I love to be alone! In fact, in my case, it's necessary for both good health and a happy mind. Both solitude and belonging are important foundations in our emotional health, but they can be as far apart as fire and ice. They are opposite ends of the same stick. At one end, spending time by ourselves builds self-reliance. One the other end, being part of a group helps form trust and a healthy acceptance of others.
In solitude we can:
· Be creative away from unwanted influences
· Enjoy activities that are meaningful to us
· Spend time in contemplative thought, finding out who we truly are
As a group we can:
· Collaborate and inspire each other
· Enjoy common activities or friendly competitions
· Share similar or different perspectives and experiences
We often waver between the two ends of the stick, desiring life as an individual and seeking out others to connect with.
So, how do you balance the stick?
· Preserve your solitude by carving out time for yourself, and try to understand that solitude will have a different meaning for each person experiencing it.
· Know that loneliness and estrangement are not synonymous with solitude. These feelings tend to happen in groups and can be irritating obstacles to fitting in.
· Others can overly influence your own self-identity if the group is too tight, which can harm your self-esteem. Belonging happens not when others accept us, but when we accept ourselves.
· Give tenuous connections a chance to happen organically and you’ll find you can be yourself when alone and your same self when you are with others.