Solitude – Feared or Embraced?

Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” – Aristotle.

I have found that nothing turns a person cold more than the fear of being alone. I also venture to say that it’s not so much the loneliness that we are afraid of, although it is there, but it’s the fear of confronting who we really are, what we really are.

In this modern world, with all its demands, we are always complaining that we never have time to do the things that we want, time to relax, time to spend with the family. However, I am hard pressed to find anyone who wants time to get to know themselves, to confront their true natures and to become masters of themselves. The quiet scares us, the deafening silence that accompanies solitude seems to overwhelm us to the point that we are scared to touch it with a 20 foot pole. Therefore, even when we are alone we are plugged into iPods that have the latest top 40 hits or the latest self help mp3. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way advocating against these things. They have their place but sometimes we need to switch off the external so that we can listen to the internal.

I honestly believe that for a person to become who they are truly meant to be, finding time to be alone, in the quietness and bliss; and the loudness and gut wrenching fear of solitude is up there among the most important things they will ever do on the road to being themselves.

In relationships it is often said that to get to know your partner you need to spend quality time with him or her, together, you must get to know who they are, what they like, what makes them tick, how they react to certain things. Making time to spend with your significant other is what makes or breaks a relationship most times. The sad thing is that people who don’t truly know themselves, who have never spent quality time alone are trying to know someone else.

Suddenly we find ourselves in jobs we hate, relationships that we don’t want, a life that is draining and we realise that we are not who we thought we were, we realise that we are the sum of the parts that everybody else thinks we are, all because we never truly knew ourselves; never took the time to find out how we want to do life.

The greatest thinkers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, artists etc. in history always made time to be alone, to confront themselves and to master themselves. The adage in carpentry “Measure twice and cut once,” is what most of these people who changed the world did. They thought things through, found out who and what they are, what they wanted, how they wanted to do it and proceeded down a path to claim a place in history.

So, I urge you to take some time to be alone, at least a few minutes a day. Take that drive that has no destination, sit on the beach, walk that nature trail or just sit in your office, alone, just to be with yourself, shut out the external so that the internal can be heard. You will be surprised at the results. You will be shocked and awed at the same time. You will find creativity, solutions, ideas, heartache, bliss, war and peace.

Above all you will find yourself.

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