Benefits: Discover the power of spending time alone.
So That You Can: Develop daily life-changing habits that will lead you to the fulfilling life you were meant to live.
Go From Inspiration to Action With the Worksheet Below!
5 Superpowers You Gain by Spending Time Alone
You want to improve your life. You want to adopt daily life-changing habits. You want to Stop Settling for good enough and Start Living the fulfilling life you were meant to live.
But you can’t seem to get any traction. You might have a couple of great weeks, when you’re able to follow through on all the actions necessary to meet your goals. Then, inevitably, you find yourself falling back into the same old habits, giving up on your goals, and settling for good enough, once again.
How do you break out of this cycle? How do you gain the superpowers you need to maintain the daily life-changing habits that will lead you to the fulfilling life you were meant to live?
By spending more time alone, of course. It’s right in the title of the post. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Some of your alone time, I would say maybe 75% of it if you’re really serious about personal growth, has to be focused on developing the five superpowers I will be introducing shortly. And, as we go through them, I think you’ll see why.
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But I Don’t Like to Be Alone
I can empathize with that, and I’m not saying you have to spend days, or even hours, on end by yourself. But if you really don’t like being alone, even for a couple of hours, it could be a sign that you have some deep-seated, unresolved issues that you need to deal with. And the only way you’re going to sort those out is by sitting alone with yourself.
Or, maybe you’re an extrovert, and you gain your energy by being around other people. I can respect that, but, again, you should still be able to hang out by yourself for a few hours a week. You might even enjoy it.
But I Spend A Lot of Time Alone
Maybe, but maybe not as much as you think. Not if you’re using my definition of “Time Alone.”
When I say “Time Alone”, I mean time by yourself with little to no outside influence or communication — no social media, no texts, no Snapchats, no emails, you get the idea. This is time when you are alone with your thoughts and free to enjoy your own company.
Some of your time alone should definitely be dedicated to activities that you enjoy, whether that be watching your favorite show, going for a hike, crafting, or tinkering around on your car.
But, again, if you want to meet your personal growth goals, you have to dedicate a good portion of this time to thinking and learning. (Like you are doing right now.)
The 5 Superpowers Unveiled
When you spend time alone you:
- Gain self-awareness.
- Make a new friend.
- Become emotionally self-sufficient.
- Do what you want.
- Experience personal development, specifically, individuation.
Let’s talk about each attribute listed here and find out why it’s a superpower.
Superpower #1 - Gain Self-Awareness
If you want to live the fulfilling life you were meant to live, you first have to know what “fulfilling” means to you. As my man Jordan Peterson said:
One of the main reasons people don’t get what they want is because they don’t actually figure out what it is.
If you want to figure out what your “it” is, click here.
The only way to figure out what your “it” is, what fulfills you, is by activating your self-awareness superpower — the type of self-awareness that will help you uncover your core values and priorities. And one great way to gain self-awareness is to spend time alone. (It might be the only way to gain self-awareness if you think about it.)
During this time alone, you can focus on listening to yourself. Remember, during this time you are limiting outside influences and really focusing on what your inner voice (or whatever you want to call it) is trying to tell you.
Sure, it will be hard at times. You’re going to want to distract yourself. So maybe you need to set up some kind of reward system — if I sit with my thoughts for 10 minutes today, I’ll take myself to my favorite coffee shop and get my favorite drink, for example.
Superpower #2 - Make a New Friend
If you’re asking, “How am I going to make a new friend when I’m spending time alone?” you’re overlooking the most important person in your life — you! I know it sounds strange, and maybe a bit Hallmark-ish, to say that you should be your own best friend, but you really should be.
Think of the superpowers you would have — confidence, resilience, independence — if you could truly say, “I am my own best friend.” And it’s so obvious when you Deliberately Think about it. You spend more time with yourself than anyone else. You talk to yourself more than anyone else. And you have more control over your thoughts and feelings than anyone else does.
But, how much time and effort do you spend strengthening your relationship with yourself? I’m willing to bet it’s not much. You’re too busy building relationships with everyone around you, trying to get everyone else to like you. Even people you couldn’t care less about. But do you like yourself? Why don’t you reallocate some of that time and effort toward your personal growth so that you can look in the mirror and honestly say, “I am my own best friend.”
Superpower #3 - Become Emotionally Self-Sufficient
This thought is a bit morbid, but in the last days of your life, who are you going to be spending the most time with? Probably yourself, right? Your parents, many of your friends and relatives, and maybe even your spouse will be gone. If you have kids and grand kids, they’ll be around, but they’ll probably be experiencing a busy chapter in their lives and won’t get to see you as much as they’d like to.
So there you are, by yourself, with a body weakened by age. Are you going to succumb to despair and depression, which would be very easy to do given your circumstances? No! Not if you have the superpower of emotional self-sufficiency!
According to an article by Steve Taylor Ph.D. on Psychology Today, self-sufficiency is:
. . . the quality of feeling secure and content with oneself, a deep-rooted sense of inner completeness and stability. . . . it’s a feeling of fundamental wholeness and well-being.
In other words, when you’re self-sufficient, you don’t rely on anyone else for your happiness or to bring you out of the doldrums. That’s not to say that you never seek comfort or advice from anyone else but that outside care is a supplement to your own self-care. That at the end of the day, you can take care of yourself, emotionally, because you feel whole and complete.
I used the “end of life” analogy to bring the point home, but how satisfying would your life be if you were emotionally self-sufficient today? You can be! Start by spending some time alone with your thoughts and feelings. Then work on journaling about them because journaling will help you process your thoughts and feelings.
You could even write about your Delights (click here if you’re not sure what a Delight is). Doing so will help you recognize the fact that you can create your own joy.
Superpower #4 - Do What You Want
When you spend time alone, you get to do all the fun, dorky, weird, embarrassing things you might not do when other people are around. The things that make you feel like you.
Having the time and space to do what you want is a superpower because it energizes you and makes you feel good to be alive; it reminds you that life can be fun. These feelings are going to have a positive influence on the rest of your day, and all your positive vibes will be contagious, impacting everyone you interact with.
A few things I enjoy doing when I can do what I want are: watching Gilmore Girls while actually talking to the TV and laughing out loud; singing and/or dancing to my favorite alternative metal songs (it’s not unusual for me to listen to the same song over and over again); and I love going for walks/hikes or bike rides by myself.
What do you enjoy doing when you can do what you want? What are your guilty pleasures? What activities makes you feel like a kid again or like your “true self”? Whatever it is, make some time in your schedule to do it!
Superpower #5 - Experience Personal Development -- Individuation
When you spend time alone, you can focus on processing your thoughts. As technology “improves” and we find more ways to communicate with each other, it becomes increasingly difficult to process our own thoughts. We’re simply subjected to way too many outside influences, all vying for our attention.
These outside influences do their best to tell us who we should be, what we should want, and what we should believe. And, we tend to conform to these standards because we are social creatures and, at a base level, we want to fit in with our community. So, we end up repressing a lot of our own thoughts. We create a persona — the person we show to the world — that isn’t a true representation of who we are.
Individuation is the process of bringing these repressed thoughts to consciousness and using them to dismantle our personas. Through this process, individuation has the superpower to help us realize our full potential — by helping us feel complete and whole.
I could, and maybe will, write a whole post on individuation, but I wanted to introduce the concept here because it’s a pretty powerful one. I’ll end this section with a quote from Carl Jung, a notable psychologist and psychiatrist, whose work focused on individuation:
If we constantly repress thoughts which run counter to the dominant moral system of our society, we will never reach the deeper layers of our psyche, an awareness of which can often substantially improve our lives.
Ready to Spend Some Time Alone?
There’s nothing to it but to do it. Seriously, write it on your calendar if you have to, but schedule some time to be alone. Even if it’s only 5 minutes to start. If you use that 5 minutes wisely and are consistent, that will be enough to get the ball rolling.
Spend that time working on the superpowers we just talked about. I know a great website where you can find all kinds of educational articles, audio recordings, videos, and worksheets to help you with your self-awareness, emotional self-sufficiency, and individuation. (If you’re not catching the hint: it’s this site!) Go scroll through the menus and find some more inspiring content. Email yourself some posts to read later. Or at least bookmark this page so that you can easily come back to it.
I’ve put together a worksheet to accompany this post that will help you go from inspiration to action, so take advantage of that.
Click here for more posts with a “life-changing habits” theme.
If you’re ready to Stop Settling & Start Living! check out our home page to learn more about what The Expectation Gaps has to offer.
And until next time . . . STAY CURIOUS!
Only Have 1 Minute
Carl Jung: What is the Individuation Process? posted to YouTube by Academy of Ideas on 10.26.17
How To Become Whole (Carl Jung & The Individuation Process) posted to YouTube by Einzelganger on 9.25.19
9 Benefits of Spending Time Alone posted to YouTube by Psych2Go on 7.07.18
Learning to Enjoy Being Alone is a Superpower | Joe Rogan and Naval Ravikant posted to YouTube by JRE Clips on 6.04.19
Self-Sufficiency: An Essential Aspect of Well-Being, Steve Taylor Ph.D., Psychology Today, 3.25.13