Positive solitude: what are the benefits of having some alone time?
Published Sep 23, 2023 • By Candice Salomé
Many people tend to shun or dread solitude. But it's not always a synonym to isolation, and it can be hugely beneficial to our well-being.
So what does it mean to enjoy being alone? What are the benefits of solitude? How can we avoid confusing solitude with isolation?
We explain it all in our article!
What is solitude and why do we tend to be afraid of it?
According to Cambridge Dictionary, solitude means: “The situation of being alone without other people”.
We need to distinguish between solitude and isolation. Chosen solitude allows you to enjoy your own company. And this is beneficial on many levels. For example, it is necessary for good ideas to flow in: many creative people need moments of solitude - think of writers, painters in their studios or even scientists in their laboratories.
But solitude can be seen in a negative light and can therefore become frightening. It can even be considered as a form of punishment. During our childhood, for example, when we didn't behave, we were often sent to our room: solitary confinement was a real punishment.
What's more, society regards solitude as something strange, as inability to socialize. Hardened bachelors, lonely people and "old maids" are often viewed negatively by our society.
Fear of solitude also stems from the fact that we have not learned to be alone. When a child prefers to be alone, parents find it suspicious. For some, it is something they haven't chosen, for others, solitude can be very fulfilling. So when we are confronted with it, we tend to suffer from the feeling of loneliness, because we have never really learned to be on our own.
Yet solitude is full of benefits.
What are the benefits of solitude for our well-being?
Taking a moment to talk to yourself
Giving yourself a moment to be alone with yourself, a moment of solitude, is an opportunity to take time for yourself, to decompress, to relax, and to get to know your inner thoughts. Having an honest conversation with ourselves helps us understand our desires and listen to our fears and anxieties. We learn to know ourselves better, to better understand our emotions and reactions.
It can be beneficial to put our questions in writing. For example: "How do I feel?", "What do I want?", "Why did I react the way I did today?" If you're already comfortable with the idea of "chatting" to yourself, mentally asking yourself these questions may be more than enough.
Thanks to these moments of chosen solitude, we can return to our own tastes, desires and feelings, which are often influenced by those around us or by our upbringing, and therefore lost or forgotten. These moments allow us to drop the mask we sometimes wear in society and help us have a certain amount of introspection.
Enjoying your own company means enjoying the company of others
Enjoying one's own company is not always easy, and it can require some work. It is essential to look at this solitude with kindness.
The fear of being alone has an underlying issue: self-esteem. Some people don't like to be alone because of their lack of self-esteem. So you have to ask yourself the question: "Do I love myself?" If you don't like yourself and find it hard to enjoy your own company, it can be difficult to appreciate the company of others to the fullest.
By learning to enjoy these moments of solitude, you will find it easier to choose who you associate with. It means that you will not choose a person you want to be with just to fill your solitude. You will choose them because they really give you something in return and help you grow.
Solitude, a moment for creativity
Solitude allows for reflection and creativity. These moments of spiritual, artistic or intellectual pause are well-known tools that allow the mind to unfold. Your moments of solitude will help you develop your passions, whatever they may be.
Learning to be on your own
Being on your own can push you beyond your own limits. Who can you rely on when you have to fend for yourself? At first, such situations may seem uncomfortable, but getting out of your comfort zone is an excellent way to discover yourself and grow as a person.
How can you learn to be on your own and benefit from your solitude?
Loneliness is often confused with isolation or exclusion. However, whereas solitude is generally chosen and voluntary, exclusion and isolation are inflicted on us by others. You need to define your own boundary between loneliness and isolation.
Loneliness can be tamed. To do this, you need to set some time to be alone with yourself, but at your own pace (for example, one evening every week, every month, etc.). By doing things on your own, you'll realize that these special moments actually do you good.
Nevertheless, it is true that learning to be alone is often an unexpected and sudden issue, such as after a break-up or death. People often find themselves in a critical situation that they weren't prepared for. In such cases, it is even more important to go through the process step-by-step, starting by mourning the loss (of a past relationship with a partner, the death of a loved one, etc.).
To be fulfilling, solitude needs to be part of a life balance between times when you are alone and times when you are in company of someone else. Attempting to learn to be alone is ultimately a guarantee of freedom. When you don't appreciate moments of solitude, you become a prisoner, with others only there to help you avoid or flee from something.
When accepted with serenity, solitude only reinforces the happiness you feel when you're surrounded by others!
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Solitude positive ou le bonheur d’être seule, You Magazine
La solitude positive ou les bienfaits d’être seul, Passeport Santé
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La "solitude positive" ou comment être seul nous fait du bien, Madame Figaro