Some people might look at solitude with scepticism or even fear. The term ‘solitude’ itself could indeed seem scary – it is often associated with loneliness. In times when we are more connected than ever, solitude seems to suggest a shift away from the society and into a reclusive life.
However, loneliness and solitude are different. While loneliness is something that we don’t choose, solitude is intentional; while loneliness could still happen even when you are with some people, solitude is about being alone without being lonely.
Solitude would probably be best described as comprehensive me-time – a period to not only enjoy solitary activities, but also to do some self-reflection and contemplation. It’s about developing your thoughts and sense of self without any external ‘noise’; getting to know what you really want without any influence from peers or advertisements, what your priorities are if there are no demands from without. When there are too many choices, solitude provides a way to understand what really matters to you.
When networking and socialising are seen as the only way to get to the top in life, those who choose to apply solitude might come off as eccentric or even selfish. However, solitude could be seen as a way to refresh oneself in order to be able to give better contribution to your surroundings. It could enable you to distance yourself from any issues/problems that you are in and see the big picture. Understanding other people’s perspective would also be easier when you understand yourself.
While interaction with others might inform you with more insights, solitude could give you the time to digest those insights and information. Instead of being exclusively social or solitary, both sides should be used to complement each other.
All in all, while solitude might get a bad rep, it could actually work wonders. Don’t feel bad if you prefer to stay in by yourself this weekend – you might actually be doing yourself a favour.