How much time did you spend with yourself yesterday? Time here would be quantified as minutes or hours doing something which is purely because you love doing it and it makes you feel alive
The idea is that experiences are ‘ah ha’ moments and a teacher of a greater you. So along with this article I would like to set up a challenge. I begin with a simple question – How much time did you spend with yourself yesterday? Time here would be quantified as minutes or hours, doing something which is purely because you love doing it and makes you feel alive. It could as simple as watching a sunset or as complicated as writing or running or swimming.
You didn’t have to be alone for this but the idea is that it shouldn’t matter if you were on your own or you had company. The important thing is that you were happy and excited. The thoughts running through your head at that time should be of gratitude, and if you had a magic wand and needed to do something then this is exactly what you would be doing.
Some years ago, I envied people who I believed had this magic wand. Not anymore. I own my own now.
I love observing and listening to people, and sometimes I wonder if they would be leading their present lives if they had magic wand.
People mostly fantasise about having an alternate life, but feel that they have too much going on and it would be impossible to do all the other things they love. There is always more travelling they wish they could do, more books they wish they had time to read, more exercise, more time with family, more time on their own, etc. There always seems to be a deficiency. A little bit of digging and I ask them why not? I never get an answer but this is what research has to say – because we are connected to the virtual world all the time, people spend very little time on their own reflecting and asking the important question: what is it that makes them happy?
There is too much competition and peer pressure that gives people even lesser opportunities to seek out their comfort zone and unique sense of identity.
Instead we are spending time expecting a lot from ourselves that it is not even something which we enjoy.
Fate unfortunately is a common excuse. To achieve what you desire is a walk off the beaten track. There is no excuse expect the willingness to go for it.
I speak from experience. When I first began giving myself time to do the things I loved, I started small. It was the hour I took off (I was juggling between two major work spaces). That one hour taught me a lot. It was me time. When I started enjoying myself I began seeking further opportunities. I began to define a life I love.
The magic wand seemed to work. I think many of us fear to give ourselves this opportunity of spending quality time on our own.
People in general fear being alone. There is a difference between solitude and loneliness.
Solitude is the space you create for yourself which allows you the comfort of me time.
Loneliness on the other hand is a rejection. It is this that we fear the most.
Once you develop the art of solitude you see how beneficial it is. Solitude allows you the opportunity to reboot. The clutter of the day can be reorganised or worked through or your brain gets an opportunity to be distracted with what it likes to do.
When you spend time on your own you begin to find your voice, your point of view, your decision and your life.
Spending time on your own increases overall productivity because you are able to work through many of your distractions.
People who spend quality time on their own increase their perception of their environment and thus their quality of creativity. The creative outlet in turns works like a spiral motion pushing the quality of life upwards.
One of the best things that happened to me is I made new friends, had new experiences, learned new lessons and my life is enriched.
I know I am not the same person I was even a year ago.
Finally solitude for me has enriched the quality of my relationship with people. Knowing yourself better, you decide who the people you want to hang out with are and how much of your time you would want to spend with them and choose consciously.
So my challenge is simple: Choose an hour every day, either you plan to wake up an hour earlier or forfeit the afternoon snooze or take an hour of your TV screen/computer time but slot yourself some solitude time.
Imagine you have the magic wand, seek precisely your tasks and do it for one hour every day for the next two weeks and if you like it then please seek it some more.
Get your magic wand working!
(Writer is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and the HOD of psychology at Carmel College for Women)