The Power of Solitude

Art by : Michel Rauscher

There is nothing like the formidable power of solitude.  For some it holds the power to enlighten the spirit, and soothe the soul, to fill and engage the creative mind, or to quiet the psyche.  Yet for others, solitude may be an unwelcome assault on the senses, having the power to cause extreme distress, loneliness, despair, and sadness.   Either way, there is no denying that the power of solitude is great. 

In my experience, I have found that most people are not very comfortable with solitude.  The majority would prefer to be surrounded by friends, or family, or even strangers, rather than be by themselves.  That`s likely because the majority of the world`s personalities are of the extraversion type.  For the most part, extraverts do not enjoy solitude and generally speaking, will do almost anything to avoid it.  I know quite a few of these personality types; they are drained by too much alone time and need to be around people to feel energized.  That`s their personality and who they are.  There are always exceptions of course, but overall, extraverts are not solitary types.

On the other hand, introverts, (the inward-focussed), especially those closer to the extreme end of the introversion spectrum adore their solitary pursuits.  I am no doubt, one of those.

My solitude brings a purity and ease at being one with myself – filling the empty spaces with nothing but my own full and complete presence.   It`s about pushing through that space to make room for everything that you are, rather than allow it to define you.  And making your own connections with space and time quietly and powerfully.

I have enjoyed my solitary time all of my life.  As a child and burgeoning introvert, I would come home from school and the first thing I would do is retreat to my room for quiet time.  After a long day of being around people and noise I needed to recharge my batteries – big time!  I have always known this about myself and accepted it.  I have no problem with my introverted personality and never have.  The problems seem to arise when others fail to understand this personality trait and try to change me into something that I am not.  People who are not introverts simply cannot understand our preferences.  It`s impossible for them.   They assume that if you like to be alone, there must be something wrong with you – that you must be depressed.  If they only knew!

I had a family member tell me not too long ago that he would rather have someone shoot him than to be alone.  He was half-joking, but not really.  I understand it though.  He is an extravert who needs people to help him feel energized.  Extraverts reach outward for their stimulation; introverts within.  Because the more inward-focussed generally have a very rich inner landscape, they are rarely bored and have no need, or very little, for outward stimulation.   In addition to a natural inclination for introspection, introverts are generally a highly sensitive breed.  In fact, studies  have shown that their brains actually differ from extraverts’ in that they produce higher levels of the stress hormone called cortisol.  Given this consistently higher state of cortisol arousal, it’s no wonder introverts have a need for less chaos and more quiet.

Having said all of that, it doesn’t make sense that we were put on this earth to live our lives completely independently of others.  No one should withdraw entirely from the human race and certainly, there is a healthy balance there somewhere.  But if you find peace and comfort in the power of solitude, if it feeds your creative mind and you are inspired by spending time with your Self, who is to say that it’s wrong?  

I am here to tell you that, for some, it is perfectly normal to enjoy solitude.  In fact, I am here to tell you that it`s healthy.

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This entry was posted in Extroversion and Introversion, Personality Type, Psychology, The Highly Sensitive Person and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The Power of Solitude

  1. Pingback: Introverted and Inspired « stepINtomyworld

  2. slklesko says:

    I had no idea about introverts and their higher cortisol levels! That is very very interesting and a good explanation to why we prefer lower stimulation. Great read!

    • lthibault11 says:

      It seems the brain of the introvert is different in many ways. I am continuing to look into that and will write more about it at some point. Thanks for commenting! I am enjoying reading your blog as well.

      L

  3. Nina Renee says:

    I was definitely the introvert in my childhood, and I was also painfully shy. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself extracting energy from social interactions, but every now and then, I still like to retreat to my inner space and just breathe.

  4. oh wow….this is great news that it is healthy because i do enjoy this a lot. i just never had the knowledge about it.is it even possible? to do something without knowing what it is?maybe just your nature attracts you to that…!

    • lthibault11 says:

      There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend time with yourself. It is in fact, very healthy. It is a good thing to be comfortable enough in your own skin to be able to be alone. It shows a solid strength of the Self. Not everyone was meant to be a social butterfly. Even if you are Persian! lol.

  5. Stephanie Price says:

    Reblogged this on Ideas For Sustainable Living and commented:
    Solitude can be a powerful practice for finding yourself and rejuvenating your creative spirit. Being an extrovert, I used to find solitude to be a bit unbearable but I have gotten used to it over the years. Now I find that spending time in solitude can be a great way to recharge and get to know myself after all the years of having people and technology around me.

  6. Stephanie Price says:

    I agree!

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