Solitude or Loneliness

Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.
Paul Tillich

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.
May Sarton


~Solitude~ (Photo credit: Dhoomakethu!!)

Since the beginning of human existence, man has struggled with the problem of loneliness. The harshest punishment ever inflicted on man. other than death, was to banish him from the society. On the contrary, there were few wise men who separated themselves from the mainstream society to work in isolation. The English language has been benevolent enough to use two words for distinguishing these types as solitude and loneliness. Solitude could be defined as self-imposed isolation from the world thinking about the one’s own problems. Loneliness is an externally imposed isolation on the individual because of the circumstances and the prevailing social conditions.

However, we would just delve upon what this isolation is ? What change it brings about in us ?

Most often the thoughts that influence us are from the company we keep. These thoughts hit us constantly from all sides making our minds more agitated. There are good thoughts, there are bad thoughts and then, there are depressing thoughts. It depends on the individual’s mental makeup to choose his preferred thoughts among the bunch which is hurled upon him constantly. The decision that he would take would determine his future course, his destiny. If he takes the good thoughts and translates them into action, he would be going really farther in his life. On the other hand, if one holds on to the depressing ones, his life would experience a down-slide.

Now one may ask why some individuals like isolating themselves. To harbor their own thoughts about them, they need to keep isolation. They don’t want new ideas from the outside world. They want to cultivate their own thought-seeds, grow them and put them forward to their friends when the fruit is ripe. Solitude has been acknowledged by most scientists, poets, artists and all as the key to their creativity and novelty of thought. We always think different if we are alone than when we are with someone else. Our craving for solitude is from the stone age when the man isolated himself from others by staying in a cave. The so-called family is next level of solitude from society, where we meet like-minded or loving people and their presence affects how we think about our personal lives. This is a step away from complete socialization and a step toward solitude. Solitude is refreshing and rejuvenating, at whichever level you experience it. It is no wonder that many poets have composed on solitude.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lye.
Alexander Pope

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

I would spare a paragraph for loneliness. Loneliness is the depression we spoke about earlier. We think that we are worthless and nobody really cares about our good or well-being. That, the world is a humbug. That what we see around is just a forgery of emotions, a faking of niceties and the formality of informality. This kind of feeling is the real end of the world for a person. It is not something new. People feel lonely when things go wrong. It is cancerous feeling which grows if you dwell upon it. And the more it grows, the more you would hate to mix with society, to meet your regular friends and family. This loneliness could be because of the recent breakup with your partner, feeling inferior due to loss in a challenge/competition. The only thing which can bring us back from this vicious circle is some positive influence or a thought. Something inside or outside says ‘Let’s continue walking and not brood on the past. Meet new people and forget the unhappy things, people, events. All the problems that we face make us stronger.’ These lines might give you solace and feel your life is larger than your problems. Problems,often, are so minuscule and minute that you would feel silly to cry or feel depressed or the dreaded word of all : lonely. Make loneliness feel lonely and leave it. Don’t give it company or you will be lonely. 🙂

Conclusion : Solitude and loneliness are both the isolation of an individual from society. They are different because of  his/her attitude to the problem which just came by one’s way. ‘Keep walking, look everything anew. Silence that you feel after listening loud banter gives you comfort, same silence can give eeriness,uneasiness if it is far too long.


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