The importance of being alone

Yes, we are social beings. But there is something to be said for being alone. It is in our aloneness that we achieve our true earnestness. Our masks subside; our pretensions evaporate: we can be ourselves.

Some people are afraid of being alone. Perhaps they are afraid of themselves. Or they have simply never had the chance to feel the ecstasy of not being around anyone else.

Through aloneness we can achieve a certain courage and freedom. We can learn to create our lives anew instead of trying to fit them into a mould of someone else's design. We can discover new horizons that we would never have known had we followed the flock.

There have been times in my life when I wanted to disappear from the world and exist independent of society. These feelings, of course, subsided after some time spent in solitude. The yearning for company did re-surface. But I never lose my yearning for solitude.

This yearning is not about the inadequacies of other people to satisfy me. It is about me. It may sound selfish to some, but in the end, there is a sacred task that is all about ourselves. Not in a selfish sense but in an epistemological sense: we can only truly know ourselves. And therefore, we have the responsibility to tend to our own beings. This I think demands at least some solitude – and I think this need is fundamental to every human being, whether they know it or not. We all need some time alone – whether it be a day, a week, an hour, a minute – we all need it.

To shun this need is to neglect an aspect of ourselves hungry for silence. There is an overwhelmed child and a brave warrior within us, yearning to have some time alone – to receive the power and insight to journey forward. If we don't listen to this need, we may get led down someone else's path, as we follow them blindly.

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