What do you think of when you hear the word solitude? How does your response differ when you hear the word loneliness?
Both connote being alone, but the feelings associated with being alone should not be stressful or dismal, but rather, rejuvenation for the self. Is this woman in the picture about to jump, or is she living and loving this moment? Maybe she is missing a loved one and she feels lonely, but not in despair…
It is normal to grieve the loss of someone important and beloved in our life that has disappeared for a time. This shows that you genuinely cared for someone and became vulnerable. If they are not coming back, your entire being needs to heal, and that takes time (we’ll talk about this in a future post). If they are coming back, then what an opportunity! But, if you are simply alone and wishing you weren’t, this is unhealthy. And there is a better place to dwell.
No one can make you lonely. In fact, if you feel what you term as lonely, often, then this is a signal for you. Your spirit needs some attention and you’ve let it get out of balance. It is healthy and uplifting to be around others, but remember the first domain of spiritual well-being… We must learn to love ourselves and have a strong conviction about our mission, our unique strengths and talents, and our individuality. This is a foundation and something that centers our personal peace. Building this identity and sense of self is critical to our enjoying moments of solitude. When we are connected to ourselves and our spirit, we need and welcome solitude with a smile and a sigh of relief.
Oftentimes people try to escape themselves by spending every spare minute around others or staying busy, so they will rarely encounter moments of great solitude. Think of yourself standing as this woman on that island. How long could you stand it? Why would it be uncomfortable for you? Simply thinking about these questions is healthy; to know one’s self. We are not offered opportunities to explore our bodies, minds, and spirits enough.
When we do have moments of solitude, we should enjoy them. If you spend less than 60 minutes in solitude each day, then you may need to find more “you” time. If you don’t particularly enjoy “you” time, then you haven’t found yourself yet and you should spend some time being uncomfortable on this metaphorical island. On the contrary, if you are spending your entire day in solitude, this is also unhealthy.
Think about this in terms of balance. On a continuum, one side being solitude and the other being lonely, where would you say you fall?