Community//

Solitude

And the Power of Inner Peace

"A man can be himself only so long as he can be alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free"
"A man can be himself only so long as he can be alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free"

 Alone time gets a bad wrap. I’m not sure why. At one time I was even skeptical, but, it’s a healthy and beneficial prerequisite for our growth and happiness. I think it’s partly because we as a society are so programmed to suppress our feelings and are convinced that somehow it’s for our own good. Those of us who have not yet been introduced to the rejuvenating feeling of peace and quiet automatically become terrified about what the silence may reveal. Somehow that feeling of not having anyone but ourselves around to validate our existence can sometimes freak us out, but the absolute truth is that if we don’t do all of these wonderful things for ourselves, our chances of finding someone who will love and support who we really are and who we are committed to becoming will be shot to hell. I believe it’s healthy to be in a monogamous relationship with ourselves. Self-love is the bedrock of all of our relationships in life and the most fundamental relationships stem from learning how to love and care for ourselves. Not in a “I don’t need anyone” type of way, but more along the lines of “I’m ok if no one is around”. And yes, we do get examples of what partnerships can look like from our parents, friends, society, social media, etc. but what it really boils down to is how do we actually feel about ourselves? Are we proud or disappointed? What are our standards? What are our deal makers and deal breakers? Are we taking the necessary time to create healthy boundaries? And if so, what are they? What are we willing to accept or not accept? Are we settling in our relationships out of fear when we’re worth so much more? Or are we choosing people who are supportive and loving and kind? How are we treating ourselves? Are we taking the necessary time to give ourselves everything we need? How are we speaking to ourselves? Is our self-talk positive or negative? Are we ok with who we are and where we are? And if we aren’t why not? All of these questions and more can only be answered during the silence. Recognizing that we hold the power to change all of these narratives is monumental in our growth and development. And that is the truth that so people many fear. Of course it’s scary to admit your shortcomings to yourself. It’s easier to just accept mediocrity and more comfortable to do nothing, but nothing special grows from that place of limitation. Having a passive attitude on life doesn’t give you that feeling of accomplishment. You’re just getting by. And that’s so unfair to yourself. The only way to live a full and happy life is to allow yourself the gift of thriving. I once feared the silence until I learned that prolonging this courtship with self will only lead to many more failed relationships and friendships. Many years ago after a really bad breakup I decided to start dating myself. No BS. I started taking myself out to fancy restaurants on the weekends {AKA Date Night} for a nice meal. All by lonesome. Way before the whole social media craze really took off. And I didn’t have any crutches to sustain me such as a book or work to give my attention to creating the illusion that I was busy and I was terrified. I felt exposed in a way I’ve never felt. It felt like every person in that room was staring at me and could feel my heartbeat, probably wondering if I had been stood up. I was still pretty raw from the breakup and my vulnerabilities were at an all time high. I’ll admit that it was a challenge to push through the evening, but I knew the outcome of my little experiment would be life changing; although in that moment I couldn’t imagine how. I had major butterflies the first few times, but eventually I just eased into it. I kept reminding myself that anyone’s opinion of what I was doing was their own and not mine, and that if anything some of the “singles” in those couples that I saw around the room wished they had the courage to do what I was doing. I think the more fearful we are of doing something the more it’s absolutely vital that we do it. Sure, venturing out on your own like that is scary, but imagine if you were so paralyzed with fear that you couldn’t even handle doing a small task on your own. I used to feel that way and it was debilitating. At one time, I couldn’t even leave the house without a wing-man. It wasn’t until I started welcoming the silence and listening to it without judgement did the fear of being alone disappear. Often times we are our own worst enemy. I think if we don’t face these types of fears in the long run we run the risk of disappointing our soul and we will never ever truly recover from it. We will continue to manifest these experiences over and over again until we address them because they’re all pointing to the same things. Where we’re failing ourselves. Where we’re giving our power away. Where we could be better. One thing I’ve learned for sure is that once we get comfortable with being uncomfortable our lives will forever be changed. We will automatically flip the script and immediately invite all of life’s infinite possibilities into our experience. We’ll all be drunk with a certain type of power that only a chosen few poses. Total and complete freedom from needing anyone to hold our hand and the fear of not being worthy enough will disappear because we know we can handle anything. The fundamental truth is we don’t need anyone to complete us. We are all born complete and well equipped to do the unimaginable. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that power. Another bonus to solitude is that your inner gps can remind you of these types of things when the communication lines remain clear. Solitude to me, at one time meant that you were a loser who had no friends and or there was no one who loved you enough to help you occupy your time, because that’s was how it was portrayed to me. Today, it means that I have the opportunity to evaluate where I am in relation to where I want to be and that I can decompress my body and mind when I need to and figure out what I really want and what I really need to surrender and what my next plan of action will be. I can’t imagine my life without the silence now. I love going off the grid sometimes and being in a place where I’m just enjoying my own company, and not needing to talk to anyone or answer to anyone brings me an incredible sense of peace. I love and appreciate all of my relationships, but I cherish my solo time. If you would have told me I’d be feeling like this ten years ago I would have laughed in your face. It may sound selfish, but it’s actually healthy to spend time alone with your own thoughts and your own feelings (without guilt) or having the distraction of anyone else’s wants or needs. Life is loud sometimes and living in a disruptive society isn’t always conducive to connecting with your higher self. Remembering to schedule that special quiet time with ourselves is a tremendous asset since we’re always being pulled in a million different directions. I’m constantly amazed by my friends and family who have children because it’s tricky balancing your own needs with your children’s needs at all times. Which isn’t always healthy or the best idea, but I understand it. Although I don’t have children, I don’t need to to know that you cannot fill from an empty cup. That’s just a fact. I’ve learned that in order to be your most successful self, making time to recharge is paramount. Otherwise you have an uncomfortable set of circumstances headed your way. And social media isn’t always an ally either since it always seems to be at the forefront of some type of controversy. It’s important to take all of what you see, hear and read on the internet with a grain of salt. It isn’t always real. It’s mostly smoke and mirrors. It’s even more heartbreaking when you’re in a relationship with a someone who doesn’t support your growth and happiness. That to me is emotional depredation. That’s why it’s so incredibly important to choose a partner who not only understands, but is also committed to their own growth and happiness. Otherwise you’re in a relationship just for the sake of not being alone and what’s the point of you’re not growing, learning and building together? It’s truly a gift to find a reciprocal relationship that is committed to doing the inner work. Individually and together. There are so many couples who aren’t right for each other that fake and force a connection instead of doing the inner work and it’s written all over their faces. They wear their resentment and passive aggressive behavior like a big pink overcoat and I feel for them, but, I don’t linger on that empathy. I’m no fool, I know whatever I focus my attention on expands so I keep it moving. I am now solely focused on being loving and kind toward myself which in turn attracts those who are loving and kind toward themselves and it’s wonderful. The ones who are truly happy and fulfilled in every way radiate such joy like they’re floating. I’m inspired by that. That’s how life should be. I know that I’m worth so much more now and my choices are a reflection of that. That part of me that used to attract the denser energy and crappy circumstances has now healed because I was able to learn from it all and transmute it. I am much more interested in people who are truly happy today and I celebrate their joy as if it were my very own. My perception used to only pick up on the unsuccessful, miserable people on my path at one time because that was the level I was vibrating at. I used to be afraid of letting others get too close to me because if they did they would see the real me and so out of fear of criticism and rejection I would subconsciously seek out relationships that were doomed from the start. I didn’t know how to own who I really was and harness my power because I didn’t have the tools. I was raised to be seen and not heard and I was used to suppressing my emotions and awkwardness. Vulnerability equaled weakness in my house. Consequently, I always felt stuck in my friendships and relationships because I didn’t value myself or feel worthy enough of better so I didn’t know how to ask for it. I never thought I was good enough to be loved and accepted for who I really was without altering some part of me to fit in, so I always chose people who were never really good for me right out of the gate. It gave me the illusion of control. It wasn’t until early 2012 that I broke up with that limiting belief. I started choosing myself more and speaking up for myself more and standing up for myself more and I never looked back. It was the greatest decision I ever made. And so the crumbling began…. It was terrifying because in that moment shit got real. I realized that I would no longer have the crutch of any of my friendships, relationships or old thoughts, habits and beliefs to hide behind, but I didn’t care. I was in too much pain and I wanted it to end. The only thing I could understand from my very, very suppressed inner voice was that I needed my world to get absolutely quiet. So, I dove right into confinement head first, but this time I didn’t see it as punishment. I had a lot of unpacking to do and it was very painful, but long overdue. I couldn’t run from myself anymore and all of the demons I was suppressing. I was exhausted. I finally succumbed to all of it for the first time in my life and it was cathartic to say the least. Frightening yet cathartic. Honestly, up until seven years ago I had no idea who I was, so it only affirmed why I was living from a place of fear and lack. Today my monogamous relationship with self has never been better. I’m no longer afraid to speak up and ask for what I want. I’m no longer afraid of my power. I’m no longer afraid to set boundaries. I’m no longer afraid of being too much of myself. I’m no longer afraid of who I am or where I am. I no longer suppress my still small voice. And as a result, I am amazed at least once a day by something I do, think or say. I now only attract people into my life that are good for me. People that I can learn from and grow with who are committed to improving themselves everyday. I had to start rewriting my story for so many reasons, but, one in particular that always stood out for me was that I could never get over the fact that I never saw any real life fairy tale romances growing up or experienced any for myself and I wanted that to change. My parents were never like that, I never got the vibe that they were really “deep in love”. I know that they love each other and I know that they love me, but they don’t have that za za zsu. That fire. That passion. That deep, intense love. Actually come to think of it, I don’t remember ever seeing any couples with that za za zsu without the undertone of judgement and or criticism. Deep down I always felt that love was meant to be deep and passionate and life giving and raw and intense way before I knew what those terms actually meant. I used to idolize movie characters who lived happily ever after and get lost in their fictional fairy tale lives. On more than one occasion, somebody would burst my bubble out of spite and or disbelief and tell me that that kind of love doesn’t exist in “real life” and that it’s “unrealistic” and that “I better get that idea out of my head”. I always felt that they were full of shit but I was never brave enough to speak out against it. Who was I to challenge what they were saying? How could I stand up for something that I had no evidentiary proof of? Somehow though, through all the tumult, deep down I never completely gave up on my happily ever after. I refuse to settle for anything less than that floating feeling because I know now that it exists. Today, I am in a brand new headspace reflecting back to that once terrified young girl who decided to put herself out there in the hopes that one day someone would be strong enough to catch her. Amazingly and even more remarkably that someone is me. That is the power of solitude.

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Why Am I Addicted to Toxic Relationships?

    by Elisabetta Franzoso
    Community//

    Feeling The Energy Of Feelings

    by Gina Yallamas

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.