The Power of Solitude

The art of finding beauty in ourselves, with ourselves

"Are you having dinner alone?!"

"Did you really come here alone for such a long time?!"

"Aren't you bored alone?!"

These are some of the many questions I got in the past 2 weeks from various people. For context, I have been spending the past weeks in Greece and almost two more weeks are ahead of me in this amazing country.

I came here alone by choice. It has been on my bucket list to spend at least a month in this country since I've always been in love with the Greek culture, people, land, and language.

These weeks have been one of the greatest experiences this year and pretty much in my life - among some other great ones, obviously.

It started with an 1100-kilometer overnight road trip from Budapest, Hungary to this little Greek town I currently reside at. At the first border control, the officer was truly surprised that I am traveling alone but when I briefly explained my plan, he was amazed and told me what I great decision I made with this trip.

And since I arrived, I had nothing but pure joy in being alone. Besides those hours I work remotely during the weekdays, I can enjoy every single minute with the sights, the experiences, my thoughts, and the creative outcomes of having solitude - such as writing this post.

This is me alone in Greece

This is me alone in Greece

In the past many years, I had a lot of time alone - from the fact that I've been living alone for almost 4 years to all the trips and experiences I made by myself. Also, as I dealt with a lot of mental health issues, I had gone through a lot of anxiety alone.

These ups and downs I had with and by myself did not only give me more stamina but also a lot of joy, a deep state of mind, and fortitude to take risks and strive.

Being alone is not a sign of weakness - on the contrary. It is a sign of strength, courage, and balance. However, our society does not encourage people enough to learn how to be alone.

We, humans, are, of course, social creatures. We love to be among others, a part of the family, friends, and beloved acquaintances. We love to share experiences with others and it boosts our happiness. We also want to be attached to a significant other to share our life path with. These are all amazing additions to our lives.

However, most people hate being alone. I have come across many people who are deeply uncomfortable spending excessive time alone.

They claim to hate being alone with their thoughts, being bored when there is no one around, and that it is not weird to spend a lot of time without anyone around.

Solitude vs Loneliness

"Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self."

May Salton, the Belgian-American poet and novelist penned this in her work "Journal of A Solitude". Her journal is a brutally honest insight into the human brain and thoughts with a deep reflection on her life, the priorities and the importance of solitude - and the struggle to find the balance between society and solitude.

People tend to fail in distinguishing between loneliness and solitude. Loneliness is a state of mind and feeling that does not depend on whether we are physically alone or not.

Feeling lonely while being in a company is one of the worst feelings a human can experience.

And it is something I did experience even in a relationship. That feeling was also a great catalyst for me to enjoy solitude on a higher level.

Somehow through all the ups and downs by myself, I realized that the key to a more meaningful life is to not only befriend myself but to seek moments when I get out of my comfort zone alone.

Going to concerts, cinema, trips but even to a restaurant alone can be scary or uncomfortable. Only until you care about what strangers think of you and how you treat those moments alone.

Credits: Pablo Merchán Montes / Unsplash

Befriend yourself and more doors will open for you

The beauty of solitude is that you have more opportunities to create more content in your life.

How many times have you felt awkward going to a concert alone when no one wanted to join you?

How many travel plans did you give up as no one had the time to go with you?

How many times did you stay at home rather than go to a great restaurant as no one was available?

I am sure many of you missed out a lot because you couldn't find anyone to accompany you. This all changes once you are at peace with yourself and enjoy your own company.

This is not easy though, of course, it takes a significant time to train and befriend yourself. You have to identify your own traits, values, and skillset you have. Meditate on your own desires, what those experiences you enjoy and what gives you the utmost joy.

Do those things that give you a great amount of joy. Start with the small things - a calm moment in the morning to drink your coffee or to listen to your favorite songs.

Do all the things that give you the deep feeling of living in the moment. The more you practice it, the more you will be able to enjoy other experiences on your own without the anxiety of what people think of you doing those things alone.

Let me be clear: I am aware that this post might not be the most structured one. It is definitely not as perfect as some other writer's content. I am still in the process of learning how to write enjoyable and inspiring articles.

But I am the same way with writing as someone who just starts enjoying more moments by themselves - I am trying to act, rather than being afraid of all the judgments from others.

If you read this and feel even slightly moved and inspired then let's do this together. Do all those small moments as a starter and I will keep going with writing these articles and improving on the way.

Máté - TMBNC

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