The Importance Of Solitude
When being alone doesn’t mean being lonely..
As a self confessed introvert, I know the importance of ‘alone time’. It gives me the chance to think, and refresh and regroup. I find value in being alone with my thoughts.
This is not to say that I don’t like being social; I do. But in carefully measured doses. The thing is that I find it very difficult to deal with lots of noise, and people talking across each other.
I find my mind wandering, listening to all of the conversations going on around me, even without my trying to do this. The energy my brain then expends on keeping myself present in the conversation I am actually in, leaves me feeling exhausted, and there are times when I just have to get out of that situation, to somewhere quiet, where I can just take a few deep breaths and regroup.
Some people may see me as rude, but that’s not the case. It certainly isn’t what I’m trying to come across as. Sometimes, being in a group of people leaves me feeling so lost, and tongue tied, and (yes, really!) alone. It never ceases to amaze me how it’s possible to feel so completely alone in a room full of people, but it is.
Sometimes (most of the time), I refer to myself as socially inept. The fact is that I’m okay on a one to one basis, and even in groups of two or three people, but any group larger that, and I find myself lapsing into silence, tongue tied and only able to focus on listening to the conversation going on around me.
Even if you say socially inept is too strong a word, I am most definitely socially uncomfortable… and I have had to learn to accept that as simply being a part of my personality, and something that I don’t think will ever change dramatically.
The people who know me well, know this about me, and they also know the me that comes out in a smaller group of people. They know the me that cracks up laughing at the silly things animals do, and the me that cries at the end of movies, and the me that has opinions, and isn’t afraid to express them, and they know the me that has so many creative ideas firing around inside my brain at any given moment that they can almost see the cogs turning.
These are my people.
The thing is, that just because I’m quiet socially, it doesn’t mean that my brain is. More often than not, the quieter I am, the more loud and shouty my brain is being, and I’ve learned to be okay with that too.
Some people who are most definitely extroverts, will say that they can’t imagine anything worse than a couple of hours of solitude, and I can understand that. In the same way that being with people constantly would simply be too much for me, I can imagine that being alone would be too much for them.
The key here is to use the time of solitude carefully and cleverly. It is often in those still, quiet times, that the greatest revelations come to me, and I think this shows in my creative pursuits.
I have found that if I have my time of solitude first thing in the morning, then I am far more likely to have a productive day. I can get on with what I want to do without worrying about anything else, and once I’ve done that, I feel free and lighter, and more able to socialise. I think this is partly because I’ve given myself that time to decompress, and empty my brain.
I know this won’t work for everyone, and there are probably many people who disagree with me, but this is my process. It is what I have found works for me.
Your job is to find a way that works for you, to balance out your need for society and for solitude.
Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.