There is no one more difficult than those who know how to be alone
“There is no one more difficult than those who know how to be alone. He learned to do the scariest thing in the world. So he will never be willing to trade his loneliness for occasional relationships, nor with people who seek company just because they are afraid of emptiness “
The capacity to be alone , is a 1958 article by Winnicot in which the author explains how essential it is to learn to manage the time we spend with ourselves.
Being alone is the competence on which the construction of the self and the relational self is based. The self is the central structure of who we are, it contains within it our personal components and allows us to define ourselves. The relational self is that part of the self that originates from interactions with others.
The ability to be alone should not be confused with either the fear of being alone or with the need to have no one around. This is a very important point made clear by the paradox of loneliness.
The paradox of loneliness says that the best way to be alone is to have someone around . The first experiences of this type are made by the child with his mother. At the root of the paradox is freedom. If I have to be alone because I have no one to be with or am unable to be with anyone, mine is not a free choice. Rather, it is the inevitable consequence of my inability to be with others .
If, on the other hand, I have someone next to me, but I am equally capable of establishing a dialogue with my self that excludes him, then it means that I have learned to be alone.
Being alone is no longer something I have to do, it’s something I know how to do.
Knowing how to do it means having learned 4 things.
The skills to feel good alone
When you are alone you are more vulnerable. You cannot hide behind the choices of others, you have to manage your thoughts, the world outside you must perceive it as a friend and even silence must be understood.
# 1 Freedom
Learning to manage freedom is difficult, there are people who never learn it (for example those with a dependent personality). Freedom obliges you to take responsibility for your choices and support them even when others are against it.
# 2 The thoughts
Thinking can be very dangerous. When thinking derails you can be crushed by a world that you yourself have created in your head. If you can do it, thinking for yourself is a wonderful experience.
# 3 The environment
There are those who experience the world as a constant threat to their well-being or even to their safety. You will be able to be alone with yourself only when you perceive the world as a place of positive possibilities.
# 4 Silence
Silence is regenerating, but those who fear the emptiness that silences leave will not be able to enjoy it. He will have to fill that void of things by accumulating fatigue and tension. The beautiful solitude foresees the love of silence.
The benefits of being alone, doing it right
# 1 Recharge . We are always in a hurry and the only way to take ourselves is to stop which, at the same time, is also a way to recover our energy.
# 2 Evolve. On their own, profound reflections can arise that otherwise would remain hidden in the frenzy of everyday life.
# 3 Gain more self-awareness. Being alone helps to reflect and reflect allows you to get in touch with your authenticity by understanding what really matters in your life.
# 4 Feeling connected with loved ones even from a distance. When there is a distance from a person that we consider important, detachment helps us to perceive the essential elements of the relationship: why we consider it important and what we really miss.
# 5 Create. Loneliness is the cradle of creativity The challenge with oneself has always been an opportunity to test oneself and overcome one’s limits.
# 6 Know yourself. Knowing one’s limits and fears is the privileged key to understanding the world.
# 7 Feeling free. A song said: “Freedom is the most precious of wings, don’t let anyone snatch it from your hands”. When you are alone it is the only time in which you can do what you want without taking away the freedom of others.
# 8 Live in the present. If anxiety makes you live in the future and depression in the past, a state of well-being allows you to live in the present, but to do this it is necessary not to be overwhelmed by external stimuli.
# 9 Shirking away from over-stimulation. This does not apply if you lock yourself in the house and then stay between the TV, the stories, the like count, the checking of the ex’s profile, “find friends nearby” and maybe even Tinder (“no, I’m not on Tinder! “).
Only those who are able to be alone and love themselves are able to project themselves into healthy and rewarding relationships.
Winnicot DW, 1958. The Capacity to be alone. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis.