Imagine yourself within an isolation chamber up top a mountain overlooking a beautiful view. The music is playing and you are supposed to come up with an answer within a certain amount of time… and the question is:
What is the difference between isolation and solitude?
We tend to have an emotional response to these ideas. Isolation often feels forced… when we want to be around other people but for whatever reason we can not be. Where solitude has a lofty chosen alone-time feel of desired self-reflection. The elements can be the same… you are by yourself thinking your thoughts and feeling your emotions. But something shifts within your perception. One is scary and sad where the other is wanted and pleasurable.
Curious how similar situations can have such differing feelings within us depending on our perception.
So how does this happen? Well there is a lot of people out there working on the answer to this question. However, one of the main points is that we get to choose. We are in charge of thoughts we put upon a situation. We may not control the emotional response but we do have the ability to go in with an approach that can hinder or help these moments.
For instance, you are in a crowded room and feeling overwhelmed. You an decide that you want to pull back for a moment and regroup. You can physically and or emotionally do this, but it is a conscious choice to take a moment to breathe. You might feel overstimulated by the number of people and data points coming at you. Hence, you are deciding to isolate yourself as a way to gather your thoughts and feel strong about yourself.
Also you can find yourself sitting in your home on a Wednesday night wishing the phone would ring. It won’t. You see yourself moving into a place of sadness. You can decide to allow your own curiosity to become part of a time for reflection. You don’t have to push aside the feelings or create a distraction. Instead you can take this moment to introspect and experience the sensation of being lonely or alone. And then you can consider all of the moments, interactions, and people who care for you on any given day. Being grateful for the solitude you are experiencing now as a way to connect more fully with your own emotional states.
These are just two examples of how to turn you have the ability to turn any and every situation into an experience that works for you. You may want to be by yourself or you may not want to but none of that matters when you get to decide what perception you want to take upon any situation. You are in control of your thoughts and actions. When you know better of what you want, then you do better, and when that happens then you feel better. Deciding for yourself what things mean and having meaning for you is a huge step in gaining the strength and happiness you desire.