Finding Solace in Solitude
It’s the classic struggle of living in a human society: we put too much focus on exchanging our own energy with others, rather than on generating and replenishing our energy and refining our individual qualities. More often than not we find ourselves struggling to click into place, feeling at odds with our surroundings no matter where we go or who we’re with. I, for one, feel this constantly. Perhaps you are similar.
We instinctively blame our surroundings or company, assuming that their flaws are what cause our sensations of emptiness. To find the real reasons why we feel consistently alienated, however, we must look inwards. A basic difficulty in relating to the world around us often stems from an inability to fully relate to and understand ourselves.
Your inner monologue should not sound like the voice of a stranger.
Being alone should feel like going home– not like sitting in awkward silence with someone you don’t really know.
If your inner voice sounds like nothing but indistinct chatter that you’re used to dismissively pushing away, then you need to get to know it better. That voice is the only one who will be there when everyone else has gone, and the only one who can be there in ways that others cannot, no matter how present they are in your life. All too often, we neglect our souls and push back our own self-development in a misguided attempt to placate or relate well to others.
I’m working on this issue myself, and trust me– it’s hard. It’s quite possibly the hardest thing you will ever have to do. More often than not, we are the source of our own nightmares.
How does our hollowness affect our honor and authenticity?
If we can’t psychologically and emotionally support ourselves, then we can’t engage successfully with others.
If you don’t know yourself then you cannot have healthy interactions, should you choose to interact, because your lack of familiarity with yourself will likely result in an unwitting failure to be authentic.
If you don’t know yourself well enough to interact genuinely, then you instinctively start filling in the gaps with what you assume the other person wants in order to keep interactions smooth. Don’t accidentally make yourself into a liar by expressing half-baked principles and beliefs that you haven’t taken the time to streamline in solitude. How can we communicate authentically with others if we haven’t even taken the time to learn the languages of our own souls?
And at the end of it all, no matter who you have interacted with and no matter how well it went, the most important thing to bear in mind is this:
Each day and each night, you are your own closest company. Make sure that your own company is good.
No matter what other company you keep, independence is imperative.
Strive to be at your best, by yourself, before you start to focus on relating to others.
When you feel incomplete and alone, the void in your soul creates a vacuum that saps the vitality of everyone you interact with. When all else is said and done, what you really crave is yourself. You crave the sensation of your own completeness, intact and independent.
When you deny yourself this feeling of completeness, you inevitably wind up feeling hollow and turning to those around you to fill the gaps. This places an unfair burden upon the people you interact with, and poisons your own self-perception. When your perception of your own worth begins to root itself in feedback from others rather than in yourself, you begin to misdirect your energy into a never-ending quest for approval.
Instead of giving ourselves the attention we need, we often spend too much of our energy on other people and wind up desperate for them to return it. When other people are handed the responsibility for our validation, they’re being asked to spend energy on something that isn’t theirs. This often makes the other party feel like they’re being pulled into an energy-exchange contract that they never signed. It makes them feel that we’re sapping their energy, which we likely are. We should take the time to generate that energy for ourselves instead.
We cannot look to others for psychological or emotional fulfillment. We must create it for ourselves.
“I’m sick of this. I’ve heard it before, and I still feel alone.”
I don’t blame you for whatever frustration you may feel. Unfortunately, secure solitude isn’t something we can master just by hearing others talk about it– it’s something we have to feel for ourselves. It’s a state of mind that must be experienced, rather than observed. It’s imperative that we take time to get familiar with ourselves so that we learn our own limitations, boundaries and roadblocks.
Once we learn our current restrictions, we can experiment with their pliability and work towards molding them towards something more desirable. These struggles are strictly individual, and no one else can walk that path for you.
Your struggles are your own, and you must soldier through them yourself.
Some suggestions for learning yourself anew:
Step 1: Take time apart. Determine whether the voice of your own mind sounds like that of a stranger. If it does, then get to know yourself better as you would a new friend. Relish some time spent with yourself in solitude. Become familiar with what makes you tick, and learn where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Step 2: Identify the internal limitations that you want to challenge and stretch. Apply your newfound familiarity with yourself to a game plan for actually manifesting those changes.
Step 3: Pick one area at a time and give it your prime focus, while acknowledging that all areas of yourself are connected. That is to say, reassure yourself that you’re killing more birds than you know with the same, single stone, and then try your damnedest to master the throwing of that stone. Hone your energy, and direct it towards your prime self-improvement goal.
Focus on one self-improvement goal and explore it as thoroughly as possible to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts.
What’s the Point?
The only one who can truly help you, is you. You do not need others to make you feel whole, and they cannot make you feel whole. Interaction is necessary for self-development, certainly, but your core should be grounded in yourself and nothing else.
Because you must rely on yourself, you must become your own strong foundation.
Only once you become thoroughly familiar with yourself can you hope to have successful interactions, be they with the shards of your own consciousness or with other sentient creatures.
One day, whether we are truly alone or not, we will inevitably feel that we have no one but ourselves to turn to. And when that day comes, we must be prepared. We don’t want to find that some raw self-interaction during our darkest hour is our first and truest one.