Alone time can seem selfish. When we take time for ourselves, we feel like we aren’t being a very good friend, family member, spouse, or person. It’s as though we are choosing ourselves over other people. But what is so wrong with that? Occasionally we must choose ourselves! Some people are preternaturally disposed to guilt, shame, and other negative emotions that make them hyper sensitive to the feelings of others. In being considerate to others, however, they neglect themselves! We all need our alone time. It is what helps us to recharge, reflect, and introspect—all very necessary components to being a happy, healthy, functioning human who is not an inconsiderate jerk. Alone time helps us be more humane.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Often we feel guilty when we do something for ourselves. We have so accepted the mandate to be aware of other’s feelings, take care of them, and put ourselves last that we often feel uncomfortable if we even have needs. How selfish it seems to refuse a ride to someone who needs it when we are going that way anyway. Surely we could put ourselves out a little. Even if we do refuse the request and get our time alone, are we going to be so overcome with guilt that we won’t enjoy the time anyway? What a lose-lose situation! Maybe we can use that time alone to explore our gift of guilt and learn from it. Even having time to explore our guilt requires alone time. We may need that exploration desperately.”
It’s good to question our nature from time to time. Why do we feel so much guilt? Why don’t we think we deserve to be happy? When we say no to someone, we are not turning away from them, but rather turning toward ourselves. Life is full of paradoxes and contradictions that truly demonstrate what an act of balance life is: We must think of others, but not to the exclusion of thinking of ourselves. A little alone time goes a long way in refreshing us. Alone time acts a reset. It allows us to examine our thoughts and emotions, consider them, understand them… all of which helps us find peace. A peaceful soul is kinder, gentler, and more present to other people. Alone time helps us give back more to the people around us. It is an act of charity for ourselves and others!