I, like most, grew up surrounded by people. Whether it was my parents, my siblings, my friend next door or the house help–I was rarely left alone. School and college was an enjoyable phase of finding friends, and I would always want someone around. However, off late, ‘me time’ has become special. I listen to music, watch movies and enjoy my morning runs. This is my ‘tiger time’–you’ll know why.
The social animal
We enjoy company and need to give or get attention and affection. We live in families, grow up with friends and schoolmates, work with colleagues and have hobby clubs. Our tools for communication–telephone, internet, social media–have evolved to feed our innate need to interact. We are conditioned to company, and it might have made companionship an unconscious addiction.
A tip from a tiger
When a tiger is old enough, it separates from its streak. When it is alone, it learns to prowl and hunt. With every hunt, it betters its skills. Similarly, ‘me time’ is the time we take to improve ourselves. It can be used to do anything or nothing at all.
Solitude or ‘me time’, on the other hand, is an opportunity you have to get a good sense of self. Solitude can never cause resentment or sadness.
Be yourself, by yourself
While peer pressure can lead us to inadvertently succumb to a popular choice, ‘me time’ is a must to keep us from losing ourselves. A sense of belonging is important but self-understanding and independence is paramount.
Alone, but not lonely
Loneliness and solitude are often misconceived to be the same things. Loneliness is the feeling of being alone with a longing for company. Solitude or ‘me time’, on the other hand, is an opportunity you have to get a good sense of self. Solitude can never cause resentment or sadness. Getting enough of it encourages mental growth, self-development, happiness, peace and healing. Taking time out of your routine for just an hour of solitude a week can have positive effects.
A different coin
Various schools of thought support solitude as a self-enlightening exercise. Solitude encourages self-reflection and is essential for a spiritual journey. Only in our own company can we understand our true selves.
So meditate, turn to art, or take a trip. Push yourself to get better with each experience. Looking back, you would have scaled peaks you didn’t know existed. Don’t be afraid. Embrace solitude.