According to The Atlantic, Matthew Bowker (psychoanalytic political theorist who has researched solitude) has deemed the relationship that one has with themselves to be “the most important relationship anybody has.” Bowker claimed that in this “hyper-connected society” solitude is inherently “devalued”.
Being alone is often associated with loneliness. However, this is not always the case. Being alone can provide many benefits for our health. Unfortunately, being alone (particularly in public) holds a stigma: “You’re going there alone? I’m sorry to hear that!” I consider myself to be an introvert and personally, I relish in solitude. Constantly hearing these piteous sighs whenever I list the things I did over the weekend is slowly draining me; being alone is not so bad. We should reflect on the positives of being alone as well as the positives of socializing. After all, one can be alone and be happy. Being alone does not always equate to loneliness. Some people just like to be alone and that is okay. They are not “loners” nor are they “weird” – they just enjoy their own company. The more that we open our minds to this notion the closer we may get to understanding all of the complex people we meet in our lives. It can be said that it is perhaps very important that we as beings recognize the importance of being in touch and connected with ourselves just as much as we understand the great advantages of getting to know others.
However, what must be outlined before exploring the later benefits of being alone is that these benefits can only work if you want to be alone. Being alone is not good for everyone. Some may seek solitude out of suffering, this is perhaps unhealthy. Nevertheless, this article is merely just to stress the stigma that is often attached to the act of being alone and to reach out to those who fail to understand why some people may enjoy solitude.
Below are the reasons why it can be good for you to spend time alone:
1. You can find your own voice and understand yourself:
According to psychologist, Sherrie Bourg Carter for Psychology Today , if you spend time quality time alone every once in a while or often, you may feel more in touch with yourself. This has been said by Carter to be due to the fact that if we are always spending time in our social groups we are often influenced in ways we perhaps we may not like to have been in the long term. Being alone in between socializing can help us establish a sense of self and self awareness to ensure we develop our own voice and opinions instead of being influenced. Although this may not be the case for everybody, as of course not everybody is easily influenced – spending quality time alone can minimize the risk of this if you feel that you may be susceptible to this. After all, according to the Atlantic , Bowker outlined that “we’re drawn to…groups that help us define [ourselves]” in a sort of “groupish society”.
2. The quality of your relationships can improve:
Carter for Psychology Today explained how if you spend time alone every once in a while you will be able to know who you want to invest your time in. This is due to the fact that as you spend more time alone, you may begin to grasp a greater understanding of who you are, what your principles are and what you desire in life. For example, according to The Atlantic , Jack Fong (a sociologist who has studied solitude) claimed that when people “take…moments to explore their solitude, not only will they be forced to confront who they are, they might learn a little bit about how to out-maneuver some of the toxicity that surrounds them in a social setting.” It can also be said that being alone can actually help us enjoy our relationships more as we can appreciate those around us to a greater extent.
3. Seeking solitude can help in times of hardship and may help you problem solve:
According to The Atlantic, Fong claims that being alone can “literally” lift you “out of your problems”. Fong meditates 15 minutes per day and takes monthly solo camping trips, he believes this to be as “essential as exercise or healthy eating”. It can perhaps be said that solitude can help you problem solve as you may be more in touch with who you are and what you want in life, thus, problems can be solved effectively.
In essence, of course being alone is not for everybody. Though it must be admitted that there is a stigma against the solitude loving folk in our society. Of course socializing is important in our lives, but being alone is evidently just as needed in order for us to grow.