How to Be Alone And Yet Feel Whole
Preparation of uninterrupted good time in solitude reduces the external dependability and is a secret road to self-completion.
The atmosphere carried moments of emotional overload. As the German writer, Goethe, neared the end of his life, his overwhelming feelings tied to restlessness at that critical hour made him distressed.
Although Goethe may have happened to have several friends in his lifetime, he felt alone at that unwelcoming time of human existential reality. Upon sinking in the un-welcoming truth, he broke out bitterly.
During that darker hour, he expressed, “No one has ever properly understood me, I have never fully understood anyone, and no one understands anyone else.” While death remains a universal reality but to feel alone despite having the company of many is despairingly soul-crushing.
That moment of helpful outburst from one of the distinguished personalities of German literature depicts a crisis that most of us suffer from. And that aspect is conjoined to our behavioral tendency: alienation and inclination to being alone and lonely. While being alone is an excellent opportunity for us to go inward, self-introspect, and meet our higher selves. Generally, the common notion is to stigmatize the “being alone” condition and find faults in its existence.
A large section of people harbors a rigid thought where they idolize a belief that being alone or a degree of distance from the multitude is a red flag. For them, being distant indicates that something in their life has gone wrong. Following which most people retreat from sitting in the realm of — alone time or solitude.
Truthfully, we think that being alone is kissing the feet of loneliness that give loneliness an easy entry into our lives.
Loneliness infuses within us the sets of incomprehensible beliefs that, in true effects, block the lanes of our growth. Homed under the laps of loneliness, we miss out on the core aspect: being alone is diametrically opposite to what we commonly perceive (loneliness).
The French philosopher Sartre rightly remarked, “If you are lonely when you are alone, you’re in bad company.”
As per the narrative, we need to make sense of the fact that being alone doesn’t imply we have to feel lonely.
While “being alone” and being lonely share some synchronicities and at a few critical junctions may also appear to overlap over each other, scientifically, these subjects of life sciences give space to different cultures of human growth. Or, as the case may be (being lonely), to inhibit human progress.
For some people, being alone or aptly as this term hint as “living in solitude” naturally comes easy. For many other groups, life in “solo mode” seems a bit challenging. Irrespective of how we feel about being alone, once we accept that living in a solitary shell cannot be potentially dangerous. Instead, one can look at it through a rewarding lens.
To, Charles Bukowski the darkness of the room and the uninterrupted hours of time in solitude were like sunlight to him that made him thrive in eternity.
From this place of uncountable faith, we can also initiate a friendship with ourselves that possibly can turn out as our worthy investment in life.
Preparation of an alone (solitude) hour
Lately, it’s been challenging to carve out the space we need for ourselves.
All of us might be pulled in an endless direction rooting in a desire to live our imagined future and accessing the key to our potentially happier lives.
Besides this, the ever-screaming noisy world and its human inhabitants have diverged the growth vision that an individual has set for themselves.
Society, in the globalization decade, is attention-driven. Everyone else in our periphery demands much of absorbed presence, attention, and affection that meeting those sets of demand comes at an individual’s self-sacrificing cost.
In keeping up with the expectations of our social circles, we, at the end of the day, remain left with meager time or even no time for ourselves. Sadly, zero “alone time” weakens our energy to recalibrate our attention upon things that went wrong and correct a messier aspect that got underlooked. As such, to make a harmonic come back to our inner world becomes a difficult road to tread in the absence of solitude.
Reserve alone time, even it is for some moments. When we do so, the benefits may attentively flow.
Although, a basic assumption regards to being alone is no individual in their mindful frame ever wants to be alone unless their inner souls got torn apart. Or got encapsulated in the disturbing time that leaves the person frustrated.
Although being alone may be difficult to contemplate for us but, basking in this opportunity can help us grow in the long run.
In the solitude hours, when I hold an interaction with my undiscovered self, it airs within me a sense of openness, comfortability, vulnerability, and instill a kind of peace-giving security.
While a particular segment of people feels lonely in groups, a few others like me, feel connected alone. Much of it is due to the innate contentment that solitude carries. Yet, in harsher truth, there is a higher probability that someone who spends “alone time” can be belittled as anti-social, unfriendly, fraudulent, or even mad, whose life is a penchant for sufferings and who holds a desperate need to explore themselves.
You see, that’s not a penultimate truth. It is occasionally said that each of us is ultimately alone. We come alone and have to depart solely. This generalized perception is compelling not because it institutes the idea of birth and death but moreover, our time spent alone feels more true, authentic, and real. In fact, solitude torches in the ability to form us, unify our broken pieces, and complete us. It enhances our personal intimacy.
By heightening the conversations we have with ourselves, solitude adds the re-uniting spark in life. The seclusion of alone time is being alone and not being lonely or detached socially.
Add solitude hours to your calendar. Use them as a stepping stone to paint the canvas of your lifestyle colorfully.
Some of the short-term points I keep in mind to get started:
- Become self-hospitable: Time in solitude engages us in our company through self-hospitality. Here, we take care of our shadowed aspects and relax in the comfortable sphere of eternity. Just like how we imbibe in the hospitable law toward others, we must be caring and affectionate to our deeper selves too. In the days of solitude, celebrate yourself.
- Pay attention to solitude: Practice of meditative exercises frames our thoughts constructively. It makes us observant and expands our inner consciousness. It helps us go to lengths and find the hidden fabric of emotions that most people conceal and feel shameful about being irremediably alone. More than anything, sit with yourself to understand you.
- Be alone and not a loner: Almost everything in the universal world is is connected. While solitude makes you distant from social groups, you still inevitably remain in proximity to wonderful nature, the chirruping of birds, and listen to the whispers of tiny little crawling creatures. To think of alone-time as a bitter aspect drenched in loneliness isn’t healthy. Try being alone, get a membership with those tiny creatures, share a joyful camaraderie in your being but be mindful of not being a loner in alone time.
A meaningful alone time in a rapid-fire world is an enlightened state where nothing feels missing or disconnected.
Here, everything is present that makes human life highly fulfilling, enjoyable, and self-medicating. Alone time raises us above the sensations of the physical world and, in all-purpose, connects us with the higher vibrations.
“Our language has widely sensed the two sides of being alone,” says Paul Tillich.
According to his ideals, language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and it created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.
Acknowledge being alone, not lonely
Many thoughts living in the recesses of the human mind are beyond societal understandings.
The ideas of each individual travel in a seamless manner. They go through the routes of being extraordinary, unique, subtle, or contrary to what the majority perceive in society. Despite people living in our proximity may exchange energy of understanding through these ideas or, in the other case, even be sensitive to our sufferings and pain, but in the parallel zone, there also lives a hitting truth; not many people will actually understand who we are.
“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before and people continue to disappoint them.” remarked Jodi Picoult.
The narrative by Picoult is personally and deeply relatable. Getting the taste of meaningful solitude requires us to know what a loneliness pang is or how unlikely it is on earth to find someone exactly sharing the same soul as we do. Or, exactly be on the same page as us. Worse case, despite goodness that we may carry, the many elements of society are unacceptably judgmental, making it alarming for us to reveal our truths or discuss our inner fears safely.
People might disappoint you.
Many didn’t understand the thoughts I conversed, whether that be about the calmness of solitary mornings or even the twinkling stars speaking.
I remember my circles making a laugh about these topics and advising me to get out of the imaginary bubble of life. Having never felt the urgency to alone themselves, these social groups looked upon my need for solitude as an excuse to get rid of them, and over that made me feel guilty about it. Perhaps, I don’t blame people for this attitude; neither should any of us simply because these false communities or blind society will majorly fail to know who we really are.
Since everyone is born in a different time-space; thus, each individual is the product of varied experiences that equivalently shapes their subsequent personalities.
Being around people can be a lot more fun, but it also gravitates us to pick up the attributes that our groups follow; twinning to similar music, sharing similar opinions, or reading the same subjects. As a consequence, everything of you is very much the same as theirs.
On one side, to be part of a group that reflects cognitive congruence with us and is not dissonant makes us feel pleasant. Still, on the downside, this herd mentality can also be detrimental to achieving our aspirations and goals. In fact, enduring solitude is invariably better than the sufferings inflicted by a false community.
We must acknowledge spending time alone, far away from the common herd.
And immerse personal selves into the self retrospection realm that helps us to discover our true inner landscape, treasure trove over the secret beauty it holds, the radiance of which blesses us to develop new perspectives and help to invent ourselves creatively.
Solitude here is a vessel that restores our energy. Thus, this stillness of the alone experiences is the tax we pay to understand the complex modules of our mind at an in-depth level.
The philosopher Goethe’s reflection on life depicts that today, more than ever, we need our alone time.
Once we spend time alone, creativity bows to us. We can write poetry, send signs to the universe, compose songs, explore our conscience, become curious about the unknown, hope for freedom, and think of other activities that stem when we get separated by time and space.
Having said that, we remain not alone in this journey of alone time. When we understand this language of solitude, we enter into the vast territory of past iconic figures like great Pablo Picasso (painter), Franz Kafka (philosopher), Blaise Pascal (physicist), and other legends who soaked themselves in the abyss of solitude and meaningfully explored their creative pursuits.
Personally, descending into the great company of solitude made my mind gain strength. With seasoning times, I have learned to trust and lean upon myself, regardless of the dissipating patterns exhibited by the society.
In the words of Jiddu Krishnamurti, “We carry about us the burden of what thousands of people have said, and memories of all our misfortunes. To abandon all that is to be alone, and the mind that is alone is not only innocent but young — not in time or age, but young, innocent, alive at whatever age — and only such a mind can see that which is truth and that which is not measurable by words.”