Life is so hectic these days with so much to cram into every 24 hours that we often find that we’re exhausted at the end of each day fulfilling all of our personal and professional commitments and yet there’s still hardly enough time for sleep before we have to do it all over again.
A popular song in the early 80s entitled “I’ve Never Been To Me” by a singer called Charlene sums this up brilliantly. It tells of a woman who had travelled all over the world and had some amazing experiences yet upon reflection, she’d discovered that although she had made some incredible journeys, been to some beautiful places and met some incredible people, she’d never got around to discovering the most important thing in her world – herself.
The song is mentioned as it sums up a truly important aspect of personal development which is to make time for yourself. We can only ever experience life fully if we’ve made the journey inside ourselves first.
It takes time, silence, solitude and courage to explore oneself but the payoff is a greater self understanding, an inner peace and freedom. It also leads to better psychological and physical health.
You’ll no doubt know of many people who simply can’t bear to be alone. They might not necessarily feel lonely, although they often will, but they simply fear being alone or just don’t feel comfortable with their own company and, whilst it is important to have a good social network of friends we can call upon, it is equally important to be comfortable with your own company sometimes and to spend the odd hour or two in solitude now and again simply gathering your thoughts, enjoying yourself or learning new things or doing something else if you’re serious about fulfilling your own personal growth.
Some Ideas for Spending Time Alone
Spending time alone can involve a combination of simply being quiet and still and exploring your inner self and can also incorporate hobbies, pastimes or other activities too.
To discover yourself, you need silence and to find a quiet spot in which to reflect and to let your ‘inner voice’ be heard. Meditation can be very useful but if you don’t want to get too deeply into that, simply switch off in a quiet place and just let your mind wander. You can find out an awful lot about yourself by noting down any thoughts that you simply allow to naturally flow through your mind during this quiet time.
How often do you relax and have the TV or radio on in the background yet realise you’re not even really watching or listening? Next time that happens, turn these appliances off because in that instance, they are merely distractions. By freeing yourself of distractions and slowing down your mind, you’ll feel more at peace with the world and, ultimately, when it’s time to be focused again, you’ll find that you’re much more productive.
Your Inner Self
Examine your inner self. Take time to write down a few paragraphs of your current experiences and the way they make you feel. Jot down what is currently making you happy, sad, angry or frustrated. In doing this, you can analyse what reactions are negative and look for constructive changes you might be able to make which you may not have previously had time to identify which can enable you to harbour more positive thoughts.
Curl up with a good book. It’s a great way to spend time in solitude yet simultaneously feel that someone is communicating with you which, in effect, they are doing, in words. Listen to music but actively listen to it. So many of us will have music playing which is simply there in the background whilst we’re doing something else. However, if you set aside time to solely listen to music, you’ll find that by properly ‘tuning in’, you’ll find the experience much more spiritually uplifting.
Work on something creative. It could be writing, drawing, painting, playing a musical instrument but tapping into your creativity whilst alone is a great way of going on a voyage of self-discovery.
If you have time and you feel tired, take a nap. Sometimes a short respite from the world can invigorate you.
Go for a long walk now and then and just think. Spending time alone with your thoughts can be great fun. You can often people watch or see some beautiful aspect of nature and notice things that you wouldn’t ordinarily notice if you were out and about with friends.
Take an impromptu trip on a bus or train and just watch the world go by and let your thoughts go where they take you. Go into the garden of an evening and star gaze if the sky’s clear. Many people find star gazing an extremely relaxing and spiritually uplifting activity. Or, spend time near or on water. A babbling brook or gently flowing river is always a great place to find solitude and to be with oneself.
There’s no limit to the things you can do on your own and the various ways you can make solitude time be very beneficial for your own personal development. The important thing is making the time for this.