• August 5th, 2020

The gift of solitude

Imagine growing up in an environment where spending time alone is seen as a bad thing and is openly discouraged. 

Often people who are introvert love to spend some time on their own and there seems to be a perception that they are either troubled or do not like being around other people. 

Such connotation has therefore bred a culture where the gift of solitude is lost, overlooked and heavily underestimated. 

Therefore undermining the fact that it is in solitude where one may find peace, understanding and authenticity especially in the world of conformity.

There is also no doubt that there are so many people out there who can testify or tell a whole story of how solitude, which may have not even come about voluntarily, has surprisingly transformed their lives, perspective and eventually their life experiences to a whole new level. 

Lately, there seems to emerge a growing number of people who, although most of their lives revolved around a significant other or a group of people, explicitly express how they would now prefer to spend incredible periods of time alone – and some even attributed solitude as the one factor that has paved their path to personal transformation and discovery. 

From thousands of biographies of the world’s most successful inventors such as Nicola Tesla, Bill Gates and many others, one outstanding trait that they possessed was that they all spend some considerable period of time in solitude. 

Carl Jung, the renowned Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, was himself an introvert child who spent most of his time alone and in his rich imagination. As an adult, he then lived on a lakeshore and preferred nature’s serenity. 

At this juncture, the questions we must ask ourselves are that, if there is so much good evidence on the possible advantages of spending time alone, why is there no mainstream support for it and no systematic emulation? 

Why don’t psychologists and psychiatrist even suggest it as part of the coping or healing strategies for conditions like depression alongside, for example, the psychotropic drugs? 

Because then it would also give the person or patient broader options for which they may find as the best for their unique situation. 

But I guess the absence of such mechanisms explains it all. That, as humans we prefer quick fixes more than taking time to endure processes which may be temporarily painful and uncomfortable but can yield better results in the long term. 

Like taking the time away from the busy and fast urban life into nature and disconnect from all technology even just for 72 hours every once in a while. 

As people, we may need to do a little investigation into why we seem to be naturally inclined to resist moments of solitude at every turn. 

It would also be the best time to personally take the challenge to educate ourselves on the importance and benefits of solitude so that we take the time out every now and then, and we may as well start seeing how it can even have a great positive impact on us as individuals and the community. 

As someone once said, we cannot continue doing what we have been doing and expect different results, nor can we solve our problems with the same mindset that created them.


• Oshimwenyo is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.

Staff Reporter
2020-04-03 10:56:26 | 4 months ago

Be the first to post a comment...