Mysmartmindset's Blog

To Educate & Inform People – People Helping People.

How to Enjoy Solitude.

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast, or a god.”
~ Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon may have exaggerated, but his point was clear: most people despise being alone. People will surround themselves in harmful relationships to avoid solitude. They will change their clothes, hobbies or even their religious beliefs just to fit in. And, the idea of being completely alone in the world is a common theme in horror films.

However, there is a power in being able to find contentment in solitude. Bacon, wasn’t far off when he ascribed god-like powers to the people who can enjoy solitude. If you are able to be happy alone, then even in the emptiest times in life you can find peace and even joy.

I’m not suggesting solitude is better than being with people. Simply that it’s impossible to completely avoid aloneness in life, so it’s worth having a strategy to find joy in those moments. Enjoying solitude can also give you an independence that makes you less desperate with friends and less likely to cling onto lousy relationships.

How to Be Happy Alone

My experience with this challenge started several years ago. I lived in a small town, hundreds of kilometers away from any major center. I had few close friends in my city, and I didn’t connect well with the people around me. Additionally, I was planning to move in a year, which reduced my motivation to improve my social skills, which had been lacking.

At first, I found the solitude unbearable. I had other friends in the past, so I wasn’t used to being nearly completely isolated. I can definitely say this wasn’t a fun experience, but it did teach me a valuable lesson about how to enjoy my time alone.

By working on my internal life, I was able to not only bear the solitude, but actually enjoy it. Even now that I have many friends and my social skills have improved considerably, I still benefit from the lessons I learned enjoying solitude. It gave me an inner calm and independence that means that, although I place value in relationships and work to improve them, I don’t feel desperate to stay in any friendship or relationship that doesn’t fulfill me.

If you’re caught in the same situation I was, I feel there are two steps you can take to turn it around:

  1. Learn to draw contentment from your time alone.
  2. Improve your social skills and build new connections.

Each approach on it’s own is insufficient. If you only work on drawing contentment from your time alone, that approach can be unsatisfying if you still feel isolation is forced upon you. But if you work on your social skills and peaceful solitude in unison, you can enjoy the present while increasing your options for the future.

Side Note: Improving your social skills is outside the scope of this article, but if you’d like to read more, I’d suggest reading: Succeed Socially

Loneliness is Forced Solitude

In my opinion, a great deal of the pain caused by loneliness is due to a lack of control. Solitude is easy to enjoy when it isn’t forced. I think most people enjoy a few hours or even a few days to themselves if their regular lives are full of activity and interesting people. In fact, many people complain of a lack of space when deeply involved in relationships, which shows that solitude isn’t universally bad.

But when you lack control over your situation, solitude becomes loneliness. If you feel your isolation wasn’t chosen, and you can’t control it, that exile can be unbearable. The key, in my opinion, to regaining enjoyment in solitude and reducing loneliness, is to regain some control.

Part of that control can come from simply improving your social life directly. If you practice your social skills directly, that can boost your feeling of control and make the world seem less isolating, even if you’re still finding it difficult.

However, for some people this process will be slow or difficult. It may be hard for you to make new friends, either because you’re social muscles are still weak, or because you are stuck in a lousy situation, such as working at an isolating job or stuck in an unfriendly, small town. In that case, I think it also helps to gain control in another way.

By: Scott Young. Visit: www.thinksimplenow.com

Advertisements

June 14, 2010 - Posted by | Personal Development

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: