Updated: Jul 14, 2020
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Article: Everyone knows that too much of anything is no good. So at what point does spending time around other people become a detriment to our health?
I find it very hard to imagine living in a world with no one else in it. Life is a shared experience, and although we come into the world to learn more about our identity and purpose, we must concede that purpose is, at best, illusory without others to love and care for.
With that being said, there is also beauty to be found in solitude. Although it is good to enjoy the company of friends and family, sometimes we just need a break from all the noise.
In the same way that life would be pointless without people, so too is an existence without a knowledge of oneself. What is the value of communicating with others if the experiences they share with you never teach you anything about yourself? And what is the point of learning if not to grow? The knowledge and experience we gain from time spent with others can be used for the development and edification of self. Then that knowledge and wisdom can be used to aide others in their growth.
Spending time with friends and the occasional family gathering can be fruitful and invigorating. But if it’s done too much, it can also be draining and demoralizing.
I have watched people destroy themselves by neglecting to spend time alone. The thought of not being around other people is a frightening one for them because it means they are left to examine themselves. They are afraid of what they might be forced to see and admit when they are alone with their own thoughts. But the more you avoid solitude, the more you become estranged from your identity.
For a long time I too was afraid of being alone. And that fear stagnated my development by forcing me to be around people who had no place or purpose in my life. I would find myself at parties I had no business being at… ...at social gatherings with people I had told myself I'd never speak to again. And making mistakes I had vowed never again to make.
But the more time I spent with others, the more I realized I had to be alone. As hard as it may seem, we cannot neglect to spend time with ourselves.
When the vision you once shared with the people you once knew begins to disintegrate, it becomes necessary to break from the yoke of spiritual inertia and redefine yourself by going inward and discovering your newest potential for growth.
Learn all you can from the world and then die. Die to the world and be reborn to God.
Without the clutter of other people’s thoughts and opinions, we have the space to reflect on our own ideas and perspectives on things. You may discover that some of the things you believed were true about yourself and the world around you are actually false, and this will provoke a new-found curiosity of topics and issues that you never questioned before.
Solitude will bring more order and structure into your life by promoting a daily routine that is centered around yourself instead of time with others. You will discover that in the absence of others, your creativity will accelerate. All of the energy and attention that you devoted to people is redirected toward yourself, causing a spike in productivity and cognitive development.
When I’m alone, I write, play the sax, read, work out, and I think very deeply about my place in the world. In solitude, there is no room for feeling anxious or judged. There is no place for the misguided opinions and emotions of problematic individuals. Even the cell phone must be silenced. The Pavlovian dings and dongs are a distraction from God. From my purpose, my identity, and my place in the light of love.
These are the lessons of Solitude.