Happiness can be described as a state of wholeness where you feel content and at peace with your surroundings. To achieve this coveted state with yourself and life, you do not need to be in the company of others.
We often feel the fear creep up on us that we’re going to end up alone. It scares us all and even causes some of us to make compromises.
Fear can make us accept something we do not really want. But there is a better way to enjoy life. And find happiness. You just need to learn to enjoy your own company, revel in the absolutely breathtaking design of who you are.
There is glory in that, which we often fail to grasp when we’re in the company of others.
There is a host of arguments that back up the belief that being alone can bring ultimate happiness.
Being alone also contributes to your happiness.
Because it is almost impossible to achieve such a level of happiness with others until you really know yourself and are comfortable being alone with just you.
You might find someone who says, “I know you more than you know yourself.” But that is just plain manipulation.
No one else can truly take a deep dive into who we are.
Being alone means you are free to do as you please. You are free to lead your life the way you want to. And more importantly, when you are alone you have more room to self-reflect.
And that adds value to who you are as a person. You can shape who you are on your own terms. On terms that are not shaped by what others think.
What is “Alone?”
Being alone means to not be under anyone else’s influence.
When we are with other people, we are constantly under the influence of others. We change our thoughts and actions, either intentionally or unintentionally.
But when we go beyond the fences of how others define us, there is a whole new horizon we can look at.
Being alone gives us room to expand the idea of who we are. This, in turn, means that the idea of who we are translates into what we do.
This is not to say that you need to become a Buddha and just go out into the jungle, although, the idea does seem pleasing for introverts!
Happiness lies in finding that perfect harmony between *me-time* and *people-time*.
Taking time to be alone can be a source of fulfillment because you can distance yourself from what is happening in the world, in your life.
This promotes a certain quality of introspection. It allows you to get to know yourself better and to become aware of the signals that your own body is trying to send you.
These are signals, like muscle tension, fatigue, or on the contrary fulfillment, that we do not listen to because we are often in action.
Realize that your best friend is ‘you’.
What A Lovely Surprise To Finally Discover How Unlonely Being Alone Can Be.” – Ellen Burstyn
When you let it be, you can find ecstasy in being alone. There is a release when you are not surrounded by onlookers. This release makes you want to be ‘you’. The pleasure it brings has been long touted by many thinkers and doers.
But it is something to be felt. To be cherished. And I feel that we all must take time out to know ourselves, and spend time with ourselves.
Being alone is nothing short of a luxury when you are surrounded by friends and family who *expect* you to be a certain way all the time.
Better to be by myself than with someone who makes me feel all by myself.
What Does Loneliness Mean To You?
Loneliness is often looked on as a vulnerability, a negative emotion that tends to isolate a person. It makes them extra conscious of who they are.
And it makes them doubt the people around them. They begin to think that there is no meaningful connection between them and the people close to them.
This isn’t to say that this emotion is not valid. Of course it is.
People who experience depression and anxiety go through this emotion repeatedly.
However, the emotion itself is detrimental to their wellbeing. Loneliness is an unwanted emotion that seeps into who you are as a person.
It makes you create a distance between you and your loved ones. You start to be critical of their presence in your life. And anything they do doesn’t bring you satisfaction.
Loneliness also comes from inner dissatisfaction. It makes you feel empty and unwanted. While you look for human connection, you don’t find yourself deserving of love and affection.
This emotion makes us want to create a fortress around us. Such people are hard to approach, and they even go unnoticed because of how they always prefer to lurk in the shadows. Away from any sort of attention.
But like any other emotion, loneliness too has different manifestations in different people. Even though, in essence, we are all the same, we differ from each other in a myriad of ways.
What I find comforting can be taxing for the next person. So, rather than following other people and accepting their experiences as the ultimate truth, you should contemplate and discover what loneliness means to you.
How Do People End Up Alone?
Being alone often gets a bad rap, and that’s how we end up asking about a person, “how did they *end* up alone?”
It’s like we’re looking for some sort of a negative experience to tie the knots of our inquisition about a person’s inclination to be alone.
But anyway, there are often reasons that compel people to isolate themselves. And they are worth mulling over.
Not By Choice
Some people end up alone because they have lost a loved one. They are taken away by disease, old age, or some sort of falling out that created an uncrossable divide.
This negative experience subjects them to the feeling of loneliness. Where they believe that the only person that they ever loved, the person that understood them the most is not with them anymore.
This leads to a feeling of isolation which can translate to depression and social isolation.
Some people end up alone when they get divorced. They want to avoid the questions that people ask about what happened and so on, so they choose to be alone.
A divorce can also leave you in a place where you’re so scared of living through that negative experience again.
Alone By Choice
Then there are people who choose to be alone. Again, this could be for a lot of reasons. And the ones mentioned below do not even amount to a drop in the ocean. But we will take a look anyway.
Most people have pent-up insecurities that determine how they act around people. It can be easy to be extremely self-critical with ourselves when we’re bombarded with “perfect” people in the media every day.
Seeing these “ideal” people and relationships can really make one start to count all the ways they’re lacking. Even when you know that what we see in the media isn’t the whole truth, it can make you self conscious about so many things in life: your job, your appearance, your house…
Our everyday life requires us to interact with lots of people throughout the day. And it is more than likely that most of the people we have to interact with will get on our nerves for various reasons.
And even if they’re good people around you, social gatherings, meetings, and personal interactions can get taxing, especially for introverts.
This starts to reflect on a person’s emotional, mental, as well as, physical health. And when that starts happening, people that are a little self-aware start to distance themselves from others to regroup, and relax.
Is Choosing To Be Alone On Purpose Ok?
You can’t be comfortable with the world without being comfortable with yourself.
Choosing to find solitude can be very pleasant for several reasons. First of all, it leaves all the freedom to be in tune with yourself. To have time to listen to yourself. To put our various priorities in order. And to eliminate the clutter from your life.
It is also great for indulging in new creative ideas. By being alone, and truly open to the world, we no longer censor ourselves on what is suitable or not.
This makes it easier to open up and it is easier to let go of whatever comes our way. In this way, being alone can strongly resemble meditation. We stay calm with what comes, without agitation with everything around and that is pleasant.
If you sometimes need a reminder, look for a list of the best meditation quotes to get you started.
When something is wrong, we can tend to get agitated. By being alone, we have the time and the availability to observe what is happening. To see things from a broader perspective, and in hindsight.
Loneliness also facilitates letting go and by extension leads to creative solutions. And all of that is what we cannot see when our field of consciousness is reduced, and when we do not possess a certain inner peace.
Alone vs Loneliness and Social Isolation
Being alone signifies the state of someone who is alone momentarily or usually. And it is sometimes chosen. It does not necessarily equate with unhappiness either, as we have mentioned previously.
[Bear with us]
Being alone also allows you to refocus on yourself. To think. To meditate.
On the other hand, social isolation is the situation in which a person finds himself alone because of a lack of sufficient, healthy relations with other people. And that causes them to suffer and feel isolated.
Lonely people have little or no connections within the main social networks (family, professional, friendly, neighborhood, associative…) and suffer from this imposed situation.
Now being alone is an important part of the human condition and can even become enviable. It is even sometimes necessary to sustain intimacy in relationships.
However, isolation can indeed be weakening or prove to be destructive to a social bond and an individual; for after all, we are social beings that crave love, affection, and understanding from others.
Social Isolation and Mental health
Let’s talk a bit about science and loneliness.
Loneliness has negative effects not only on mental health, but also on your physical health.
Chronic stress caused by isolation attacks the immune system and causes inflammation, a problem associated with various diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and arthritis.
It cab also modify the endocrine activity of the body. Isolated people show a higher level of antibodies associated with increased pain, depression, and chronic fatigue.
Isolation even interferes with the functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system, which can lead to heart problems.
The isolated person lives in a state of permanent hypervigilance which can create sleep disturbances and increase the risk of morbidity and mortality.
Imagine the effects of isolation on an elderly person already weakened by other health problems.
Being part of a tribe and being together is in our genes.
The idea is that you take the time out for yourself and enjoy being alone. But do not isolate yourself.
Isolation Is a Risk Factor for Drug Abuse
Social isolation can be a risk factor for abuse. Loneliness is stronger in drug abusers. And that tends to develop in them a sense of being different than the rest.
Which, in turn, triggers the behavior of taking high risk behaviors such as taking drugs.
This creates a vicious circle that is difficult to break out of.
The Harmful Effects of Isolation on the Brain
Being isolated can lead to depression and cause a loss of appetite. Combined together, these symptoms can lead to mild dementia and quickly lead to loss of thinking and memory skills, thus, contributing to Alzheimer’s disease.
Isolation has been shown to be as dangerous to health as obesity, alcoholism, and smoking. In addition to increasing the risk of dementia and cognitive regression, it is associated with higher levels of depression and suicide.
Conversely, the presence of caring and loving people contributes to a better quality of life.
We are what we repeatedly do. It means that what we choose to do now has repercussions for our old age. And after 65 years, neurons wear out and die much more quickly if they are not used.
So learning, meditating, being in touch with others, and exercising are the best ways to keep our neurons strong for as long as possible. And, therefore, to avoid mental health issues down the line.
Why Are You Happier Alone?
Consciously choosing to be alone brings feelings of happiness which in turn has positive effects on our lives. There can be a plethora of reasons why we feel more content when we are consciously investing ourselves in the quality ‘me-time’.
There’s a general understanding that being happy involves extraversion. Because only then is one able to really feel happiness.
That’s just nonsense. Extroverts tend to be more euphoric and enthusiastic because of their dopamine release which leads people to believe that extroverts are happier.
Extroverts are blazing campfires, introverts are charcoal fires that warm and burn for a long time – longer than the campfires.
Their sense of happiness is exactly the same. Introverts not only feel happiness as exuberantly, but they can also be more resilient if something goes wrong.
With introverts, the feeling goes deeper, more into the meditative.
Introverts can be like Buddhist monks who find their happiness measurable in meditation. And that’s great counter-evidence!
Reevaluating Your Life/Healing
Anyone who equates solitude with loneliness or depression or being a misfit fails to recognize the positive effects of being alone.
A few centuries ago, the temporary social break was considered the path to spirituality, creativity, intellectual purification, and maturity.
The greatest mentors on this planet – Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, Jesus – all spent long periods alone with themselves. They practiced mental hygiene by choosing solitude over company.
Some artists as well, including Beethoven, Kafka and Newton, drew numerous inspirations and great creative power from their phases of self-isolation and seclusion.
When we are alone we not only recover physically and mentally, but sometimes even perform better than in a community.
The overstimulation we get in these modern times leads to more and more people consciously isolating themselves from time to time. Digital detox is when people want to be alone undisturbed and leave digital contact options – especially smartphones and computers – switched off.
The Benefits of Being Alone
We’ve talked a great deal on being alone and have tried to explain why being alone is not all that bad. Let’s list down some of the greatest benefits of being alone.
In everyday life we often only worry about what others think and what behavior is expected of us. But those who learn to be alone can learn a lot about themselves during this time.
By being alone, you become aware, for example, of what is good for you, what is harmful to you, which factors trigger stress, and what you have to do to find peace again.
This also helps you become aware of your goals and plan the steps it will take to achieve them.
Refresh and Recharge
The most relaxing leisure activities are often solo events: reading, being in nature, listening to music, napping, doing nothing, going for a walk, swimming, daydreaming.
Most people have made the realization that rest and relaxation breaks work best when you go through them alone. Incidentally, this does not mean that they are unsociable or even anti-social, but only that they do not consider contact with other people to be particularly relaxing.
Extroverts and introverts respond very similarly. Extroverts mentioned chats and meetings with friends more often, but they, too, ultimately choose solo activities to recharge themselves.
Calming the Mind and Spirit
Being alone brings a sense of calm that is unparalleled. Provided that you actually enjoy being alone. There is a whole list of activities that you can do in order to experience that sense of calmness wash over you.
You could read a book. Watch the sea from the shore. Listen to the birds chirping as you spend the evening on a park bench. All of that amounts to bringing your mind and spirit in a wholesome connection with each other.
The focus of attention is always on the fact that togetherness makes you happy and satisfied. Less attention is paid to the fact that people who like to spend time alone are often particularly intelligent.
A study was able to show that being with others makes many people happier – but this finding did not apply to the subjects who were particularly intelligent.
For them, the effect turned around and the more social they got, the more dissatisfied they were with the situation.
As a possible explanation, the researchers provide the focus on their own, especially long-term, goals. Smart people often have big and clear plans that they want to turn into action.
There just isn’t enough time to spend time in good company several times a week while working on big goals. This distracts from the actual goals and makes you unhappy as a result.
Whether Being Alone is a Choice or not, Happiness is a Choice
There are certain people who are biologically destined to be introverts or extroverts. It is given to them by their genes. The purpose of this article is to not overshadow the depth of happiness that extroverts feel.
Not at all!
But we will emphasize the power of a quality me-time. That power has the capacity to bring your happiness. To make you satisfied with who you are and what you do.
Happiness is not a matter of personality type, rather it’s a constant choice that you make.
It’s a sequence of decisions you make when you prioritize yourself over obligations to others, expectations of others, etc.
Change the Way You See Being Alone
Often our loved ones cannot understand why someone feels the need to withdraw and to be by themselves from time to time. Being alone does not have a good reputation in society.
Those who just want to be alone and have their peace and quiet are quickly referred to as eccentric or boring.
Being alone does not mean that you cannot feel comfortable in the company of others. Among other things, it is such misunderstandings that make it difficult to stay alone without being pigeonholed right away.
The need for alone time is already difficult enough to implement, even without an environment that reinforces the fears associated with being alone.
The fear of not being good enough. One can hide well in a group. If you are alone, however, the probability increases – both for yourself and for others – to discover your own weaknesses.
The fear of social exclusion. Most people join a group and want to belong. Those who stay alone run the risk of being excluded from their social environment.
The mistake of equating loneliness with being alone that many make. They generally associate being alone with loneliness. They think of social isolation, desolation, maybe even depression.
The Ways Being Alone can Change You
The greatest minds of humanity have often found great insights about themselves and the world in times of solitude, as has already been mentioned in this article.
Here we delve into how it can change YOU.
You finally have time for yourself
Do your nails in peace, put the pictures in new frames, and redecorate the bathroom. So much of the “freestyle” of life is left lying next to the flood of obligations. Now you have time for it.
Opportunity to reflect … Where am I?
The hectic pace of our time and permanent distractions from an overwhelming flood of information – all of this obstructs the ever-important view of us and our lives.
Self-reflection is our ability to leave patterns that the environment has imposed on us. If you don’t know why certain things keep repeating themselves, you can use the time alone for a friendly question and answer session.
Where do I want to go, what is preventing me from doing it, where is my part in it?
The peasant wisdom says that insight is still the first path to improvement.
You get to know your emotional world better
Many people don’t even know what exactly they are feeling. Only in quiet and honest contact with ourselves do we find an expression for what moves us.
Should we distance ourselves from strange friendships that we don’t really understand? If so, how would that feel?
An example of many, many possibilities to make unexpected discoveries while flying through your individual emotional cosmos.
You become more productive
Organizing a project or your whole existence without the distraction of children, friends or colleagues, of course, creates better results in less time. No matter what you’ve always wanted to get ready: Now is the opportunity!
You enjoy relationships more intensely
Because you become more mindful people through the positive attitude to being alone, including all the associated advantages, all friendly, family and amorous relationships acquire a completely new, significantly clearer and intense quality.
Give it a try – you will see who really counts, where the joy of a phone call is particularly great or where you are more excited than before to meet.
You become more independent
You’ll become more charismatic. You no longer seek the closeness of other people – but your clear independence from others makes you more attractive to them.
Codependency isn’t sexy. That may sound shocking to some. But we all feel the charisma of someone who appreciates confirmation but doesn’t need it.
The Takeaway: Being Alone is Not the Same as Being Lonely
Finding happiness in being alone can be as simple as knowing you have sole possession of the remote control.
If you’re still asking yourself how to find happiness alone, remember that being alone is not the same thing as being lonely.
When you are at peace with yourself, you can have a lot of fun with what interests you and confidently wander through the days and weeks.
Doing so frees you a little from this often excruciating, completely unnecessary need for confirmation and validation from others. Free at last!