*UPDATED* Solitude: 9 Powerful Reasons to Spend Time With You!

Happy Client Enjoying Time in Solitude

In this super-connected world, it's never been more important to create solitude for ourselves. Being ALONE with ourselves is essential for us to find happiness and joy, because it's only when we're alone that many of us can be - and see - our true selves.

Other people will always need something from us - especially those we love - whether it's a smile, acknowledgement, to listen or to help with homework or dinner. It's only when we're alone that we can put down our social masks and be fully ourselves. And it's only when we're alone that we get the space to see what we really need, and can learn to deeply take care of ourselves.

Recently I have come to cherish solitude in a way I did not think was possible. We're not taught how to be solitary, and for many of us being ALONE equals being LONELY. So we go from our family homes to school to the workplace and on to having our own families - all without much positive experience of solitude.

It's therefore all too easy to think that solitude is painful and instead fill our lives with activities and keep ourselves busy.

But there is a big difference between loneliness and solitude. Loneliness is where we feel alone - disconnected from others, and often unwanted or deficient in some way. But, as you know, we can feel lonely even when we're in a crowd.

Solitude is a CHOICE - and it feels empowering. When we choose to be alone, instead of feeling disconnected from others we can focus instead on connecting with ourselves. Solitude has power in it - when we choose it.

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self. May Sarton

A Few COVID Thoughts:

It's a strange time where some people have more solitude than they need, while others desperately need solitude but are finding it hard with children or partners at home full-time.

A lot of people are feeling lonely right now:

  • Solitude is empowering when it's a choice, but what about when the solitude is enforced?
  • And we can feel lonely without access to our friends and wider social circle, even as we have people we love around us 24 hours a day.

There are no easy answers here. We must use the tools at our disposal like Zoom, Facetime or Google Hangouts. We can get outdoors and maintain social distancing. And we can get creative and consciously create social "bubbles" with those who matter most.

And importantly, even as we feel lonely, we can still create precious solitude by carving out time to take care of ourselves, learn to meet our changing needs and acknowledge and pay attention to our feelings (article from our sister site Fierce Kindness).

Check out our NEW Solitude Infographic, based on this blog post, here>>

Here are 9 Benefits of Solitude that I have personally experienced:

1) SELF-Knowledge

Solitude creates the space for us to observe what's going on with us, to find out what's important to us, what we dream of - and what we truly love. Creating solitude for yourself helps you find your voice, and discover who you truly are.

Solitude is at the heart of all self-knowledge, because it is when are alone that we learn to distinguish between the false and the true, the trivial and the important. Unknown

2) Become more CREATIVE

In solitude, your ideas and inspirations will bubble up once the swirl of your usually busy life calms and recedes around you. Build in time for meditation, creative visualisation, spend time in nature or journaling to maximise your creativity.

One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

3) Completely and utterly PLEASE YOURSELF

Let go of what others think and feel about what you're doing. Don't worry about whether anyone else will enjoy it, or whether it's silly or meaningless or boring or annoying. Do whatever YOU want. This is a joy that's impossible to experience when others are around us.

4) Get RE-ENERGISED

Let go of all the complications of life and others and fall into the beauty of the present moment - and yourself.

I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel. Audrey Hepburn

5) Gain CLARITY

Solitude gives you space and privacy to PROCESS life's problems and difficult emotions. We can review and release our emotions privately and that allows us to move on with our lives. We can do this with our loved ones and feel supported, but when we're alone we can face the WHOLE of something, we can sob our hearts out if we need to - and hold nothing back.

Solitude is not the absence of company, but the moment when our soul is free to speak to us and help us decide what to do with our life. Paulo Coelho

6) To SLAY your dragons and learn to LOVE yourself!

Solitude gives us the space we need to gather our strength, get to know - and slay - our dragons (also known as our gremlins or inner critic).

You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with. Wayne Dyer

7) Experience GRATITUDE

Thankfulness. To appreciate the small things. As we allow the dust to settle, we see those small things we all have to be grateful for. It's so much easier to appreciate life in all its glory when we get space and distance from the people around us - and our everyday life.

8) THE ANSWERS you need to life's problems and difficulties

Solitude gives us the space to notice what is and what is not working for us in life. Being alone is when the muddy water of our busy lives settles so that we get enough distance and clarity to see the truth of things.

In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion. Albert Camus

9) Self-CONFIDENCE

The simple act of being alone with ourselves is incredibly powerful. We're saying "I am worth it". We are literally honouring our 'selves' - the basis of self-esteem.

Wrap-up

We ALL have all the answers we need - inside of us, but we need solitude to discern the truth of the world, connect with our true selves and find our wisdom within.

To wrap-up I love this poetic statement from Rainer Maria Rilke (from letters he wrote in correspondence with a young poet):

Your solitude will be a hold and a home for you even amid very unfamiliar conditions and from there you will find all your ways.

If you liked this article about the benefits of solitude, you may also like:

Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools, resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

Image of Client enjoying the Benefits of Solitude by Krakenimages.com via Shutterstock

11 Comments

  1. Lalitha Brahma

    Love this article so much!

    I completely believe in making an appointment with myself every day.

    In fact it helps me stay centered, calm and in a state of gratitude.

    As you rightly pointed out, answers to my questions come up and I will say, my daily action plan is created by my Inner guide every day. When I listen to this guide and take action ( some times I by pass the "To do" list created logically) I accomplish more meaningful and important activities, easily, effortlessly and quickly.

    Once again thank you so much Emma-Louise!

    Reply
    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Lalitha! So glad you love this article. And really interesting to hear you make an appointment with yourself every day - I'm sure other coaches will find that very helpful to hear! Keep all your good work - and great to hear from you. Warmly, Emma-Louise

      Reply
  2. Shannon Pearce

    “The best thinking is done in solitude.
    The worst has been in turmoil.”

    —Thomas Edison

    Reply
  3. Pratish

    Thanks for the great article Emma-Louise - there are far too many people I've met that are not happy with their own company!

    Reply
    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Pratish, Thanks for that! And I think this has a lot to do with our unhappiness in the world... Warmly, Emma-Louise

      Reply
  4. Tom Eng

    Great article! Interestingly, in this super-connected world, many people seem to be super-disconnected from what really matters in life. To me, solitude allows you to re-connect with the self which allows you to truly connect with people. And that connection with people feeds the self. It's a natural cycle.

    Best Regards,
    Tom

    Reply
  5. Kenneth Carrim

    Good Day

    I trust all is in order, this article has become my on top of the list as my to do list is proportional to harnessing the power within, I Like the concepts and the programs are growing the coach in me

    Reply
    • mturcott

      Thank you, Kenneth! So glad you're enjoying our coaching infographics 🙂 Wishing you all the best! Warmly, Mary

      Reply

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