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I lay in my bed restless and uneasy. Fall was in full swing with cold dry winds and leaves falling and wilting. By now I was accustomed to feeling blue. I felt lost and I had completely shut myself tight. My friends saw how my health was going downhill. They would ask me what was wrong? and every time I would respond with the same answer; nothing.
I got so habitual to the feeling of being lost that I finally isolated myself from everyone. I wouldn’t meet my friends, I wouldn’t talk to my family and spent most of my days locked inside my room. Coming out occasionally only when there was a knock my door or when I needed water. My mental condition was getting worse day by day. I wasn’t taking care of myself like I should have. I call this period of my life ‘The state of misery’. Loneliness surrounded me. This is when I discovered something new.
You see loneliness comes in two forms. One is where you’re alone; when you don’t have anybody around you to share your sorrows and all that bothers your mind. The other one is the kind of loneliness you feel when you feel alone in the company of others. When you know you have people around you but they don’t understand what you’re going through. I had the latter kind and that kind of loneliness eats you inside out.
I wasn’t just lonely. I was alone and there’s a difference between the two. I was alone in my misery, I was alone in my agony and the most devastating thing of all was that I was alone with my thoughts. Thoughts of despair and gloom. If I ever spoke to anyone I was only complaining about how bad my life has become and how everything and everyone seemed so pointless to me. I would just lock myself up in my room and if anybody ever came visiting I would just complain about how lonely I felt. This was the time in my life that I badly needed solitude. I needed to reconnect with myself so I could figure out what I truly wanted in life and determine what really mattered.
In the words of philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich ‘Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone’. Is solitude all that it claims to be? Does solitude really express the glory of being alone? (If there is something like that).
My experience with solitude has led me to believe in its power. I found comfort(and still do) in solitude. A comfort that was unknown to me. The benefits and advantages of solitude can vary from person to person because solitude comes with a variety of emotions.
Here are some of the benefits of solitude that I found:
This is perhaps the most useful and important benefit of solitude. When I embraced the power of solitude I had lesser things to worry about. Sure, I had my responsibilities and duties but none of those were welcomed in my alone time. I found mental clarity in my alone time.
When I had the time to myself I didn’t need to focus on anything else, this empowered me to think clearly and to filter and organize my priorities according to their level of urgency. I didn’t feel lost anymore. My thinking pattern and thought process wasn’t foggy anymore. I was clear about what I wanted and what I didn’t want.
When I started spending more and more time alone my creativity blossomed. The time that I had was mine and that meant ‘I’ was the prime focus. This time away from people and outside world allowed me to explore my creative boundaries. I was seeing the results in days. Being an art enthusiast I was now experimenting with new mediums.
My creativity wasn’t just limited to pencil and paper(which I have always used), I was now experimenting with paints, colors and different mediums to express what I really felt. Some of my best artworks are a result of my alone time.
The more time I spent alone, the freer I felt. Solitude came with a certain sense of freedom. The freedom to do what I wanted. The freedom from judgment. The freedom to simply be who I wanted to be. I now had created a judgment-free zone. A place where I didn’t have to think twice before doing something. I could do whatever I wanted without the fear of being criticised or judged.
Being comfortable in my own skin:
I became completely aware of my own skills and capabilities and even when I was in a difficult or stressful situation I always knew what I had to do. I became confident in whatever I did and enjoyed having a relaxed approach towards life in general. It didn’t matter what others thought about me, I no longer needed validation from others to know right from wrong. If I felt something was right I acted upon it and it was the same vice versa. The opinions of others about me started becoming more and more insignificant while my own opinions gained importance.
This was the hardest but the most valuable gifts of solitude. When I spent my time alone I could reflect on all the things I had more clearly. This meant to be content with what I had and not to envy for what I didn’t own. I learned that every time we complain about something we take for granted all that we already have. Once I started seeing the simple pleasures of life I realized how much I had to be thankful for and how ungrateful I had been. The more I expressed gratitude the happier I became.
My time alone helped me to establish better relations with the people around me. Let it be my family, my friends or people from my workplace, I now had strong interpersonal relations with everyone that had a part in my life. I was quick to express gratitude where it was needed. I was now taking care of the people that mattered to me more than ever because I was now taking care of my own needs.
Because I was focusing so much on myself. I spent a good amount of energy and time to become self-reliable. I was shocked by the amount of work I could do myself without anybody’s help. By challenging my own boundaries and pushing my limits I could now easily do things alone that I thought needed more people’s involvement.
Not only was this gift rewarding but much needed. Once I became comfortable being alone I was at peace. I was at peace because I knew that I had achieved something that could not be taken away from me. I was now accustomed to being alone and enjoyed the benefits it provided.
My journey towards embracing the power of solitude has been a victorious endeavor. It not only helped me overcome the challenges I faced daily but has also given me a new perspective. I still take my time off and disconnect with the outer world to connect with myself from time to time.
If you feel lost or feel that you’re constantly caught up in problems that don’t seem to resolve no matter what you do then maybe it’s time to take a break from the outside world and look deep inside yourself to explore your own potential. You might or might not become a god in the process but you’ll definitely be a more content, peaceful and grateful human.