Solitude - A tool to discover the hidden you

Drive solo on the mountain roads or walk on the beaches alone and you'll be surprised!

4/5/20243 min read

cup of coffee on white ceramic saucer
cup of coffee on white ceramic saucer

The average person spends each day conducting the various routine activities required for his sustenance. These include showing up at work every day, attending to the family, and interacting with the outside world for availing the services required for living a comfortable life. All these activities involve interaction with colleagues, family members, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. At times, the available time is insufficient to interact with each one of these people and precedence has to be given to them according to the activity involved. At work, the team members, the peers, and the superiors have to be given all the attention for delivering the business goals. At home, the family and the close friends have to be devoted most of the available time. And so on. While distributing our time, according to the activity undertaken, the most important person who needs to be given undivided attention at regular times throughout our lives is left ignored. This leads to constant friction, numerous misunderstandings, and build-up of resentment in both the individuals. And, years of continuous neglect leads to a situation where both of them deny having seen each other, ever. These two individuals are one’s outer self, which interacts with all the people around and one’s inner self, which is lonely and has only the outer self to interact with whenever the ‘time’ permits.

Our outer selves or personalities are the facades that we keep manipulating all the time and depending on the occasion or the mood, don the most suited one to communicate with the people around. Our inner selves, though, remain unchanged for long periods of time, quite often, for our entire lives. They are the base or the governing entities, against whose desires and dreams, the decisions, the successes, and the achievements of our outer selves are evaluated. It is possible for us to outwardly lead a hugely successful life but inwardly remain dissatisfied. Our outer self may taste unprecedented success and earn critical acclaim, but if these intangible, easily perishable possessions are not in sync with the needs and the wants of our inner self, the outer self can't be at peace. The inner self may just have wanted a quiet, nondescript life instead of an acclaimed, successful living. So, this means that if there is a good understanding between our inner and the outer selves, we can lead better lives. And, herein gets highlighted, the importance of ‘solitude’, a state of disconnection with the outside world.

Solitude presents an opportunity for our outer self to subdue itself and let our inner self, do all the talking. In most cases, this allows the inner self to calm the outer self, show it the right direction, and guide us towards a more coherent living. Interacting every day with our inner self for a few minutes and understanding its dreams and desires is the key to leading enjoyable lives and reducing the chasm between our outer accomplishments and the inner dreams. In the beginning, solitude seems like a lonely, boring exercise, but as we incorporate it in our daily schedule and make it an indispensable and non-negotiable part of our lives, we start to enjoy the benefits. The first of the inner sounds we hear are incomprehensible murmurs or random sounds. As time passes and our lonely inner selves start trusting and relishing the constant company of our outer selves, the background noises die down and the murmurs transform into lucid directions. The wisest step we can take in life is to follow these directions. But, more often than not, doing so seems like a foolish idea to family and friends. As a result, we have to not only convince ourselves to move in a direction that may be opposite to the existing one, but also face the resistance of the near and dear ones. The obvious question that arises is - are the benefits of taking such a step worth the pain?

War is never fully beneficial for the parties involved. There are casualties on all the sides and the winner is actually the lesser loser amongst the warring sides. Similarly, if both our outer and inner selves are constantly at fight with each other and we block all attempts of our inner selves to align the outer selves in the same direction as itself, both tend to lose in the standoff. Eventually, this inner war tears us apart and the resulting purposelessness exacerbates the situation. The manifestations of this war are not pleasant for our family and friends also - altercation, heightened temper, anti-social behaviour, etc. are some of the many outcomes. Therefore, it makes tremendous sense to maintain peace within ourselves, heed to the guidance of our inner selves, change the course of our lives (if required), and make it a daily habit of spending some time alone. For if we don't do so, much sooner than later, while gazing in the mirror we’ll see our inner selves mocking and ridiculing us. That’ll be the moment when we’ll have to take our eyes off the mirror, accept our insignificance and fade into oblivion. So, yes - following our heart or our inner selves is worth all the pain that one can be inflicted upon. The benefits are substantial and the initial requirement is just to embrace solitude and let our outer self, discover the hidden inner self.