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Scheduling Solitude


Scheduling Solitude

Scott Lilleston

Our culture tends to view solitude as negative.

Solitude often carries a social stigma that implies isolation and loneliness. But solitude isn’t the same as isolation. The perceived sense of isolation seems to imply that being on one’s own is not a choice, but rather a character weakness when an individual disengages socially. Of course there are times when people experience social anxiety and feel withdrawn. But solitude is quite different. It’s an active choice to retreat inwards to restore from the activity of the world.

Unlike solitude, loneliness implies that you feel as if something is missing and you need it in order to feel secure and happy. States of loneliness can actually lead to panic attacks or depression, because there is often a void in a person’s life that can create an existential threat.

Loneliness is typically a triggering experience, such as a reminder of abandonment. Solitude, usually generates a sense of peace. Although learning to explore solitude may be scary for some in the beginning, it will most likely serve as a cornerstone for relaxation and development.

Solitude suggests peacefulness stemming from a state of inner richness. It is a means of enjoying the quiet and whatever it brings that is satisfying and from which we draw sustenance. It is something we cultivate. Solitude is refreshing; an opportunity to renew ourselves. In other words, it replenishes us.

Solitude is something you choose.

We all need periods of solitude, although temperamentally we probably differ in the amount we need. Some solitude is essential; It gives us time to explore and know ourselves. It is the necessary counterpoint to intimacy, what allows us to have a self worthy of sharing. Solitude gives us a chance to regain perspective. It renews us for the challenges of life. It allows us to get (back) into the position of driving our own lives, rather than having them run by schedules and demands from without.

Solitude restores body and mind.

Taking this type of down time allows us to drop our “social guards.” It is an opportunity to listen to our intuition, make better choices and take advantage of our inner guidance and wisdom. Solitude is an opportunity to see where we are swayed by external influences, such as belief systems, attitudes, and behaviors that make up our social sphere.

Learning how to be alone is essential in knowing what one wants in relationship. It is nearly impossible to have a healthy relationship when one is unable to be alone with him or herself.

The first relationship we must start with is the one we have with ourselves.

I propose that you give yourself the gift of your own time and energy. You are worth it.

In today's connected world, practicing solitude seems to be a lost art. Yet it is essential that we do not forget that solitude is necessary and healthy. The physical and psychological benefits to spending time alone serve as powerful evidence.