In modern society solitude is seen as something absolutely bad, as something that everyone should try to avoid. In order not to feel “alone” we keep checking our social network accounts, we turn on our mp3 when we are walking down the street and the radio while we are driving. We are afraid of solitude, but most of all we are afraid of being alone with ourselves, of facing our problems, of understanding that we should do something we don’t like. Being among people or focusing on something else (i.e. a TV program or a song) is just a way to keep ourselves busy in order to ignore the flux of thoughts of our mind.
When you focus on some activities everything is fine, when you are watching your favourite TV show nothing exists but the show, you have no problems, no worries. Sometimes some ideas might pop up in your mind but it is just temporary, you just have to shift back your attention to the screen and everything goes back alright. If instead you focus on your mind you might feel overwhelmed by your thoughts, you might feel lost and alone. But it is just because we are not used to face ourselves: we are so addicted to our busy life-style that we can’t help thinking that being alone with ourselves is something that should be avoided.
Of course I am not trying to tell you that we should all become hermits, that social life is to be avoided in every possible way, the message I am trying to share is that our life-style is too chaotic, that by focusing only on the outside and on the things we have to do we have forgotten how to savour life fully. Too many times we do certain activities or we take some decision just because we think that this is the right way to do, but how often do we really look inside ourselves to understand if it is really true? How often do we dare to ask ourselves what we really want in life? These are scary questions and so we often decide to move on, to forget about them. On the other hand, if we decide to pursue a path of self-understanding we would soon realise that it is not so scaring, that it isn’t so hard to fulfil our true needs once we identify them.
As a consequence I would like to ask you to listen to yourself, to stop for a few minutes every day in order to understand what really matters to you, what you really want and what makes you truly happy. Even if you start just with 2 or 3 minutes of reflection it will turn out to be really useful. The simple fact of starting is the proof that you are aware that maybe you have to change something and that you think that changing is possible. The ones who keep going on without reflecting upon his actions will never achieve anything, but this is not your case. When you master the ability of listening to your true needs you will probably realise that:
- What we are really looking for is happiness: some people call it wealth, other power, but in reality what we are all looking for is happiness. We are always struggling to have something more to be the perfect one, but this is not the way to go: as long as we will feel that we are not fine we will never be happy;
- Everyone is acting exactly the same. Look the people around you, remember those you have seen today: isn’t anyone acting in the same way? We all follow our daily routine, we all do things we consider right and avoid those that we name as wrong, but we don’t really try to understand the reasons behind our actions, we are constantly on auto-pilot mode. Would you try to give up this attitude and start to reflect upon every action?
- Money isn’t that important. Have a look at the so called wealthy people, do they look truly happy? Do you really believe that their life is better than your? Many studies have shown that having more money doesn’t mean having a more satisfying life, but I am sure you already know that. As soon as your primary needs (food, clothes and shelter) are fulfilled having more won’t make much difference. What really matters is not what you have, but the way you look at yourself;
- Attitude matters a lot. You could be doing the most exciting thing in the world, but if your mindset is the wrong one you will never appreciate it; on the other even a boring activity might become worth doing if you take it in the right way (i.e. cleaning your room might seem an unpleasant thing to do but if you understand that having a tidy room will make your life more pleasant you might decide that cleaning isn’t actually that bad). The way we approach every activity has a great relevance on how we will perceive it, if you want to have an happy day try to start it with a smile;
- Quality is more important than quantity. This concept is right for almost everything in our life, but in my opinion it is especially true when talking about people. When don’t need to have many friends or to know everyone, we don’t need to be famous. Is the quality of our relationships that really matters. What we really need is someone who is willing to listen to us, who is there when we need him. If you know everyone in your neighbourhood but you don’t have a close friend to talk to it is like if you were alone. So be grateful for the few friends you have, and never underestimate their importance;
- We can be happy right now. If we manage to appreciate what we have, if we stop living either in the future or in the past, but instead we decide to savour fully every moment of our life, we will soon realise that happiness isn’t something we can’t reach. It simply doesn’t lie in the things in which we usually look for it.