As human beings, we need each other. Beyond just what we experience emotionally,, scientifically speaking, it’s actually been proven that lack of social connections can have consequences on our health and life experiences. Scientist Matthew Lieberman once shared “different cultures have different beliefs about how important social connection and interdependence are to our lives. We are not meant to live this life alone and go along as if there is no one else in the world. We need each other.”
All of this being said, there are parts of our journey that we have to embrace going solo. My friend Megan has this daily ritual of walking the beach in the morning. What a peaceful way to start the day, right? She does this solo. No one goes with her (though, she’ll keep me honest as I think the dogs may join her from time to time :). It’s her time. And she downloads so much during that time, much that she then also shares, vulnerably and bravely with others. I think I can safely say and get your agreement in the truth that she wouldn’t gain as much in the way of insight and reflection if she opted to just follow-the hustle and bustle of everyday living just because that’s how we’re “supposed” to live…especially true Northeasterners. Megan demonstrates the understanding of sometimes needing to walk alone.
Albert Einstein once said, “The woman who follows the crowd will go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” I don’t know about you but I really do want to find myself in new places, and if that requires going some parts solo, I’m game….heck I’m in it 🙂 What this really boils down to is embracing the balance of our need for others and our need that alone time that yields
- Insight, defined as the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing….that person being you and/or things being your circumstances and the situations you’re currently facing,.
- Depth of self-awareness. There is something to be said about learning more about who you are when you’re rolling solo…even if it’s just for a bit. Some folks find it strange that I actually enjoy my annual trip abroad by myself. I love my travel buddies and we always have a blast wherever we go, but for my solo trip, I consistently learn something more and am able to go deeper into who Farah is and what she is continuing to become!
- Enhanced elevation through experience. The more we live this life, if we’re conscious, I believe the more we learn to get above the fray, especially in times when we get to explore on our own. We just get to become better observers, understanding that we are actually less and less at the affect of things and the actions of other people and as a result can choose to rise above the day to day nuances that can challenge us in different ways that may not be productive.
- Activation. There’s always more or renewed motivation experienced during these times that really affords us the opportunity to take action on the insights gained.
- Self-Reflection. These days there is more and more at our disposal in the way of resources to leverage in our mindfulness practices and efforts to become more conscious and self-aware. Our solo time affords us the self-reflection to heighten both
So, why this conversation (yes, in my head we’re actually talking 🙂 now? Every year, when we pray at the Christmas dinner table, no matter who says the prayer, we always remember to think of those who don’t have the good fortune of family and friends to be with during the holidays and just ask that they experience the grace and favor we do in some form or fashion. On the flip side,, I also always remember the coaching conversations I’ve had the week prior to the kick off of the holidays, especially with those preparing to spend the holidays with inlaws, focusing on “how to make it through.” It’s funny right? Same coin, different experiences, both benefiting from leveraging or making some solo time.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, embrace it all. If you find yourself rolling solo, embrace the freedom you have to just focus on you, your needs, your wants, and where you’d like to be. If you find yourself with a jam pack family- and friend-filled holiday break, make sure to create your own ritual for some alone time to just think, focus, and prioritize you, even if just for a few minutes a day. The yield is well worth it!