We worry when we go out alone, whether to have a meal or just to chill, what people will think about us. Is she lonely? He doesn’t have friends? Did she got stood up? Is he anti-social? So we pretend to be busy on our phones, by either texting or faking a call. We pretend we’re waiting for someone. Or worse, we don’t go out solo even though we feel like we need some time off. It’s so easy for society to jump into conclusions and we care about how we’re being perceived.
According to ScienceOfUs, two researchers carried out five experiments in which four involved surveys that include questions regarding people’s preferences when it comes to solo or group activities and their reasons; the fifth involved a real-world attempt to nudge people out of their comfort zones. The researchers consistently found that “consumers worry that if they engage in [hedonic] activities alone, observers will infer that they could not find friends to accompany them.” Moreover, it proved that there’s nothing uncomfortable about being alone. It’s the fear of judgment that made people feel uneasy.
When we allow the perception of others define us, we miss out on a lot including the pleasure of being alone. Solitude is the state of being alone in order to find peace and become more self-aware. It is usually a voluntary decision, and it tends to be a bit difficult in the beginning. You need time to adjust to being comfortable alone and feeling contented in your own skin. Solitude is not losing connections with people, it’s rather about taking time away from them to focus on ourselves.
1. Solitude gives room for the mind to reset.
After a long tiring day full of endless duties, don’t you think you deserve a bit of time off to recharge all the energy you lost? Our society could be incredibly hectic and overwhelming. We’ve become so familiar with stress that we are used to it. Being alone helps you find your peace within yourself and refreshes your brain from all the day-to-day anxieties. With a healthier brain, free from clouded judgements, you’re capable of making rational decisions more efficiently.
2. Solitude helps in self-awareness.
Having alone time helps you in the journey of discovering yourself – your interests, perspective, emotions, behaviors – and confronting your true self. You’re able to distinguish yourself from all the other people around. When you have a clear understanding of your personality, you become more wary of what makes you happy and what doesn’t. Giving yourself some time to indulge in your inner self makes you realize your worth. You would stop caring about how people perceive you and learn to be content with yourself without seeking validation.
3. You gain a best friend.
You enjoy yourself more because there’s nothing expected of you to say or do and there’s less pressure on you to socialize and keep conversations going. You basically make inside jokes with yourself and laugh every time. You can guide yourself by just sitting down and thinking through a problem, thinking about the causes and effects of it to find a solution. Besides, you could do literally whatever you feel like doing! You’re not committed to plans.
4. Solitude enhances productivity.
When your brain resets and there are less things weighing on your mind, there is more energy to get things done. The lack of distraction helps you concentrate more which results in more effective results. Moreover, being in a group could highly be distracting. According to Entrepreneur.com, based on a study of 600 computer programmers at 92 companies, 62 percent of top performers said they had adequate privacy at work, while only 19% of the worst performers shared that opinion. And, among the low performers, 76 percent said they were often unnecessarily interrupted.
5. Solitude boosts creativity.
Being alone allows you to be freer in your thoughts, without the fear of how you will be perceived. Without any distractions, you’re more likely to be fully focused which allows you to generate better ideas. According to the psychologist Keith Sawyer, research has consistently proven that those who work in groups generate far less ideas than those who work alone.
Moreover, being alone recharges your mind to keep the creativity alive. It helps you brainstorm better and thus come up with more original ideas.
As the great Karl Lagerfeld said,
“People who do a job that claims to be creative have to be alone to recharge their batteries. You can’t live 24 hours a day in the spotlight and remain creative. For people like me, solitude is a victory.”