All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone. Pascal
Do you take time out for yourself to be alone or are you always surrounded by other people?
Like most people, I have both tendencies within me. When I want to be I can enjoy being sociable and other peoples company and at other times I want to batten down the hatches and shut the rest of the world out. Usually I fall somewhere in between but I have been thinking recently about the benefits of spending time alone and disconnecting from the world.
Hear Your Inner Voice
Over the last few years I have realised that I often haven’t taken the time to ask myself what I want. If there was a group of friends arranging a night out for example, I would be the one to say “I don’t mind” or “Whatever you fancy”. I have realised that a lot of the time I just didn’t take the time to listen to my answer. I have started practising choosing what I want and letting other people know.
This example may seem trivial (and sometimes I really didn’t mind where I ate ) but it highlighted for me, what I was doing all over my life: letting other people make all the decisions. That wasn’t other peoples fault; I was handing the responsibility over to them. Once I stopped doing this and started to listen to myself on the smaller decisions in life, I build up that muscle and started to get in touch with my inner voice in other areas of my life.
I have shared similar realisations here before and the reason I am sharing it in this post is because I have found that spending time alone has been one of the best ways to get in touch with my inner voice. From deciding what I want for dinner to what I want to do as a career, taking regular time out to be alone has been one of the best things I have found to get clear on my own answers.
Recharge Your Batteries
It is good for the soul to disconnect every now and then and recharge your batteries. Think for a moment about all the external influences that affect you every day. From your immediate circle to advertisers or even online friends on Twitter and Facebook; we deal with an onslaught of information every day. Some of this might be positive and some might be negative, but it is all external influences and it does us good to switch off from it all sometimes.
When you give yourself space from the outside world you leave yourself room to really breathe and just be. This allows you to let go of the external you (whether we like it or not we all have a face or maybe faces that we present to the world) and get in touch with your inner world.
Get to Know Yourself
I have found the more comfortable I am by myself the more comfortable I am when I am around other people. Meditation in particular helps me to disconnect and get to know the real me. I personally find meditating to a guided meditation beneficial but meditation doesn’t have to be done by sitting quietly. We can meditate when washing the dishes or gardening: it’s really about being fully present in the moment. When we are fully present, we let go of thoughts and our ego and allow ourselves to just be.
Listen to Your “Hermit Cycle”
I have found that there is often a cycle to how much time I want to spend alone or with other people. It’s not a predictable cycle, I find that it is really about listening to that inner voice and respecting the answers I get. I often find if I have had lots of time alone, I will naturally want to “dehermitize” (yep, that’s a word I made up! ) and be with people again. Taking the time to enjoy my own company makes me appreciate others when I am with them.
Quality not Quantity
Your life is different to my life and you may be thinking “I haven’t got the time to be a hermit or spend more time alone although I’d like to”. If you want more time to be alone then this is something you will have to look at. In the meantime, quality time is what is important. For now, if you have ten minutes spare in your day, use that to be alone and gradually increase it as you wish.
Unleash Your Inner Hermit
We are all different and what works for me might not necessarily be for you. However, I believe we can all benefit from unleashing our inner hermit to some degree! Maybe you spend a lot of time alone already but would like to make that time more of a quality experience, maybe you can see that more alone time could enhance your creativity or maybe you are never alone and this will be a new experience.
Take a moment to see what a difference some time alone could make to you. I’d love to hear from you; how could unleashing your inner hermit help you?