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 – Paul Tillich
I love the nuances of language and the multiple meanings that one word invites. But in some cases these subtle differences in meaning are not noticed: for example, being alone is often assumed to be abject loneliness rather than peaceful solitude. In fear of miserable loneliness a stigma has developed around being alone; it now implies you have no friends or you’re terribly sad in your loneliness. Concern can be kind but only when it’s granted. Not everyone who is alone or wants to be alone is lonely.
Feeling bliss in one’s solitude is often misconstrued as antisocial behaviour or as a cover up for deep sorrow. Is it really so strange to be equally as happy spending time with friends or family as well as yourself?
GOING OUT ALONE
Let me clear up a few misconceptions that are made about going out alone for the reassurance of those who enjoy solo outings and those who wouldn’t dream of it.
Why has going it solo become synonymous with sadness?
I feel like there’s always been a stigma around being alone which has made it harder for many people to feel contentment in solitude.
It’s quite rewarding to practice being at ease with one’s self, whether it be having a coffee alone or booking that trip that no-one else can go to. Life can be so busy and I’ve often found a great remedy in solitude.
Solitude doesn’t have to be antisocial or sorrowful, it can give you the time and space needed to reflect, rejuvenate and explore.
What are your thoughts on solitude?