THE LIMITS OF DELIBERATE SOLITUDE
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
You can isolate yourself from society, from people, from news, from expectations, from a lifestyle that does not suit you. Some do it for a time, to take a step back and better find themselves, some create different sustainable ways of living that align with their values, others do it for spiritual reasons and some just don’t want to be constantly overstimulated. People do it in various ways, but I believe the reason to be the same: there is undoubtedly a certain peace and harmony that comes from solitude. You start to hear your true self, as opposed to everyone and everything that has been imposed on you since you were born.
In this time and age, it seems that many of us are sensitive to our well-being and prioritise finding healthier habits, much more than some of the generations before us. Mental health, slowing down and living a meaningful life is at the forefront of our conversations ; which is great in raising our consciousness as a collective. I’m personally seeing a lot of folks in my holistic health community openly talk about their need for regular time alone to recharge and the importance of healthy space away from others and their opinions, constant need for control and fear projection.
God knows I’ve chosen to be rather inactive socially for the past couple of years. It somehow felt like a long overdue time for myself, as if I was retaking my power - and although it did me a lot of good and still does, it is in these strange times of pandemic coming with social distancing and more recently tragic moments such as the murder of George Floyd (may he rest in peace) that I was strongly reminded that we are all part of this world and all responsible for it. We are oneness. Whether you like it or not, aim to dissociate yourself from it or not, or simply want to be left alone, you are part of the whole. It’s actually a little tricky, with the rise of social media and virtual human relations, not to be comfortable in your own virtual bubble, but at some point you’re going to have to look at this world and ask yourself what part you want to play in it: how can I love others? How can I show up for things that matter? How can I introduce more of what I like into the world? How can I fully live in harmony?
Throughout 2019-2020, I was quite keen to be by myself and did not enjoy staying around friends as much. I can’t say that I was completely alone as I was spending most of my free time with my partner, taking part in collective yoga classes and I would always have housemates and work colleagues around… but whenever I could, I just wanted to be left alone, doing activities that I liked in nature or at home and reflect on things that mattered to me. I have not owned a TV for a while now and I have refused to follow the mainstream news and gossips spammed at us, unless necessary or if something caught my attention and resonated with me. I would feed myself documentaries, read about spirituality, ancient civilisations, as well as alternative ways of living and thinking. I followed people on social media that I looked up to and inspired me. I felt best in my own world, the one that I created for myself. I would avoid staying on the phone too often and for too long, I did not seem to find it important to give people news about myself or ask them about their daily lives either. I would be there if they wanted to talk to me about something specific, if they sought advise or needed a good friend to listen to them or exchange opinions with, but anything more futile than that simply didn’t catch my interest anymore. It drained me. I also felt this sense of opposition whenever I would see a toxic behaviour in someone and rather than face it with kindness, I preferred to just cut the person out of my life. I was getting more and more socially awkward and uncomfortable, even with some of my closest friends and family members. I did not enjoy small talk with colleagues, I quite frankly suffered through it, and I desired to break free from repetitive work and social routines expected of me. I do want to say that even though I was experiencing this, I still felt a profound love for everyone around me and for humanity as a whole. I always have and always will.
I guess I was just pressing the pause button in this fast-paced way of living, that often feels like it lacks sense, justice, and kindness. I think that, like many others out there, I had gone through various experiences throughout my teens and I was simply trying to make sense of who I was now. It’s always by taking a step back that one sees clearer and although I hadn’t put words on it in the past, I was now documenting myself on terms such as: old soul, free spirit, introvert, gypsy soul, highly-sensitive (HSP), fear of abandonment, ADHD, shadow work, healing of emotional childhood wounds, not living in the present moment, breaking free of toxic patterns, lack of self-confidence, fear of making choices, depression, low self esteem, people pleasing, emotional eating, fear of conflict, passiveness, excessive emotions, mood swings, addictions, not releasing energy properly, and even social anxiety.
Throughout all this, I simply forgot that it is in the little things such as human interaction that you get to experience the true essence of life. It’s not by hiding yourself from others and from the world that you’re going to find the answers. It’s by speaking up for yourself and honouring who you are. It’s by connecting with people that you experience joy and get to discover what existence is about. There has to be balance in everything and you don’t have to follow what others want all the time – you must actually protect your mental space to an extent - but you’ve also got to learn to appreciate people for what they are and acknowledge the value they bring to your life. Quite recently, I felt a huge relief, as if my work was done and I could go back into the world. I felt a loud and clear voice telling me that I am part of this physical world and here for a reason; and the loved ones in my life, are here by my side, for a reason too. I am an introverted, anxious, spiritual, and highly sensitive person but I’m also vibrant, eccentric, creative and full of love and life. I must be fully present. Now.