My Solitude Journey
Solitude is ultimately the state of being alone. One way or another we all find ourselves feeling alone and up against the world at some point in our lives. For many, this feeling can be overwhelming and destructive.
However, through my own personal experiences, I have learned to view solitude as a peaceful state rather than one of sorrow. Having said that, the path of solitude is not an easy one, it’s turbulent, but it ultimately helps us build self-awareness, emotional intelligence and compassion. I think now, more than ever we need to understand the importance of being alone with ourselves and how it can bring clarity, peace of mind and it allows us to build resilience.
To make a long story short, my journey started shortly after graduating high school and entering University. That’s when I first started feeling really out of place, and it wasn’t because I didn’t have any friends, but mainly because I had a deep sense of internal confusion because I didn’t understand myself or my purpose. I always felt like an outsider looking out on the world, trying to make sense of it all.
I think my cultural upbringing played a huge influence in that, but so did the people around me. Growing up, I had to deal with an above average level of rejection in my love life along with constantly having to deal with people who felt it was appropriate to body shame me for my naturally thin frame. I was the girl who never got asked out and when I did try to pursue, I would be rejected. It led me to feel like I wasn’t “good enough” and pairing that with the constant body shaming, it’s easy to see why my distaste for social interaction grew strong.
The mistreatment that I was receiving from people made me crave my own company. To be honest, I can’t say that my confidence was always low, in fact, I had a hard time understanding why no one could see me for who I was. Deep down inside I knew that I was an amazing person, but the pain came from the struggle of not being understood.
I spent a few years with minimal interaction with friends because I didn’t need it. I got excited to watch movies on my own and reading about topics that fascinated me and to just be able to question the mysteries of life. My time in solitude ultimately led me to having a “spiritual awakening” which helped me gain internal balance and for the first time in my life, I felt alive and things just started to make sense, because I finally accepted my authentic self! You see, struggle and pain is the precursor to life-changing clarity. The uphill battles are meant to align us with the path of our authentic selves which leads to a richer inner life and in-turn more meaningful connections with others.
Instead of trying to fight off the pain, we have to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth that it’s a part of life. Nobody on this earth is without struggle. When we view it from this perspective we begin to understand that pain is universal. It doesn’t make it any less horrifying, but it pushes us to accept and sit with our feelings while acknowledging that we can choose to hold on to the uncomfortable emotions, or we can eventually let go of the things we can’t control and just keep moving forward.
The moral of the story here is that our paths are different for a reason. Our struggles ultimately help us discover who we are and our place in the world. Unless we sit with our thoughts and ask the difficult questions about life, we’ll never have the answers. Being alone actually gives us perspective and helps us gain perception of the external world. Without an understanding of why we perceive things the way we do, we begin to internalize outside influences, which ultimately manifests into stress and depression.
I was able to work through my own internal conflicts, which made me realize one crucial thing — emotional independence is a survival skill, it’s the life jacket that keeps us from drowning! I am not saying that one should not seek help from others, but what I am saying is that when we learn to regulate our own emotions, we gain coping mechanisms that allow us to thrive during the most difficult of times. I truly believe these skills are accessible to all, we just have to learn how to program them into our minds!
Solitude helps us:
- Gain perspective
- Ask meaningful questions about life
- Gain self-awareness
- Build emotional intelligence
- Gain confidence
- Build our intuitive capabilities
- Gain peace of mind
- Find our life purpose
- Tap into our creativity
Among many other things!
As much as we need social interaction we also need self-reflection. Solitude becomes a peaceful state when we are able to self-reflect and gain perspective on the events in our lives, which enables us to make mindful decisions that lead to proactive action.
We all grow up in different circumstances and hence we have picked up on biases and prejudices from our family and the media. When we internalize this it becomes part of our culture and hence standards and belief systems are formed. A person’s actions towards you is essentially a representation of their upbringing and their current belief system. Instead of internalizing another’s beliefs, you have to condition yourself to internalize your own beliefs.
Over the years, I have learned to accept my body as it is. I have learned to accept that those who cannot see my value have no place in my life. It’s not a reflection of my worth, it’s a reflection of that person’s perception of me, which I have no control over! We only have control over ourselves in this life, which is why it’s so important to build a strong inner guidance system. You owe it to yourself to become best friends with yourself.
Life will always have its ups and downs and so we have to learn to adapt to change and adversity rather than constantly dwelling in the past!