In our world today, the number of people in a situation of solitude is seriously increasing. We are connected to the world, we have hundreds of cyber friends, yet, more and more of us experience these feelings of loneliness, isolation, perceived rejection, and eventually depression.
Solitude is everywhere, in large cities, in group situation and in family. It is in the older population and also now among the teens and the young adults. Solitude is rampant in all socioeconomic groups. The theme is a favorite in literature, art and music, a trigger for mental illness, and a cause of major crimes.
However, we do not really talk about it. In our society, it is shameful because it is associated with weakness. When we would like to be understood and helped, let alone being listen to, we take refuge in…anything that will mask this feeling of intense doubt and despair. We watch TV, we lose ourselves on internet and social medias, we cultivate false interest and false friends. Worse yet, we use alcohol, drugs, antidepressant, and porn…anything not to face ourselves.
How could we face ourselves and our distress? We are constantly confronted to these impossible beautiful people (who spend their lives sculpting themselves to feed their narcissistic personality). We witness these fast and somewhat miraculous professional successes (when we are painfully working our way toward a hypothetical retirement). We cannot seem to stay in long term relationship because we were fed with absolute, meaning unconditional, love that only exist in the thousands of movies we have watched instead of trying to have a meaningful relationship with the people around us.
Of course we feel insignificant and unworthy so we try to boost ourselves up, a selfie here and there on facebook, but at the end of the day, we are still alone in our heart. We do not want to admit it so we live our solitude as a misery, an enemy, a weakness, something to hide. This kind of solitude is insidious, it creeps on us while we text our friends, while we watch TV, while we prefer to stay glued to our facebook in the middle of a party or worse at a dinner table.
-There are several categories of solitude:
– The solitude that we suffer from, experienced as a taboo
– The solitude that helps us to work on a challenge such a sport achievement
– The solitude as a result of isolation and abandonment (the worst)
– The solitude as a choice
We were born alone and we will die alone. Solitude is an integral part of our life. It is also an essential tool to a healthy personal development. We need solitude to have the ability to reflect upon ourselves, to learn who we really are, to accept our strengths as well as our weaknesses, to decide maybe to make some changes and to create a sense of purpose. It obviously comes with some anxieties but once we welcome them and face who we really are, we also get better prepared to go toward others and create meaningful ties. It is only when we understand ourselves better that we can truly give and obtain this sense of wellbeing that is also called happiness.
Solitude used as a positive force will teach us peace and love for ourselves. In turn, solitude will give us what we thought it was taking away from us: LOVE