Do you ever find yourself in a crowd while traveling to work feeling lonely and lost in time? Or do you ever see yourself not prepared enough for your college group party?
But you find bliss in reading a book alone at night with a cup of hot coffee next to you? We are living in the most connected time in human history. One could be a part of multiple WhatsApp or Facebook groups and yet feel isolated.
Loneliness – being alone in a crowd
Loneliness can be defined as an unpleasant response to being alone whereas solitude is a state of seclusion, by will.
Everybody feels lonely from time to time. But over the last few years, this occasional feeling has now become chronic for millions. It is an individual experience; if you feel lonely, you are lonely.
A common misconception around loneliness is that it only happens to people who are introverts or those who are socially awkward. The truth is, an actor can feel lonely even when surrounded by millions of fans each day. This is because they lack a solid companionship. This implies that an individual always has a choice when it comes to accepting solitude, though it is not true for loneliness.
Why are we lonely?
We seek acceptance and belongingness from the people we are surrounded with. We build certain expectations from them, which we expect them to fulfill. It’s not always the case that these ‘certain’ expectations, usually high, are matched upon.
We then start to detach ourselves from groups which we were once very comfortable in. We start to obsess over people for not fulfilling our expectation and this gives a negative perception of being alone. This, in turn, causes loneliness, and the cycle begins.
Finding Individuality = Finding Yourself
Your approach towards being lonely and being alone can be separated by your level of comfort with yourself. With the constant need for being socially accepted, we are losing the essence of being a human being. Surrounding ourselves and defining our actions by peer pressures, we lose our individuality as we let the trends influence our actions. We are constantly surrounded by the media which is bombarding our brains with their content, ideas, which at some point will result in us losing our identity.
‘Me’ time for solitude
There are many ways in which one can learn to enjoy their time alone in solitude. And they all begin from you, and your day.
- Make a Schedule (and Follow it):
Distribute your time wisely towards your business and pleasure. Assert yourself for having an hour without any distractions and without any work.
You ideally don’t need a group to go for a run, join a gym, or to do yoga. Meditation has been found to be a better alternative to reflect and connect with yourself.
- Indulge, but don’t Invest:
It is good to be a shoulder for your friends, but you don’t have to be that person for everyone. Allot time for yourself.
- Initiate new projects for yourself:
Start having short-term goals for your future, it could – finishing a 900-page book in a week, learning a new musical instrument, or running a full Marathon. It helps you reach your full potential.
Greatness can only be achieved if you learn to separate yourself from the monotony of this world and harness all of your focus towards your goals. The general norms of the society towards individuals being alone can be summarized as an introvert, though incorrect.
One can achieve the greatness that they wish for by devoting time to themselves and being the best possible version of themselves.
“Because our culture places such a high value on sociability, it can be deeply awkward to have to explain how much at certain points the need to be alone. Unless, we are alone, we are at risk of forgetting who we are.” – The School of Life (YouTube)
Omkar Kulkarni is a self-proclaimed art appreciator, a certified film reviewer and someone’s favorite human being.