Alonement: How to be alone and absolutely own it by Francesca Specter

Genre: Self-help

Originally Published: 2021

No. of Pages: 320

Spending time alone is something which comes easy for some, but which others may dread and go to drastic lengths to avoid at all costs. The latter was very much how Francesca Specter felt, before she discovered the benefits, joy, and peace that evolved from sitting with yourself in solitude. 

‘Alonement’, coined by Francesca Specter, is a term which she defines as ‘celebrating and valuing the time you spend alone as positive, joyful and/or regenerative’. The title, which is used for her blog, podcast, and now book, homes in on Specter’s concept of spending time alone. Specter firstly acknowledges the difficulty in actually being alone, even though essentially we are, and always will be, alone as we only truly have ourselves as a companion. For some, we may not want to sit and be with our thoughts, and other reasons may be that we are too busy with work. In particular, where the relaxation of Covid restrictions have allowed our social lives to return to a somewhat level of normal, we are now filling our ‘spare time’ with seeing friends, going out, and meeting new people. Whilst of course this is exciting and a relief to be seeing our loved ones regularly again, Specter points out the necessity of deliberately carving out alonement time for ourselves. 

Alonement covers all bases of the concept, providing readers with a solid understanding of this new term. Specter presents ideas on how to make our alonement valuable, using it as a chance to dig deeper into ourselves and to get to know youbetter. A chapter also highlights the benefits of travelling solo, something I’m sure many of us would love to do but are not quite sure how. Additionally, Specter interweaves an interesting angle of alonement and relationships – being single and alone, and also setting those boundaries for alonement when in a romantic relationship.

In modern society, the state of being alone has mustered negative connotations, often associated with loneliness, unsociability, and sadness. Through Alonement, where the book itself is a powerful statement, Specter criticizes society’s judgemental eye and asks us to embrace our alone time and not be embarrassed when alone in public, to try to understand the significant need for it, and hopes that this important cultural shift will soon emerge.

Whilst the premise of the book itself was not particularly ground-breaking for me, Specter does offer a refreshing perspective and an overall thought-provoking concept. This is especially harnessed through creative anecdotes and insights from friends, and comments from celebrities, researchers, and psychologists. The book is clearly well-researched, illuminating intriguing facts and figures, whereby the materials are all referenced to aid your further curiosity.

Though this book may not be to everyone’s taste, I thoroughly enjoyed it myself and believe it can be of value to all. Use the book, and the notion of alonement, as a starting point to strengthen your solitude skills and to learn to love your very own company.

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