What runs through your mind when you see or hear this word? For most people, they define solitude as loneliness, sadness or even depression. In a way, they are right. The word Solitude originally comes from the Latin word solus which means alone.
Yet, there is a big difference between being alone and being lonely. Loneliness is a negative state of isolation. On the other hand, solitude is a positive state where you choose yourself.
Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of selfMay Sarton
In a world of overwhelming information and search for public validation; solitude is now more important than ever. Everyone seeks to grab your attention ranging from obsessive ads from companies and internet entrepreneurs to a casual friend asking you to hang out. You must have had your own fair share of these attention stealers.
WHAT ABOUT PUBLIC VALIDATION?
What about public validation? This comes from you. It is the tendency to seek attention from others. The compulsive need to gain likes and shares on your social media posts. The need to be adored by a special partner. Or even the urge to constantly gain favour and approval from your seniors, peers and juniors. Yes, you must have had your own fair share of seeking public validation too.
It’s easy to stand in the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone.Mahatma Gandhi
These things are not bad. Adverts inform you about certain products. A casual hangout can lead to influential relationships in the long run. Even those likes and shares increase awareness about your brand or business. However, when these activities distract you from the things that matter most, that is when the problems start.
This is where the practice of solitude comes in.
Without solitude, no plant or animal can survive, no soil can remain productive, no child can learn about life, no artist can create, no work can grow and be transformed.Paulo Coelho, manuscript found in Accra
WHY YOU NEED SOLITUDE
Knowing yourself gives room for reflection. It is the only time you can give honest feedback and seek ways to improve your talent and work ethic. Solitude actually enhances creativity and productivity too.
Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.Pablo Picasso
Practising solitude also gives you the opportunity to know yourself more. Mental strength, empathy is best built in this optimized state of knowing yourself. In this state, you make independent decisions free of external influences. These decisions help you develop more insights into becoming a better person in varying aspects of your life.
Solitude is not the absence of company, but the moment when our soul is free to speak to us and help us decide what to do with our life.Paulo Coelho, Manuscript found in Accra
HOW TO KNOW YOURSELF BETTER
There are different ways to practice solitude and know yourself better. Here are five major ways I have tried and these steps are highly recommended too:
- Communicate and pray to the Creator. This allows you to build a personal relationship with God.
- Meditate. This sounds like an ancient technique, but there are now modern apps for meditation. (I have used the Calm app and it worked really well. It is available on app stores)
- Read books. Books are little powerhouses of knowledge. Learn to apply knowledge got from these books into your life.
- Take a personality test. This is science’s way of knowing your strengths and areas you can improve. You can take one of these tests via this LINK
- Journal and jot down your thoughts. This gives you clarity and a sense of organization around your activities (I wrote an article on how to journal perfectly: Journaling: How To Constantly Channel and Control Your Thoughts)
Yeah, you made it to the end. Practice solitude, know yourself more and you will definitely see the world differently.