Unplug and realize the importance of being alone
By Tom Cicero
Recently, I mentioned to one of my friends that I live in a one bedroom apartment by myself, to which she replied, “Don’t you get lonely? I could never do that.”
In fact, I’d say about four out of five people I’ve talked to about this subject ask the same question.
I think that being alone is not only important, but can be therapeutic.
It seems that in our society, being alone is not the norm. For some, being alone is unfathomable.
For example, I have a friend who told me once that the second she woke up, she would turn on the television or some music and keep it on until she left the house. Why? Because she literally couldn’t be alone with her own thoughts.
That’s not to say that it’s easy to live alone, by any means. I often struggle with the same issue.
It’s easier to cloud your mind with any number of muses instead of being forced to face your own thoughts.
However, with the introduction of smart phones and social media, it seems like we are connected with people every minute of every day. It is becoming harder and harder to be alone, and easier and easier to become distracted by everything around us.
Instead of facing their own lives, people are constantly comparing themselves to others. In the end, will it really matter how many likes your duck-face got on Facebook?
I think comedian Louis C.K. said it best on an interview with Conan O’Brien: “You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something — that’s what the phones are taking away. The ability to just sit there… that’s being a person. Sometimes, when things clear away, and you’re in your car, and you start going, ‘Oh no. Here it comes. I am alone’ —just this sadness — life is tremendously sad just by being in it. That’s why we text and drive. People will risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second.”
I don’t necessarily agree 100 percent with what C.K. said, but he made a very important point. We use these devices to ward off our loneliness instead of simply embracing it.
By facing the loneliness that every human being experiences, you can start to cope with it and understand it. Being lonely doesn’t make you depressed or weird. It’s a natural human feeling, and every single person in the world has felt it before.
With all these electronic devices, it can be hard to clear your head, but I do think it’s vitally important to the mental health of every person. Just one hour a week, try to turn off all your devices, and do something you love. Draw, read a book, write a poem —anything.
I think that when you’re alone, you are facing your own thoughts, and you are forced to be introspective. That can be quite difficult.
With nothing to distract us, our minds turn inward toward who we really are, and while this can be painful (and unbearable) for some, I think this is when the biggest growth of character occurs. It is only when you are forced to face inwards that you are able to access yourself and to figure out who you really are.