“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” –Bell Hooks

I'm an extrovert. If I could be surrounded by people at all times, I would. Working from home with my kids (as awesome as they are) makes me desperate for adult time with my husband when he gets off work. I wait by the door like a sad puppy ready to jump when he walks in. The first hour is filled with me following him around giving him a play-by-play of the day and sharing stories of joy and frustration. And then a switch gets flipped. I start feeling desperate for time alone. Time to not be touched, questioned, or bothered. Time to breath.

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But before children, there was a time when being alone felt scary. I had been in a relationship before my husband where trust was not there so leaving my husband's side made me fearful. The times he wanted to be alone, I convinced myself it was because I wasn't enough for him. Why else would he want time apart?

Seeing alone time from both sides (the clingy newlywed and the worn-out mom), I feel like I'd learned its importance.

Here are 4 reasons to make time to be alone:

1. Maintain a healthy identity.

Maintaining our identity is important. We never want to get too attached to someone that we lose who we are in the process. Sure we “become one” with our spouse when we are married, but we both need to be equally whole before we unite in marriage so that there is the right balance of taking and giving. Knowing who we are, our hopes and our dreams are crucial to maintaining our identity.

2. Time to listen to your soul.

It's easy to neglect who we are and what we have to offer the world. Taking time to hear what our soul has to say is important. This can be found through a spiritual practice of prayer, meditation, or reflection.

3. Replenish rather than burnout.

Running ourselves into the ground or becoming irritable with our spouse due to lack of space can cause a quick burnout. Think about it, we have expectations for how we want our day to look and ourselves to feel. Another imperfect human cannot read our minds and follow-through on all of our expectations, so in one way or another, we will burn ourselves out trying to compromise with another person's time and desires. Spending time alone helps us replenish so that we can avoid burnouts and maintain a healthy relationship.

4. Practice gratitude.

Alone time gives us a new perspective. We become more grateful for the people around us. We see life through a fresh lens. From experience, missing someone draws a relationship closer.

If you have a fear of being alone, spend time getting to the root of that fear. Is there insecurity or distrust involved? If someone you love wants alone time, follow suit and remember, you can still grow together while you are apart. 

“Loneliness is sad, but aloneness is blissful.” –Osho


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