This week I had a few days off, so my sister and I decided to take this opportunity to go stay at a peaceful, secluded Airbnb in the mountains near where we live and just get some quality rest and relaxation.
This place is seriously an introvert’s paradise. It’s secluded (i.e. private!), but situated in a gated community near a small town, so not too far away from civilization; also, it is quiet. Like, really quiet. Did I mention quiet? Which needs no words of recommendation for the introvert. Plus, it’s beautiful. The living room window and back porch open out to an incredible view over a valley, with pines, oaks, and other greenery scattered around, and frequent wildlife activity. It’s amazing! Peaceful, quiet, relaxing. A much-needed retreat from the daily stress and obligations of life.
I love to be alone. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again. I really enjoy being by myself. Other people might think I’m crazy for wanting to spend an entire day or weekend alone at home, but I thrive on solitude. I think it’s my natural state.
Being alone is so peaceful, relaxing, and non-stressful. You add other humans into the mix, and I start to feel my stress level rising, depending on the specific people involved.
But give me a day or two to just immerse myself in utter solitude, and I feel refreshed, revitalized, and filled with world-conquering confidence.
Maybe that’s not so surprising. After all, I am an introvert (my personality type is INTP, if you’re into that)–and if you consider yourself an introvert, you probably relate to me on some level.
But, whether you’re an introvert or not, there is something special about spending time away from the bustle and noises of the world, away from the constant demands and voices of people and parties, business and machinery.
Even when we’re not at work or undertaking our chosen vocations, it seems that we often feel that we have to be around other people, family, friends, or coworkers. And that’s not a bad thing; in fact, it’s really important to spend time with those significant people in your life. But it’s not crucial to be in their company every waking minute.
I’m of the opinion that people should enjoy their own company more often. Not just because that is a large part of my own personality preference, but because it brings great personal benefits, emotionally, physically, and mentally, regardless of the individual.
My disclaimer: I’m not an expert here, so you might not want to base your entire life strategy off of what I say, but this is what I have seen and experienced positively in my own life. Also, I realize that I am biased, because I am already an introvert. If you are more extroverted and social in your personality, you might find the idea of hanging out with yourself pretty far-fetched or impractical; but I still suggest that you hear me out and perhaps give your own company a chance. You might surprise yourself.
5 Reasons Why You Should Hang Out With Yourself:
1. It is silent enough that you can actually hear yourself think.
I’m a thinker, so my mind is active no matter where I am, but, unarguably, mental clarity and perception come much faster when I’m in an overall quiet environment.
Once you find that place of true silence, you’ll be able to start thinking through things, and finding divine answers and solutions that might never have come while with a group of people, or in a busy coffee shop or a loud mall.
Silence is not scary. It’s a prime breeding ground for creativity, inspiration, encouragement, clear thinking and analysis, problem solving (see #4), and appreciation of the world around you (see #2).
2. You’ll start to notice the little things about life.
It’s amazing. When you are separated from the noise and distractions of daily life, you’ll be able to clear your head and focus on the little things of life. The padding paws of your faithful canine friend trailing you around the house, and her soulful eyes lovingly peering up at you from where her head is resting between her paws. The carefree twittering of the birds outside your kitchen window or their industrious gathering of twigs as nests gradually take form in the trees. The brilliance of nature’s colors as the season transforms from summer into autumn, or from winter into spring.
It’s so easy to miss the incredible details and subtleties inherent in this world around us; so easy to forget the simple and complex wonders everywhere we look. But taking a few moments to calm our minds and bodies can refocus us and draw us back to the simplicity of life and instill a fresh gratitude and inner peace and joy in our hearts.
3. You’ll be more sensitive to God’s inner voice.
God speaks in a still, small voice. He doesn’t force His way in with a blaring loud speaker. Sometimes He waits until you are quiet and free from distractions to make His presence known. A thought, an impression, a feeling. You’re more likely to overlook those subtle messages when your mind is crowded with the pressures of a busy life. His voice is much more readily recognized when you are in stillness and silence and able to focus on Him.
Finding those stretches of quiet time in the midst of a busy schedule to devote to serious prayer and meditation will be the greatest benefit and enrichment to your spiritual life.
4. You might find that you are actually a pretty good problem solver.
I believe there is not a problem too big that can’t be solved with a little time, silence, and cogitation. Not to mention the fact that a little silence can give the opportunity for God’s subtle voice to whisper words of wisdom and insight into your mind.
Science tells us that the brain is much more active and adept at finding solutions during periods of relaxation or passive situations like daydreaming than during fixed, concentrated attention on something.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you are trying really hard to figure some problem out, it feels like you’re just hitting against a brick wall? Then maybe something distracts you for a moment and you pause your intense concentration. But when you turn back to the issue a few minutes later, it’s like a magic door in your brain has opened and the solution is right there staring you in the face.
That’s not some mystical mind mojo; that’s how the brain works. That’s why we tell people to “go home and sleep on it” before making a big decision. When we consciously focus on finding a solution, we are less able to free our minds and approach the situation “outside the box.” However, breaking out of that locked, inflexible way of thinking through relaxation and open-mindedness triggers the brain’s ability to tackle a problem in a new, fresh pattern and bring solutions that would otherwise never be discovered.
So, take a little time to step away from a problem or bothersome situation; maybe carve out some time to give your mind a rest by doing nothing for a while. Getting some perspective or a change of focus might be the key to the solution you need.
5. You’ll start to understand yourself better.
Did I already mention that silence does not have to be a scary thing? Listening to your own introspections and inner babble doesn’t have to be scary.
I admit, sometimes it’s a frightening prospect to be alone with only your thoughts to entertain you. But avoiding those thoughts will block your personal growth and the uncertainty will only impede any progress and frustrate you.
Instead, try to look at it as a personal challenge. If you give yourself the chance to acknowledge and confront those thoughts honestly, despite the scariness of the unknown, you’ll actually be relieved to get the uncertainty out of the way. You’ll finally be able to move forward and take the steps necessary to deal with those personal issues and achieve the goals you desperately want to reach.
Understanding yourself is crucial to moving forward emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and developing into the person you truly are inside–the best version of yourself.
However, you can’t fully understand that “you” without being willing to face the deepest, and sometimes darkest, part of yourself. I’m not guaranteeing that the process will be easy or fun. But the things worth attaining in life rarely are. So, I encourage you to take the leap and reach for it with all you’ve got.
You’ve probably noticed that all of my points are somehow interconnected. And for good reason. Finding that place of relaxation and peace in your environment and putting it to its best advantage will benefit you holistically. And who doesn’t want their life to be enriched in all areas?
If you still haven’t been convinced of the importance of hanging out with yourself, maybe you should just put it to the test. Spend a few hours (or days) alone with yourself (and God). Try it out and see what happens. I would venture to say that nothing but good will come of it.
I’d love to hear about your personal results and experiences from your alone times, whether you’re trying it for the first time or whether you’re a long-time advocate of solitude. Add your comments below!
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