The Lost Art of Being Alone

In a world increasingly obsessed with absorbing gadgets and social media, more connections are being made and maintained online. It is common to see groups of people sitting together or having dinner while on their mobile phones. This is so pervasive that it is not considered rude to whip out mobile phones to check on chats or status updates while in the company of others. It is as though we are constantly running away from feeling lonely.

Constant online presence gives us a sense that we are socially connected and surrounded by “friends” who are “liking” and “following” us. While this may be true to a certain extent, we only feel our reality when we go offline and spend time with ourselves. It is then that our internal voice is the loudest. For those of us addicted to the daily deluge of notifications and updates on social media, being by ourselves can be a lonely and uncomfortable experience. But it is precisely to beat loneliness that we need to learn to be alone. Being alone is a skill.

So here is a tip on being alone: set aside at least 30 minutes each day without social media or anyone else around you. Try not to be “doing” anything much during this time so that you can really be attuned to your internal thoughts. Just notice how your mind wonders and keep breathing. There is no need to judge your thoughts – just let them flow and notice. Draw or doodle your thoughts if you like.

Just like any other skill, being alone is a skill which can be developed with time and practice. When in our lives could this skill be useful to us?