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May 24, 2014

Honoring Solitude: An Introvert’s Guide to Happiness. ~ Kathryn Hall

Mitya Ku

It’s summer 2003.

Sitting alone in my tent, I think to myself,

“What is wrong with me?”

I’ve spent over £200 to come to this festival and I was super excited before I arrived.

There are bands to see, friends that want to hang out, a million different food stalls to visit, shops full of vintage clothes and handmade crafts to browse. It’s colorful, vibrant, loud and explosive. Thousands and thousands of people laughing, drinking, dancing and having fun.

Just one, long, joyful party.

And everyone seems to be having an amazing time. Everyone that is, except me.

Instead, I am sitting in my tent. Hiding from the world. Feeling drained, exhausted, confused and let down.

With a deep breath and a sleepy head, I realize something…

I can’t keep pretending. Can’t keep smiling. Can’t keep ignoring what my heart and body is telling me.

I feel overwhelmed. And I need to be alone.

Well, that was over ten years ago.

I was young, still learning, still finding my way and still figuring out who I was.

And, of course that journey of self-discovery never ends.

Every day I learn more about what drives and excites me; more about my needs and desires. What makes me tick as a human being.

But as I’ve journeyed through life over the last ten years, one thing has become crystal clear to me. It is absolutely essential that I have regular time on my own.

I’m an introvert. Always have been. Always will be.

And like the air that I breathe and the food on my plate, solitude is a survival need. Spending time alone is an absolute necessity. It gives me energy and space to process my thoughts and get through the day.

If, like me, you consider yourself to be an introvert, I encourage you not to ignore your need for solitude and quiet time, but instead embrace your introversion in all its wonderful glory.

Why?

Because you’ll likely be happier and healthier for it. Simple as that.

To help you on your way, here are my top three tips:

1. Give yourself the space you need.

It can be so easy to get sucked into the ‘I’m too busy for alone time’ routine. But here’s the thing—if you don’t give yourself the space you need, then you will likely feel tired and life may feel hard.

I’ve found that giving myself breathing space when I need it, booking alone time into my week and allowing myself moments away from the crowds has been completely life-changing.

Solitude shouldn’t be a luxury if it’s something you need. By giving yourself this time you’ll likely feel healthier, happier, more creative and ready to face the world.

2. Follow your heart and do what you love.

Personally, I believe this is a tip everyone should follow, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or a bit of both.

However, with the increase of open plan spaces, busy schedules and team projects, the modern offices that many of us work in have become increasingly biased towards extroverts. When we spend so many hours of our lives in a job, I believe that finding both a career and working environment that suits you is essential.

A few years ago, I made the decision to start my own business that I can run from home. It allows me to have full creative control and work in solitude for as much time as I want. It’s the best career move I have ever made and I’ve never looked back.

Are you happy in your career? If not, maybe it’s time to think about a change.

3. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

This is the ultimate tip when it comes to embracing your introversion.

I’ve learned that you don’t need to be a loud, outgoing extrovert in order to be successful, loved or happy. Staying true to who I am and working with my natural born strengths has certainly brought me happiness and a lust for life that I didn’t previously have.

The world needs quiet creators, thoughtful leaders and reflective dreamers, so find your flow and stick with it.

I know from experience that life becomes far easier when you stop trying to be someone you’re not. You’re wonderful just as you are—embrace it.

*Are you an introvert who needs regular alone time? I’d love to know what you think of this post so leave a comment below.

 

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Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor:Renée Picard

Photo: Mitya Ku/Flickr Creative Commons

 

 

 

 

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Kathryn Hall