It’s official – I’m an introvert! As a teacher, though, I have a highly social job. I’m constantly chatting with other teachers and paras as well as a ton of second graders each day!
But I sure do recharge by spending some quality time with myself – or sometimes with just one other person. I love “introverting” together with a friend at a coffee shop or working on a low-key project together with Bjorn. I’ve found over the years, though, that I crave alone time after (or between) high-energy social situations. My Myers-Briggs assessment (and other quizzes) have shown that I’ve always been on the line between introvert and extravert, but over time (and especially since college), I have definitely seen a shift towards the introvert side! 🙂
Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone. – Paul Tillich
I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. – Henry David Thoreau
Introverted people may find that their desire to be alone sometimes frustrates their friends or family. I found this difficult in college, because as much as I loved being with my friends, I felt I desperately needed down time and “quiet time” in order to cope with the demands of my student teaching program and classes. I think only a true introvert would understand that almost panicky feeling of I just HAVE to be alone for a bit to recharge!!
God has created each of us with our own specific thresholds for social situations and even for solitude. I understand that some people utterly hate being alone, even for an hour or two! And that’s okay! That’s just not my reality. 🙂
I wanted to share with you 4 reasons to savor solitude in your life, no matter the length of time:
1 // You get to practice self-talk – hopefully positive. To me, self-talk means the conversation or monologue you have in your head throughout the day. This goes on all the time – from “How am I going to get this all done?” to “Man, I need to organize that shelf” to “I wonder how I can encourage her today.” The hustle and bustle of life obviously leads us to think hundreds of thoughts per day! But when we step away from the busyness of the people around us, that self-talk can become a good practice for positive thinking.
To be perfectly honest, I struggle with having consistent positive self-talk. I battle insecurities like everyone else, and I can beat myself up when I feel I haven’t done an excellent job at something. I do not like feeling as if I failed. But during my alone time, I’m uninhibited by the distractions of others and am able to really redirect myself if I notice my thoughts are turning in a negative direction.
2 // You will accomplish more tasks! It’s not to say that we can’t get things done with others around. But my most productive days occur as a result of being alone for a period of time. In college, some days we would turn on the TV and sit around with our laptops, determined to each get our own homework done…but it obviously didn’t always go as well as we hoped! Haha. So eventually I learned that secluding myself was the key to productivity, at least for me! I like to get things like cleaning, organizing, and writing done when no one else is around. I find I have better “follow-through” then – I’m more likely to finish the tasks I begin.
3 // You have the opportunity to open yourself up to listen to God. Even Jesus sought time alone, during which he prayed to his Father: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” – Mark 1:35
A lot of the self-talk I mentioned earlier can turn into prayers – in addition to solitary sit-down alone time reading the Bible and praying…and listening to God and what He lays on your heart. It is so valuable! And with less noise and distractions around us, we are better able to focus our attention on what our Maker is saying to us.
4 // You can recharge SO THAT you can go out and be with people. Sometimes the point of solitude isn’t simply being alone. It’s a necessary time to spend filling your “emotional tank” so that you can reenter social situations with a reset attitude or even just more energy. I find I treat others the way God wants me to treat them much better if I have taken time to recharge myself a bit. It doesn’t do the most good to let ourselves get rundown and possibly irritated or distracted from our main purpose: to glorify God.
Where do you go when you need solitude? What have you gained from time alone?