You shouldn’t let yourself be swayed by social pressure when it comes to your wellbeing. Being alone is far from something negative; it should be seen as an opportunity to grow.
It’s often said that being alone teaches you more than anyone else’s company can. We are social creatures and we need interaction to grow, to learn, and to live. But the key is to always stay balanced.
Moments of being alone are absolutely necessary for mental health; these moments are time for calmness and interior connection. But there are also stages throughout your life cycle when you feel “tied down,” almost like you were drowning under certain things or people.
The moment when you see that you’ve lost control, your ability to choose or the opportunity to choose which path to travel down or not, because of surrounding pressure, that is the moment to act.
Because sometimes loneliness is also the price you pay for freedom, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad thing. Let’s explain…
When being alone is the only path
Let’s start by talking about something that’s going on right now in China. This is very attention-grabbing, and fits well in this context regarding the price of freedom.
In China, once a woman turns 25 years old, if she still hasn’t married she’s considered a “sheng-nu,” which translates to “leftover woman.”
- She thinks that not having a partner is shameful for both her and her family. Because of this, there now exists a “young bachelorette” market intended to find these women husbands, and thereby “normalize” them with society’s demands.
- There is no longer a “single child” law in China, meaning the government needs to promote motherhood. The fact that there are women that are considered to have not fulfilled their “natural purpose” creates both a cruel and destructive pressure.
- Fortunately, a lot of these women are reacting. First, they are reacting against their families, and then against society itself.
They all know that this comes at the price of loneliness, feeling rejected by a lot of closed-minded people. They still feel free, however, because they are “whole women,” with the right to live as they please.
When the surrounding pressure prohibits freedom
We all know that being alone is not always seen in a good light. China isn’t the only country like this. Just think about all the stereotypes currently associated with being single in your own surrounding.
- Anytime a romantic relationship ends, you will undoubtedly encounter the person that says, “Don’t worry, you’ll find someone new soon.” As if spending time alone were unfortunate or incomprehensible.
- It’s also common that family members don’t understand why you live alone, why you want to take a trip by yourself, or simply that you like having private time where you can be at peace with yourself.
Even today, being alone continues to be viewed negatively. Maybe that’s why you feel ties to certain people or things, because you have to walk the line of fire and be criticized or listen to unwanted comments.
Being alone is not dangerous
Writer and poet Charles Bukowski made one thing clear: isolation is, sometimes, a true gift.
This doesn’t mean that you need to forever disconnect from your surroundings, people, the bustle of society, laughter, get-togethers, love, and friendship.
- This means being selective and making yourself a priority, which is beneficial and therapeutic. Being alone is undoubtedly a personal dimension that you need to experience every once in a while, without being afraid.
- According to an interesting study published in the Harvard Business Review, being alone is now starting to be seen as a strategy to better improve a lot of cognitive functions and to also find more emotional balance.
- People that are able to disconnect from the “noise” around them, from judgement on their self-worth, and the expectations that other people have for them, are people that are more free, more creative, and open to finding new opportunities.
It might be time to knock down these myths and stereotypes. Voluntarily choosing to be alone is a courageous act.
People that give in, that throw in the towel and that keep riding the unhappy train have to see that being held captive is not the best option.
In order to be free you must be alone. Maybe being alone isn’t such a dangerous thing, if it lets you tend to your self-esteem more and if it let’s you choose which path to walk down or not.
I know it’s easy to say it…to say “take a chance and be free.”
This is a personal choice that requires meditation and a courageous leap of faith, but it’s worth trying.