HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

DAILY CHOICE: Solitude vs. Lonliness

Solitude vs. Lonliness

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REFLECTION:

It is not always lonely to be alone. Quite the opposite. Solitude can be glorious. True loneliness is a product of isolation and rejection, feeling unwanted and unloved, personally impoverished. Solitude is a choice. Loneliness is not. Solitude has its companions, a full range of active senses, heightened awareness and connection to place and time, firm grounding for the feet and thin air for the soaring spirit. Solitude feels good, loneliness does not. Solitude supports creativity, loneliness breeds only discontent. Human presence even in great numbers does not immunize against loneliness. When no one cares, no one cares period. If you feel no one cares, no one cares period. The perception is the reality. Each of us reaches out to connect. That is natural. It is not enough to be an island, a solitary self in a self-sufficient world. Each of us must also reach back in to touch another reacher for all of this to work.

MUSES:
Language has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone, and the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.
Paul Tillich

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
Mother Teresa I never said ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is all the difference.
Greta Garbo

I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
Henry David Thoreau

One of the greatest necessities in America it to discover creative solitude.
Carl Sandburg

On stage I make love to twenty-five thousand people; then I go home alone.
Janice Joplin

The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.
Norman Cousins

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