“The mind must make its own happiness; any troubles can be endured if the sufferer has resources of his own to sustain him.”
― Anthony Storr
Loneliness is just an idea.
It is the implication that you are ever disconnected from those around you. It’s what happens when you depend on interaction to understand — and be okay with — yourself.
Because interaction has less to do with how other people treat you and more to do with how you perceive yourself based on that treatment. It’s not about how many people are actually around us, or giving us love, it’s what that love means to us, and how it alters our mindset toward whatever it is we’re doing or focusing on. Companionship seems like the reinforcement of aloneness and connectivity, but it is also the idea that you not only need someone else’s presence, but their approval, their acceptance.
You can be more alone in a crowded room, and feel more connected in complete solitude.
To the extent that we are separate beings, or to the extent that we are aware that we are separate beings, is how “lonely” we can ever be. Essentially: you are only as alone as you think you are.
I grew up without too many friends, just the occasional boy or girl you are forced to meet because your Dad and Mom are priests and it’s a must to socialize.
So, I started to develop habits that made me feel less bored while at home, like singing, playing guitar, or reading. Also, I don’t know since when I fell in love with writing.
I am 25 Years old now, at some point I realized I am not happy with the way I am living my life, slow and unappealing. I am at the age where I should be partying like there is no tomorrow, earning and blowing cash on more parties, drinking, dancing, thinking about starting my own business and maybe think about starting a family.
I’ve been there. I mean, those kinds of life, oh come on.
I realized how after years of being in the company of alcohol, cigarettes, junk food and insomnia, I was still unhappy, puffy and just very sad.
I used to play music, sing, read, write and laugh. God, I loved laughing.
I did them all alone back when I still wore the tiny colorful dress that my mom bought for my entire childhoods. So now, what am I so scared of being alone?
Is it because I am at the age where everyone feels like they need to be part of a group, always buzzing around each other, making notes on how to keep being in group, being cool, hip and funny all the time?
Oh God, No.
Our generation needs to love and embrace solitude, being by yourself, without the whole world going “Oh, My God, are you okay?”. I remember some of my most creative thoughts flowing out when I was in the company of my notebook, pen, guitar and books.
So why don’t we all be alone, together?
My solitude hasn’t been sweet with me. It taught me that crying alone sucks and laughing alone is even worse. But, it taught me how much I needed to laugh by myself and pick myself up every time I cried my eyes to shreds.
Solitude allows you to wear your skin like armor, it allows you to screw up and not have anyone judge you. You prepare a bad dinner, you order takeout. You do not cry or get disgusted at how bad the food tastes. Solitude taught me that. It made me realize I was capable of creating new recipes after I messed up the previous dinner.
Solitude teaches you that your true friends will not mind you being alone with yourself.
Solitude makes you lonely. A lot. But not in a crowd, because for me, that is the worst form of loneliness, being with people with whom you do not share anything. Solitude taught me that there is good loneliness out there too, and it is all yours.
Best of all, solitude makes every group affair more fun, something you look forward to and are a little alien too now, like a foreign film.
Solitude is the P.E coach you are scared of, but you know they mean well. It toughens you, gives you perspective and best, you become a better version of you and you will learn to love yourself.
Getting past that idea that aloneness is lonely is chiefly important because there is something phenomenally foreign and elusive that you find in that kind of sacred idleness. When you stop working and start being. When you stop defining yourself by the roles you play for other people — and for yourself. You stop seeing yourself within the context of a society, you stop judging yourself by comparison. You start diffusing your mindset of thinking through what would be acceptable to others. You don’t just start to hear yourself talk, but you realize that you are a person, hearing a mind.
And you begin to communicate with yourself in ways that are so much deeper, more fathomable, more understandable, than language can ever permit. As Huxley again once said: “In spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody. The essential substance of every thought and feeling remains incommunicable, locked up in the impenetrable strong-room of the individual soul and body. Our life is a sentence of perpetual solitary confinement.”
This is not a bad thing, though.
It shows you who you are because you’re no longer being someone else to someone else. You are only to yourself. You stop behaving to fit a standard and start acting for the sake of survival, of being alive, of humanness. You don’t realize how much of your daily life, how many of your rote actions, are contrived solely by the means of being “acceptable” to the world around you, and how much these actions that are not founded in genuineness, disconnect you from yourself.
Solitude is the most important practice of all. It grounds you in what is and helps you escape from what you think should be. It is both infuriating and freeing for just that reason: it leaves you alone to see who you are and what you do; more importantly, it leaves you alone to see the real essence of what it is to be a person, the good, the bad, the downright odd and ugly. It leaves you no choice but to contemplate the bigger picture, the underlying reasoning, the way things are.
The only time we see the whole structure clearly is when we step away from it.