The idea of being alone can bring up mixed responses. Some people actually look forward to it, whereas for others, the thought of having to spend time on their own can bring up emotional reactions or fears.
Alone time can occur a couple of ways. Firstly, it can be planned, which can include:
- Scheduling time regularly for review and reflection.
- Going for a walk on our own.
- Taking a trip and getting away from our day-to-day activities.
- Experiencing something new on our own such as going to an event, taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill.
Secondly, it can be unplanned, which can include:
- Losing a partner or loved one we have come to rely and depend on.
- Losing a job, which can affect our identity and confidence.
- Feeling like we have so much to do and we have to do it all ourselves.
Whichever way we look at it, being alone can have both positive and negative consequences, however, there is a lot we can gain if we build in alone time into our daily, weekly or monthly schedule.
For most of my twenties and early thirties, I lived on my own so alone time was something I was familiar with and also extremely comfortable with. However at that stage in my life, I didn’t have the clarity as to what I really wanted to do in life because I thought having a good job would give me security, which would lead to a happy life. As a result, I did not take advantage of the quiet and alone time I had.
As I became more aware of my mission and what was important to me in life, having regular, quiet time became more and more important. It is now such an important part of my life that I spend at least two hours every day on my own. This includes spending time meditating, praying, being appreciative and expressing gratitude, visualising my ideal day and ideal future, reviewing my day via a journalling process and planning my next day.
I have even scheduled time every quarter where I get away and focus on the bigger, more important things in life. From personal experience, I can certainly support the idea of having time to ourselves. Here are five things that will happen when we embrace the idea that being on our own can be valuable, and when we actually start doing it consistently.
- You will have better clarity of thought. Have you ever had the experience where during the course of an extremely busy day, you took a short break and came back with a clearer sense of what to do and how to do it? That is an example of what can happen if we give our brain a break because that will allow it to come up with better ideas and solutions to what we are currently giving attention to. Inspired ideas often come through during times when we are more relaxed and rejuvenated.
- You will become more aware of your needs or what is important to you. It has been said that spirit expresses itself through contemplation. Whenever we are in a reflective state, that’s when we tend to think about some of the more important things in life rather than the mundane, day-to-day things. Unless we can clarify our needs, it will be hard for us to express our needs to others, which in turn, can lead to frustration, overwhelm and stress.
- You will be less reliant on others to “make” you feel happy. No one can make us feel good or bad — it is how we interpret events or experiences and the labels we give them that determine whether we feel good or bad. If we can accept that we are in total control of how we feel, then we won’t have to rely on being with others all the time to experience the feelings we want. This doesn’t mean we should not let others have meaningful experiences with us — what it means is that we should not be dependant on others to determine how we feel.
- You will get to know yourself on a much deeper level. We can often get useful insights into our way of being, how we think, what some of our triggers are and how we respond to things when we’re alone. These are valuable things to know about ourselves because that is how we will reach a higher level of maturity and wisdom in life.
- You will enhance your ability to make decisions that are true for you. When we place ourselves in a space that is quiet or reflective, we are more open to listen to our inner voice, which can also be called intuition, gut feeling, inkling or just a knowing. When we make decisions from that place, those decisions are more likely to speed up our success, improve the quality of our relationships and lead to more happiness and fulfilment.
The importance of having alone time cannot be underestimated. If we get into the habit of spending time by ourselves, we will see new and improved results. If we are not willing to spend time on our own, chances are we will not have clarity of thought, which often is the starting point of all the challenges we experience in life.
Question: What could be another benefit of spending time on your own?
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