The Importance of Solitude – Part I

PUT YOUR LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE

Being in your own company gives you the chance to see where you’re heading in terms of your relationships, career, and spiritual evolution. If you spend at least a half an hour each day looking back at the previous day and analyzing how you lived it, you’ll gain some great insights. That’s the power of perspective!

One thing you may realize as you self-reflect is that the greatest amount of time and energy spent on an average day goes into maintaining healthy relationships. But when you’re alone, you can decide which ones are worth keeping and nurturing. Remember that a good relationship is one that allows both people involved to grow into better people. Ask yourself whether your relationships follow this wise counsel. 

In the same way, consider your career. If you have a career goal, are you heading in the right direction? Have you been in a hopeless work situation for far too long because you’re afraid of change? Is there some other profession that you dream of constantly?

What are your priorities in life? The answer to this question is extremely important. For instance, you might think that nurturing your creative pastimes or your children are more important than your day job. If so, would it make sense to take the plunge and freelance, instead of continuing with your 9 to 5 job?


LEARN TO BE INDEPENDENT

Psychoanalysts say that the capacity to spend time alone is the mark of emotional maturity. 

So what is meant by solitude? Well, when you’re sitting by yourself glued to your cell phone, or browsing your Facebook account, it is not solitude. 

In fact, in these days of hi-tech gadgets that enable people to communicate with each other regardless of where they may be, it’s difficult to find those who actually prefer solitude. But perhaps you will prefer some occasional solitude, once you see the many benefits. 

For example, if you can’t find a companion to go to the movies, do you still go by yourself? Of course, there’s no physical harm in going alone, is there?

You don’t have to be in the company of others in order to feel fulfilled and happy. In solitude, you like your own company!

Being alone often helps you to think deeper about the challenges in your life. And when you’re emotionally and mentally prepared, you’ll be better able to meet them head on. 

It’s an empowering feeling to figure things out for yourself. You’ll begin to love yourself for your own competence and resourcefulness, and loving yourself is important if you want others to love you!   


GET THOSE CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING

Creative minds value solitude. Even people like Mozart and Brahms, who could concentrate on their creations when surrounded by people, could do so only because they were absorbed in their own thoughts. This was their chosen state of solitude. 

However, most creative minds require physical solitude. In a special private space created by a lack of distractions from friends and lovers, plenty of growth takes place.

For instance, a creative writer always has the seeds of stories germinating in his brain. These take time to incubate and manifest, and this process requires contemplation. But how can you contemplate when you’re constantly with others or enslaved by the telephone and television? And then you might very well complain of the well-known “writer’s block!” In creative writing, you need time to be alone and do your research. Doing so will spring more ideas and you’ll be able to actually write!   

Anthony Storr, author of Solitude, notes that writers of genius like Tolstoy and Beatrix Potter found their creativity declining when they were enmeshed in family matters and interpersonal relationships. 

Storr says: “Creative artists are quite likely to choose relationships which will further their work, rather than relationships which are intrinsically rewarding, and their spouses may well find their marital relations take second place.”


ENRICH YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

The benefits of solitude are many, yet society primes us to believe that interpersonal relationships are the answer to every problem. As psychologists point out, divorce and separation rates are on the rise because couples have to switch from office mode to romantic dinner without any breathing space in between. Does that sound familiar?

You need a break from your great love on a regular basis. Allow her to do the things she wants. Let him spend time with his buddies and his hobbies without complaining. The tighter you hold on to each other, the more hemmed in you’ll both feel, which may even lead to resentment and raging outbursts.

You both need your own space to do the good things you desire, so you can put your relationship in perspective. They say that love is blind, but it’s crucial for you to be able to see your beloved objectively. This means that you need to appreciate their positive qualities, but also be aware of their negative side.

Any marriage counselor will tell you that couples who are always together are the ones who end up having the most violent arguments. The arguments may just be a subconscious attempt to get some time alone.

 So, if he has his breakfast alone once in a while, while you’re still in bed and vice versa, it’s absolutely all right. Or if you go jogging alone, that’s fine too. Both of you need time by yourselves, but not so much that your lover feels lonely and neglected, of course. Try to find the right balance between solitude and intimacy.

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