once said:

“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

This is the reason so many artists and authors go away to a secluded place to produce their best work. Studies show that people perform better when they are alone or have privacy.

2. Solitude helps in bettering the self.

Being alone with yourself helps you learn who you really are. By observing your body and mind, you can make better decisions. In silence, we find ourselves. We can listen to our thoughts and pay attention to the ideas that run through our minds. When you are alone, you can concentrate on doing the necessary inner work that can help you live a better life.

Intentional solitude helps you examine and observe your thoughts and habits to determine the areas that need improvement. Being alone allows you to focus on the self: self-awareness, self-discovery, self-help, self-understanding, self-love, self-care, self-exploration, self-transformation, and self-mastery. In solitude, we can renew ourselves and recharge our minds.

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Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash

3. Solitude allows us to think without outside influence.

When we find ourselves alone, we can think deeply. We can come up with effective solutions to our problems. Solitude helps you to dig deep into our thoughts, feelings, and desires. When you are alone with yourself, there are no outside forces to influence the way you think and the decisions you make.

As the great Thomas Edison once said, “The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst thinking has been done in turmoil”.

Solitude is great for reflection. After a busy day, it’s important to take a break to give your brain a chance to recharge. Getting things done is important, but spending time in thought is just as important. Being alone helps you notice more and more of your own thought patterns.

4. Solitude brings feelings of peace, calm, and clarity.

It is hard to find peace when you are surrounded by chaos. Financial responsibilities, deadlines and keeping up with our daily life often robs us of our peace. Solitude gives you the chance to close the door on outside distractions and put your focus inwards.

Life and other people can taint your view of reality. You’re free from the influence of others when you’re by yourself. Being alone is an opportunity to re-center yourself, go inward, and view life from a more personal perspective.

5. Solitude helps you become self-reliant.

When you’re alone, all you have is yourself. You learn to rely on yourself for your every need. There’s no one to help — so you learn to solve problems and challenges yourself. You also learn to make important decisions on your own.

You become your own best friend — and you soon realize that the most important relationship you can have is the one with yourself. Solitude can be tough if you’re used to relying on others for your needs, but it’s important that we learn to do things for ourselves by ourselves.

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude― Aldous Huxley

6. Solitude enhances your relationships with others.

When we spend time alone with ourselves, we gain a better understanding of our true nature. We learn who we are deep down and we understand why we do the things we do. Once you know who you are, you can appreciate your relationships with others and have better relationships.

7. Solitude enhances intuition.

When you are in solitude, with nothing but you and your thoughts, you’ll start to notice that your intuition is becoming stronger. Because of our busy lives, it is easy to ignore our gut feelings — the feeling that suggests something is wrong or something is off about a certain person. We ignore our intuition when we are surrounded by distractions. In solitude, you notice these intuitive gut feelings and learn to hear and trust them.

If you are not used to being alone and have always found yourself in a relationship or surrounded by friends, solitude can be difficult at first. But it is something that you can practice and learn to enjoy.

You can start small by taking time to get away from life and spending at least 10 minutes in silence and solitude. Research shows that regularly spending time alone is good for your mind, body, and soul.

If going away to the woods or a faraway place is not a luxury you can afford, consider waking up an hour early before everybody else wakes up to have a quiet time. At work, eat your lunch by yourself. You can also go for a walk by yourself. Make everything you do a meditative practice.

Albert Einstein once said, “I take time to go for long walks down the beach so I can listen to what is going on inside of my head.”

Now I want to hear from you. Do you enjoy being alone or the thought of being alone scares you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness and fulfillment.

Kimberly Fosu

Written by

Ghanaian-American | Spiritual Life Coach | Creative Writer | Pisces/Aquarius. I love writing about the mystical ✨ https://linktr.ee/Kimberly.fosu

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join thousands of others making the climb on Medium.

Kimberly Fosu

Written by

Ghanaian-American | Spiritual Life Coach | Creative Writer | Pisces/Aquarius. I love writing about the mystical ✨ https://linktr.ee/Kimberly.fosu

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join thousands of others making the climb on Medium.

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