the beauty of being alone

Posted on Location: , 3 min read

If you want to appreciate your food, be hungry. If you want to appreciate your partner more, spend a little time apart.

Proximity does not always breed “closeness” or connection. In fact, the opposite might be true; spending time apart can do wonders for a relationship.  If we want strong, healthy relationships, it is important that both parties prioritize themselves on a regular basis.

As a new relationship blooms and grows in its early months and years, the tendency is for both parties to want to spend as much time as possible together.  This is obvious; the passion is high, you’re learning about each other, you’re building on your knowledge and developing feelings as you explore each other’s minds, and if you choose, your bodies. But you can overdo it. Easily.

Spend too much time together initially, and a few things can happen;

one, you forget yourself, sacrifice your own personal pursuits and hobbies to spend time gratifying yourself in new ways. But, the short-term pleasure of spending time with a new person and the excitement of discovery and new experience, if short-lived, means you sacrificed your passions for something that didn’t last. Not good.

two, as the initial excitement of newness and discovery wears off, you may begin to resent each other for taking up the time you would normal be spending alone. This phenomenon, that I have experienced myself (both in my marriage, and in newer friendships I’ve starting since moving), I’m going to call familiarity fatigue.

We are built to be in community, to be together, smaller parts of a larger “whole”. But, we are also built to spend time alone. The reset of energy and attention we receive when we spend time alone with ourselves cannot be underplayed. It’s why I run. It’s why people paint, or build computers, or do yoga, or crosswords. Alone time is reset time, growth time, learning time.

Alone time resets our tolerance levels. 

No more snapping at your kids, lower levels of life-related frustration, unsalvageable arguments. Spending time alone actually makes us better at meaningful relationship-building and more tolerable to others.

Alone time makes us smarter. 

Days off are not just for Netflix binges, pot noodles, and laying in bed. Many people, including me, will spend alone time reading, or writing, or listening to podcasts. The lack of interference means that alone time is the perfect time for learning.

Alone time makes us healthier. 

When we finally get a moment to ourselves, most of us will use it to have a cup of tea, rest our feet, or get some sleep. But one of the best ways to use our time alone is to exercise. Run. Walk. Swim. Do yoga. Regular exercise is basically like an all-natural super-drug for your body.

Alone time helps us move forward. 

If there’s one thing solitary time is great for, it’s reflecting on past experiences and optimizing things. When we are alone, we can look back and inform our futures.

Alone time makes us more creative. 

The creative ‘middle-ground’ where our minds can wander and our new projects are born, living somewhere between sleep and activity. Alone time is the best time for new ideas.

Alone time helps us recharge. 

Duh! Rest is good for you. Almost as if our bodies and our minds need it to survive.

Alone time makes us happier and calmer. 

Spending time alone allows us time to focus on our own thoughts and feelings. We can prevent burnout and familiarity fatigue by prioritizing ourselves more often.

Want to be healthier, happier, more alert, and a better partner? Spend some time on your own. Get lost in your own head; get yourself good and lost.


Cover photo: Courtesy of Paul Gilmore

Note: This piece was originally published on Mick’s Medium page.



Subscribe so you don’t miss a post

Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates!

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No Comments Yet.

starting from scratch: passion, pastry, and parenthood with adrienne blumthal
the beauty of being alone