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When should you be alone? - A guide to finding balance between company and solitude

Spending time alone gives us the confidence of being an individual. It reminds us that we are not always validated by the people around us by but by our own beliefs and self-worth.

Being alone can come with a lot of baggage attached to it. How much time should one really spend alone? Does being alone for a long time make you a loner? Does it make you lose friends? Does it aide your self-improvement?

It's difficult to find the right answers to all of these questions. Which is why I decided to take a shot at this topic. I want to discuss what being alone really means and when are the times you should be alone and when should you not.

Disclaimer: This is not going to be 100% applicable to each and every one of you so feel free to customise this according to your needs and personality type.

It's easier for some people than others to spend time alone or by themselves. But I feel that everyone should spend atleast a little time by themselves. It's not only going to make you feel more comfortable with yourself but is also going to help you get to know yourself better. And that is the most important relation that one needs to form because that's the one that's going to last a lifetime.

So, what does being alone really mean? We certainly do a few tasks like chores or some amount of work by ourselves. But that doesn't qualify as alone time. Time that is intentionally spent in one's own company falls under alone time. Whether it's indulging in a hobby, eating a meal by yourself, reading or listening to music, journalling, meditating, working out or just being, as long as it is intentional, it is alone time.

Spending time alone can come with a lot of benefits. Firstly, it let's us be ourself. A lot of times, our behaviour is shaped by the people around us or the situations we face. We adjust ourselves to face those and alter our personalities to adapt to them. Being alone lets you be yourself. The unaltered, uncompromised version of yourself. And it's important to be that every once in a while to remind ourself of who we really are.

Secondly, it let's us tap into our emotions. By constantly being in company or in a social environment our emotions are going around in a whirlwind and they are not always channelised or digested properly. Being alone gives us the opportunity to get to know what's going on and deal with that. It is like taking out the trash. The bin needs to be emptied before it can be filled up again.

Thirdly it let's us get to know ourself a lot better. A lot of the things we can do for self-improvement fall under 'alone time'. Things like journalling, meditating, planning, forming habits, etc need a lot of internal drive and motivation. This can be cultivated through quality time spent by ourself. Being alone let's us nurture our desires and goals in life. It gives us a better insight of ourself.

Lastly, it shapes your identity. When we are alone, we are not under any kind of external influence. We can form our opinions and outlook towards things in an unbiased way. We can build our personalities and traits that reflect as our identity. Spending time alone gives us the confidence of being an individual. It reminds us that we are not always validated by the people around us by but by our own beliefs and self-worth.

So in order to make the best of the advantages listed above, we should spend time by ourselves every once in a while. However if you are someone like me who spends a lot of time by themselves, you need to keep in mind that it can get a little bit addictive and habitual if we don't keep a check over it. I spend a healthy amount of time alone but there are times when I need to be reminded of the world out there. So here is when you shouldn't be alone but should take efforts to be in company and try to enjoy others' presence:

  • Whenever you have spent a considerable amount of time by yourself, say like a whole afternoon or even an enitre day, try and switch it out by being in some company. Whether it's family, a friend or a group, but make sure you don't overdo your alone time.

  • Whenever you start feeling bored by yourself or you feel that unnecessary emotions are starting to get to you, try and be in company. After our fair share of alone time, the brain switches to 'an empty mind is a devil's workshop' mode. It can bring up feelings of negativity, self-depreciation or even loneliness which not may not always be true. It can many a times be your mind playing tricks. So seek company actively at such times to see whether those feelings fade away. Most of the times, they will.

  • For more introverted people, who use alone time as a recharge, it takes more efforts on their part to be in company because the people around them know that they require a lot of time alone. In such scenarios it is important to communicate your needs of being in company to your friends and family and taking the intitiative for spending time with your loved ones.

  • Whenever you're having a dull or a down day and it's not really being cured by tackling your emotions or spending time alone, try and meet people and see if that helps. Most of the times, these problems are solved by either alone time or by company. So in times of confusion, give both of them a shot!

Company has equal benefits as alone time. One is not greater or more valued than the other. It is just a matter of preference and to know what our mind needs. More often than not, this choice can be made best with out intuition. Our intuition will help keep that balance. And when it doesn't, you can always come back to this post for help!

So, don't stress over it too much and reap the benefits of alone time and company to suit your needs. I hope you find the balance.

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