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Solitude - good or bad?

Learn to be alone without being lonely.

I recently read an article on Psychology Today on the topic of solitude titled 'Why Am I So Afraid of Being Alone?' and one thing that really resonated with me after reading it is this, "Learning to be alone with oneself is surely an art. We are socially and culturally encouraged to be "with" ... not alone." 
In today's society, all of us have definitely grown all too familiar with the mad rush of life, and filling out our schedules with appointment after appointment has practically become second nature to us. As a result, we basically end up with schedules that look something like this...

While some are commitments that we cannot run away from, how many of us fill out our schedules out of a sheer fear of having to spend time on our own? 

Well, I recently discovered (after being alive for a number of years that shall not be mentioned) that allowing yourself some time alone every now and then is actually really therapeutic and can do so much for you. For one, you are presented with opportunities to discover new things about yourself. Just this week, I discovered that I actually have an ounce of spontaneity in this body of mine. I was on the bus to town after an appointment and I found that I had a lot of time to kill before my next one, and contemplated doing a little shopping. However, once I alighted from the bus, I was hit with this great desire to catch a movie, so I did. Catching the movie alone did mean that I was left laughing to myself in the theatre in the most unglamorous way possible and having no one to flail with over the gorgeous actors that were on screen, but that did not bother me because the whole experience was refreshing in every way, with no hassle and fuss involved and just living in the moment or carpe diem (I have to say that I felt pretty invincible too).

Spending time alone also allows you to indulge in things that you want to do without having to consider the wants and needs of another party because it is just a party of one, you. So if you feel like spending the day in the comfort of your home with a nice cup of tea, some cake and a good TV show like 'Friends' (which is a definite must-watch) or with a good read, whatever you like really, no one can stop you.

"Solitude" also allows you time for self-reflection. Whether it involves you re-examining life and what you are doing with yours or even thinking about your goals and how you are going to go about achieving them (which I have been doing a lot recently), self-reflection can help you gain perspective on life, possibly receive new revelations as well and ultimately, recharge you to face all that life has in stored for you. 

With that, I will leave you with the words of Anna Neagle:
"Solitude is pleasant. Loneliness is not. Each of us has been lonely at some time in our lives and will be again. But if we have known and used the delights of solitude, we have a weapon ready to use against the real anguish of loneliness if it should come."

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