Language . . . has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone.
And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone. 2
Solitude is a state of re-charging one's inner battery; Some call it "killing time",
a phrase that would best be excised from our personal vocabularies. 12
I thought afterwards,
‘I like being alone’,
in my pursuit of a profession,
I was often alone.
As I write now,
I am alone,
but don't feel lonely.
So it occurs to me
that aloneness has two faces:
a happy face when I choose to be alone,
and have a strong internal sense of connection
to some significant purpose or person;
a sad face when I allow isolation
to buffet my feelings about. 3
Today's society is fast paced, and we've become accustomed to filling the eeriness of
silence with fluff. We turn to many distractions as a means of escaping feelings of
idleness or boredom.
But the main thing we wish to elude is loneliness.
Solitude does not have to be alienating or lonesome. In fact, solitude and loneliness
are distinctly separate. The worst solitude is to be destitute of sincere friendship. 4
The death of a loved one, a breakup, or the inability to find people who understand you
can leave you feeling isolated. Dictionaries describe loneliness as "being without
companions”. It's natural to experience an emptiness while longing for love or
acceptance. Loneliness is an emotive state that can be experienced whether or not
one is physically alone. 1
In cities no one is quiet, but many are lonely; in the country, people are quiet,
but few are lonely. We tend to fill loneliness with all types of distractions.
For example, some single people would rather spend a Friday night with someone of
he opposite gender they have no genuine interest in, than spend the night alone.
They long for a way of ‘killing time’; while they await that someone they are actually
Then there are young adults who are involved in cliques where they can't really
relate to their companions. However, they would rather feel accepted on a superficial
level than risk feeling outcast. 5
So what is it about being alone that scares us?
Do not be spooked by the unfamiliarity of silence. Silence can be an amazing thing.
It teaches you how to truly listen. It teaches you to pay attention to what's going on
inside of you.
Only when we are alone, can we have the space and peace we need to think without
being outwardly influenced. It therefore becomes easier to make important decisions
as well as identify whatever feelings are culminating within.
Get in touch with yourself so that you can make conscious decisions rather than simply
react to emotions. Appreciate the time you have to yourself. Let the peace and
understanding you find better equip you for the commotion of today's world. 1
Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. 6
It is only when we silence the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally
hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the
doorsteps of our hearts. 7
Aloneness is an existential state which each of us must confront through varying
stages of life. It requires a leap of faith to embrace separateness, which does not mean
foregoing relatedness. However, it does mean giving up dependency and a false sense
of security in favor of autonomy. Accepting aloneness, paradoxically, can make you
more uniquely whole. 3
I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day
at least - and it is commonly more than that - sauntering through the woods and over
the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. 8
There is a need to discover that we are capable of solitary joy and having experienced it,
know that we have touched the core of self. 9
Or are you one of the fortunate kind; alone but not lonely? Unflinching I'll tell you
that I'm alone but not lonely. 10
Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self. 11
Sometimes, going fishing has nothing to do with catching fish . . .
 -Alone But Not Lonely (Adapted) ~Denni Gill (Canadian poet)
 ~Paul Johannes Tillich, The Eternal Now
 ~Mary Lambert
 ~Francis Bacon
 ~Geoffrey F. Fisher
 ~K.T. Jong
 ~Henry David Thoreau
 ~Barbara Lazear Ascher
 ~Mary Chapin Carpenter
 ~May Sarton
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman MA, © 2007-2020
Klaas Tuinman MA
at the virtual Dawn Cove Abbey online
"Roadside Assistance" for your Journey through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
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Alone but not Lonely