A lot of people fear being alone. Introverts, on the other hand love it … except when we don’t. The truth is that there is an art to being alone, and sometimes even introverts miss the mark.
You can’t blame us. There are so many ways that society makes it hard for introverts to enjoy our alone time.
One of the most obvious ways they do this is by lumping loneliness and aloneness together, as if you can’t have one without the other. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Alone or lonely?
“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
Alone and lonely are not the same thing, or at least, they don’t need to be. For introverts, solitude can be a sweet sanctuary, offering nourishment for our mind and soul. But too much time alone can sour the sweetness of solitude.
Loneliness is the bitter aftertaste of expired solitude. Click to tweet
Avoiding the sting of loneliness is a matter of knowing the shelf life of your particular brand of solitude. For some introverts, an entire day alone is too much, for others it is not enough.
Extending solitude’s shelf life
Sometimes, you can extend the vitality of your solitude by adding the right ingredients — an animal friend, a walk in the forrest, a thick and delicious book.
You can have your slice of solitude and enjoy it, too. And when it’s time to come up for air, you can return rejuvenated to the people you care about.
Trade guilt for passion
Often, we are so busy feeling guilty and self-conscious about our aloneness that we can’t enjoy it. I’ve noticed that when I start comparing myself to my more extroverted friends, my once lovely alone time gets swallowed up by guilt.
I start to feel lonely, but it is not because I am alone. It is because I am not allowing myself to enjoy my solitude.
On the other hand, when I sink into my solitude, and immerse myself in a creative project, I barely notice that I’m alone.
The next time your solitude starts turning sour, push your guilt aside and focus on a creative project or passion.
Quiet the Should Voice
An introvert’s alone time is easily sabotaged by what I call the “Should Voice”. This is the voice that reminds us of all the productive things we should be doing instead of enjoying our solitude.
Perhaps, the Should Voice tells you that you should be out with friends, or running errands. I know how frustrating it is to feel like you have to be productive every second of the day. But what if being productive isn’t what you think it is?
Sometimes, as introverts the most productive thing we can do is relax, switch off, and turn inward. Remember, introverts literally gain energy by being alone. We need to do nothing for a while so that our brain stays sharp and we feel our best.
Grow in Solitude
One of the greatest gifts of introversion is the ability to discover the many treasures hidden within solitude. Our alone time helps us to reconnect with our intuition, become more self-aware, integrate our experiences, and gain wisdom.
Enrich your alone time by embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Read a self-help book, journal, meditate, or watch a documentary. It will feel good to know you’re expanding your mind, and growing your soul in solitude.
That said, solitude doesn’t have to be all buttoned-up and serious …
Alone can be fun
Being alone can be fun. After all, didn’t you always love snow days growing up? It was such bliss to stay home in your pyjamas playing, watching cartoons, reading, drawing, or doing whatever else you fancied.
You don’t need a snow day — or a permission slip of any kind, for that matter — to enjoy your alone time. Have a pyjama day at home and do whatever your innie heart desires..
Alone is a form of self-love
There is one more reason we introverts don’t allow ourselves to enjoy solitude. Deep down we know that doing so is an act of self-love. Unfortunately, many introverts are more prone to self-punishment than self-love.
That’s why I created my Unshakeable Self-Love for Introverts workshop. It’s the best way to put an end to self-critical thoughts and boost your self-love levels to new heights.
What about you?
Can you relate to what I shared in this article? How do you like to spend your sweet solitude? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂