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Today, I will follow-up on my last post about solitude. It is an important topic. Much too often, because it’s taboo to talk about our isolation and depression, we end up rejecting it and internalize it and thus increasing the self-destructive effect of our solitude.

Just as for about any other emotion or character traits, solitude has its negative impact and its positive effects. The positive effect of solitude is that when we accept it and embrace it, we can use it to practice a deep introspection that facilitates self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is the essential step toward the ability to validate ourselves through achievements, the ability to explore our limits and also to open ourselves up to the people and to the world around us.

Introspection can be practiced at home of course but also at work, on the beach, or in any other situation where it is possible to isolate yourself for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes is all it takes to regenerate yourself in the busy life you’re trying to maintain whoever you are and whatever you do. Fifteen minutes of internal peace will allow you to tackle the remaining of the day with efficiency and energy.

So here you are, no guilt involved, relax your muscles, fingers and toes included, deep breathe with your belly, let your thoughts coming through you and let them leave you. Visualize your favorite peaceful image and use your five senses to be in that image and re-evaluate, re-center. It is not about escaping but rather making choices among your priorities. When you’re ready, give yourself few minutes before jumping back into action, contract your muscles, open your eyes and re-visit the tasks that you have planned to accomplish for the day.

Remember the teachings of Socrates;” know yourself”. He was a Greek philosopher but overall he deeply understood human nature! Enjoy your daily introspective adventures…

In our world today, the number of people in a situation of solitude is seriously increasing. We are connected to the world, we have hundreds of cyber friends, yet, more and more of us experience these feelings of loneliness, isolation, perceived rejection, and eventually depression.

Solitude is everywhere, in large cities, in group situation and in family. It is in the older population and also now among the teens and the young adults. Solitude is rampant in all socioeconomic groups. The theme is a favorite in literature, art and music, a trigger for mental illness, and a cause of major crimes.

However, we do not really talk about it. In our society, it is shameful because it is associated with weakness. When we would like to be understood and helped, let alone being listen to, we take refuge in…anything that will mask this feeling of intense doubt and despair. We watch TV, we lose ourselves on internet and social medias, we cultivate false interest and false friends. Worse yet, we use alcohol, drugs, antidepressant, and porn…anything not to face ourselves.

How could we face ourselves and our distress? We are constantly confronted to these impossible beautiful people (who spend their lives sculpting themselves to feed their narcissistic personality). We witness these fast and somewhat miraculous professional successes (when we are painfully working our way toward a hypothetical retirement). We cannot seem to stay in long term relationship because we were fed with absolute, meaning unconditional, love that only exist in the thousands of movies we have watched instead of trying to have a meaningful relationship with the people around us.

Of course we feel insignificant and unworthy so we try to boost ourselves up, a selfie here and there on facebook, but at the end of the day, we are still alone in our heart. We do not want to admit it so we live our solitude as a misery, an enemy, a weakness, something to hide. This kind of solitude is insidious, it creeps on us while we text our friends, while we watch TV, while we prefer to stay glued to our facebook in the middle of a party or worse at a dinner table.

-There are several categories of solitude:

– The solitude that we suffer from, experienced as a taboo

– The solitude that helps us to work on a challenge such a sport achievement

– The solitude as a result of isolation and abandonment (the worst)

– The solitude as a choice

We were born alone and we will die alone. Solitude is an integral part of our life. It is also an essential tool to a healthy personal development. We need solitude to have the ability to reflect upon ourselves, to learn who we really are, to accept our strengths as well as our weaknesses, to decide maybe to make some changes and to create a sense of purpose. It obviously comes with some anxieties but once we welcome them and face who we really are, we also get better prepared to go toward others and create meaningful ties. It is only when we understand ourselves better that we can truly give and obtain this sense of wellbeing that is also called happiness.

Solitude used as a positive force will teach us peace and love for ourselves. In turn, solitude will give us what we thought it was taking away from us: LOVE

Have you ever felt demotivated or are you always driven?

Are you ever dissatisfied with the accomplishment of a task, a job, a physical activity or even a hobby?
How do you work best: with a reward or a punishment?

Do you sometimes feel like doing nothing? You’re tired, down, blasé or depressed and you procrastinate because there is always another day!

Are you telling yourself that you will never be able to succeed? Or are you able to take up any challenge?
Is your hyperactivity an obstacle to your motivation?

Are you experiencing a “burn out” at work for instance? You want to work but you cannot bring yourself to get into it.
How do you motivate your children to learn?

Motivation is the focus of our life as parents, teachers, educators, managers, health providers, economists and of course individuals. Theories and strategies abound, yet, we recurrently face the issue of motivation and its multiple facets.

My list of questions to you is far from being exhaustive so let us start with your questions and your comments as a guide to our conversation on this fascinating subject. I am really looking forward to interact with you so please come forward!