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14 Quotes on Why Solitude is Good and You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed of It

14 Quotes on Why Solitude is Good and You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed of It

Imagine it’s lunch time. You are very hungry but your colleagues are still having a discussion in the meeting room. You tried to wait but you can’t stand it any longer. So you rush to the nearby restaurant. It’s crowded with white-collar workers in groups–talking and laughing. But you? You are all alone. Reluctantly, you go in.

After you’ve ordered your meal, you immediately take out your smartphone and check your Facebook, play games and watch videos. You act like normal, but you keep your head down and pray that no one looks at you. The truth is, you are just pretending. Yes, pretending to be busy to hide your embarrassment at being a solo diner.

That’s the problem with the current society. Being alone means you are weird; you are anti-social; you don’t have friends; you are pitiful; or, even worse, you have a mental illness.

To avoid all those unpleasant labels, Japan’s Moomin House Cafe prepares fake company for their solo diners by bringing a stuffed animal to accompany them.

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To me, this is a bad idea. It re-emphasizes the idea that being alone is an issue and should be avoided. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with being solo. The fact is, solitude is beneficial and essential for your well-being.

Here are 14 quotes that show the true meaning and value of solitude. Let’s not be ashamed or nervous about it, but embrace it more openly.

“Solitude is strength; to depend on the presence of the crowd is weakness. The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines.” -Paul Brunton

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” -Bell Hooks

“Solitude is the place of purification.” -Martin Buber

“This was my moment to look for the kind of healing and peace that can only come from solitude.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“I restore myself when I’m alone.” -Marilyn Monroe

“The best part about being alone is that you really don’t have to answer to anybody. You do what you want.” -Justin Timberlake

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and–in spite of True Romance magazines–we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely–at least, not all the time–but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” -Hunter S. Thompson

“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.” -Kim Culbertson

“When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death – ourselves.” -Eda LeShan

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” -Mark Twain

“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone, and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.” -Arthur Schopenhauer

“You’re only lonely if you’re not there for you.” -Phil McGraw

“Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your won presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.” -Alice Koller

“Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead.” -Katrina Kenison

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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