There’s a big difference between being lonely and being alone.
Lonely: without friends or companionship.
Alone: having no one present.
These terms often get conflated but there is a big difference. One is intentional while the other is not.
No one should be lonely. Not only because as a species we have evolved to rely on our sociability to survive and reproduce. Being with other people also makes life more valuable.
But, we should strive to be alone.
In a world where we are more connected than ever, where faster is always better, where it is either now or never. Alone time is a concept almost all but forgotten.
And when I say alone, I mean virtually as well. That means not scrolling through your feed, not listening to music, and not checking your favourite blog (I’m not running away).
THINGS YOU WILL NEED TO BE ALONE:
- Your thoughts
- Your immediate external environment
I know it’s that simple.
You can do it while you’re commuting to your destination or while you are waiting in line for your food. My personal favourite is taking walks. Not only do you get the core benefits from being alone but you the added benefits of some exercise, fresh air and the chance to observe the environment around you.
And I know what you’re thinking. Okay cool, but what are the benefits? Is it going to make rich? Is it going to cure my anxiety? Am I going to be bubbling with brilliant ideas?
No. Not exactly.
You probably won’t notice any apparent benefits right away. But, if every day, for at least five minutes, you take that time for yourself you’ll start to feel an increased amount of clarity, peacefulness, and wonder in the world. You’ll again start to cherish the small things and will realize how silly it is to always want to feel busy. This in turn might enable you to fix your problems or achieve your goals but that is just a symptom of applying good behaviour and a beneficial routine.
Modernity, with all the benefits that it has brought us, has set our default mode to always consume, always take in new information, but has left us very little time to reflect on that input.
Without reflection your life will continue to be lived on autopilot, automatically falling back on to the bad habits that we so desperately want to change.
At the start, it might be weird or uncomfortable not doing anything or being with anyone, but when you disconnect, your mind will take over the rest.
So what’s stopping you? Take the time to be alone.