It is inexcusable that times will come in everyone’s life when they will have to be alone; not just for 5 minutes or while waiting for a bus. I mean days, weeks, and years of ‘loneliness.’
Those times may be the result of painful experiences or necessary transitions in your life, but they must come. The good news is that you don’t have to be miserable at such times.
That’s why I’m writing this…
From several studies and personal experiences, I have come to learn that times when you are alone can really be times of blessings and refreshing. And not only are they inevitable, but they are also necessary for you.
Because of this, apart from times when you have no choice but to be alone, you should also consciously initiate times to be alone by yourself, even if you have several choices of being among people.
But the question that fills the mind of many when they have the thought of spending time alone is what in the world will I be doing? How will I cope?
Before I take you through what you will be doing, let’s first consider how you should be doing.
Preparing Yourself for Quality Time Alone
To begin to enjoy times you spend alone if you haven’t before, you must first have a mindset shift.
You must take possession of the moment. You must see it as a desirable moment; if not for the pleasure, for the benefits. It shouldn’t be a ‘necessary evil’ that you will happily run away from on finding an alternative.
This disposition is especially necessary if you are a person who naturally dislikes solitude. You have to take hold of every moment and be in charge of it for you to maximally benefit from it. Don’t just leave the time to chance and flow with anything that comes. You might, through that, open the door to boredom.
I want to take time to emphasize this because it is the biggest factor that affects your experience of spending time alone. Really, we don’t see things as they are but as we are. See spending time alone as something desirable. (At least, you are reading this blog post because you want to spend time alone but don’t know how).
Once you have changed your view about spending time alone and have decided to take hold of the moment to produce something beautiful, you now need to prepare the environment for quality time alone.
Preparing Your Environment for Quality Time Alone
I have personally come to understand that one of the biggest gold mines of spending time alone is that it gives you an avenue to come in contact with yourself (more on this later). Since this is true, you will want to ensure that your time alone is really just you.
Make sure you are truly just by yourself. By this, I don’t mean staying as far as possible from where humans are, but staying as far as possible from the influence of humans: what people think and expect of you, what they have said to you, and how they have treated you.
You have lived every other time with the considerations of others, you don’t want to bring it over to this time. Even if you consider the thoughts and words of people about you, it should be to look at them critically, examining how true they are and how they apply to your life. You shouldn’t take everything in a capsule.
This also becomes important to state since we are in a world greatly influenced by social media. You can’t say you are alone while spending all the time on Facebook— you aren’t doing your own stuff there. It is really not just you.
You must make sure you are in a position where you can reach your heart and do the things that represent you. Here, you’ll be able to put away the definitions of yourself the environment, and expectations of people have given you and truly define yourself.
I have already started examining the first thing you can do while spending time alone that you will really enjoy. Let’s go into it properly.
What To Do While Spending Time Alone
There is no self-discovery without spending time alone. In fact, spending time alone is one of the key three steps of the self-discovery cycle. Although people can be pointers to who you are, there is nobody that has a complete picture of yourself. You must reach deep into your heart to find what is really there.
It takes spending time alone to discover your strengths and passion. It is really frustrating when one keeps investing so much time and effort in activities that give no satisfaction or fulfillment. That’s what happens when you don’t live your passion.
But you can’t fully discover your unalloyed passion without some time alone in self-appraisal. You may discover the things you like by getting yourself into many engagements (you probably will find many things you like), but it takes separating yourself to a place where it is just you to sieve the things you are really passionate about and can commit yourself to for a lifetime from the things you have only a surface flare for.
It is in spending time alone that you streamline your life because you can’t live for everything.
If you are honest enough with yourself, digging into your heart might pull out some dreadful realities within you that you have always covered. (That’s what self-discovery is, after all). Your fears, doubts, limitations, hurts, and insecurities will be brought up, and that may hurt you, but it is necessary if you must be free from them.
You don’t get healed by hiding your hurts or pretending they are not there. You must acknowledge them and bring them to be healed. You don’t overcome your fears by ignoring them. You must face them and fight them.
The longer you ignore the fears and hurts, the deeper and stronger they get and the more difficult it becomes to overcome them and be healed. So the earlier the better. You don’t want to live your life with those negative roots in you; they can only produce negative fruits. The good news is that you can overcome and be healed.
But spending time alone is the first step.
2. Coordinate your life
This is a build-up to self-discovery.
If you really commit yourself to enjoy the benefits that spending time alone brings, you will find that time alone will no longer be a once-in-a-blue-moon activity. You will come to personally appreciate it and look forward to times when you will be all by yourself. It is a gold mine.
On discovering yourself and where you really fit, you will still need quality time alone to coordinate how your discovered life will be lived. How will this be done?
a. Determining where you are currently
That is the first step in living a calculated life. Call it self-appraisal or life appraisal! Here, you look back at your life: the major milestones you have crossed, the opportunities you have missed, the successes have recorded, the things you appreciate the most, and other things you wish never happened…
By identifying them, you begin to realize the mistakes that brought the regrets and the right choices that brought the successes. Sometimes, some of the sad memories might not be things you had control over, but take note of them.
From there, you will know the things you need to spend more time doing and the things you need to stop immediately. You will know the things you need to get better at and the things you need to correct.
However, in identifying your regrets, you shouldn’t settle for self-pity. Remember the entire aim of living a coordinated life is so you can have a predictable future of success but there is no future in self-pity. Pity focuses on impossibilities and doesn’t see a way forward.
The second step in living a calculated life after you have discovered where you are currently is
b. setting life goals
This becomes necessary after you have discovered your passion (what you should live for). You need to set attainable goals within time frames. These goals should consist of transitions in your life that will take you from where you are to where you should be; major happenings, events, and achievements, that must take place within a stipulated period in your life.
Your goals here are not wishes (things you hope would happen) but action steps (things you are ready to make happen and will work on), with a plan of action that will walk you through achieving them.
One way in which I have been able to maximize goal-setting is by first setting long-term goals (at least 10 years ahead). I write down a description of where I want to be in 10 years with regard to my career, personal development, spiritual growth, finances, relationships, ministry, and as many areas as I can identify.
I then begin to reduce these goals into smaller time frames. For example, for me to be worth five million dollars in 10 years, how much must I be worth in 5 years? What must I do this year? How can I start right now?
This will guide you in the books to read, and conferences you should attend, and again it will bring you back to more time alone with yourself as you appraise your level of compliance to the goals and readjust your goals/action steps.
The third step to live in a calculated life is
c. taking strong decisions
This step is embedded throughout the entire process but it is important to spell it out so you can be conscious of it. You need to set rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts for your life over and over again.
You don’t live for everything so you can’t do everything. You might not be able to itemize the list of all your do’s, but you should have a list of strong don’ts (restrictions).
3. Challenge your beliefs
Our lives run on a program of what we believe. We can consciously and only temporarily refuse to tilt to what we would naturally do but in the long run, we can only be who we are. We are what we believe.
However, that is not the whole truth. Although we can’t be who we are not, we can become who we are not yet. What I’m saying in essence is that you can challenge your beliefs.