Solitude is Bliss
Men, in essence, are social beings. From proven statements from biology, neuroscience, psychology, and more, it is a fact that we’re better when we’re not alone. Yet the unprecedented pandemic, along with the government’s efforts to control the disease — quarantine, social distancing, and isolation — has holistically disrupted our quality of life, especially our social well-being. As the strain to cope in the unfamiliar setting of social isolation is still ongoing, being alone during these trying times is anticipated, yet often unlooked, for it’s nearly impossible not to feel lonely.
According to Mary Sarton, a Belgian-American poet, “Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self” and I couldn’t agree more. Loneliness is a state of depreciation, characterized by the feeling of alienation and emptiness. On the contrary, solitude is a state of appreciation, portrayed by the endearment of one’s own company. From the outside, both solitude and loneliness look identical; however, the resemblance ends at the surface. Where solitude repairs the mind and body, loneliness deposes them.
Over the course of lockdowns, I have experienced both, yet more so in loneliness. While I countlessly stayed inside my room with myself, moldering with my thoughts of self-doubts, the heavy urge to please the opinions and judgments of others consumed my head. My chase for acceptance was nonstop as there was a constant feeling of being watched. The discomfort worsened as I fought my battles alone. Unknowingly, I spiraled through the deep and pervasive loneliness. I became emotionally and mentally exhausted; I knew I was losing myself. As I was sleepwalking towards the edge of my precipice, reality hit me. I soon realized it is all in the mental perception of the present matter because being alone is not black and white. Now I know that having time for myself is a privilege I took for granted.
It is often overlooked, as taking time for yourself is recurrently viewed as selfish and unproductive, yet it is the opposite in my book. I have learned the beauty of solitude; its independence is its essence of sophistication. Solitude heightened my self-awareness. Being alone is a chance to pause and reflect on me: to hear how I sound, see how I look, feel what I want, and smell the flowers along the way. It is a chance to take a break from seeing myself through the eyes of others and learning how I feel on the inside. I could cry or panic — scream if I wanted to. From there, I could just be me, finally having my peace of mind. With subtleness, solitude’s influence has a profound impact on how I see and treat myself for the better. It is the revelation of my authenticity’s core — by knowing who I am and being comfortable with my own skin.
Ultimately, my cultivated personal growth thrives as I encourage myself to create value through scarcity by unraveling the wonders within the grace of solitude. How about you? What’s your personal growth story in the lockdown period?
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