person wearing gray hoodie jacket watching lake

Can Loneliness Be a Resource?

There is an aphorism by Jean Paul Sartre that values the healthy aspect of loneliness:

If you are sad when you are alone, you are probably in bad company”.

There is nothing more truthful than this statement. If you cannot enjoy being with yourself, how could you cultivate broader relationships that involve other personalities, different visions of the world and thoughts?

Loneliness is a connection with oneself

Psychologists state that being on your own will allow you to enter into yourselves and to understand the important aspects of your deep being. If lived well, then, solitude is a constructive time and a precious opportunity for personal development, ultimately it is freedom.

Freedom to enjoy your presence and your deep essence. Freedom to take moments, even long ones, of reflection on yourself; clarification on your thoughts, doubts, trying to put order in your mind, reassess priorities and erase what unnecessarily afflicts you.

Loneliness is a gift that everyone should give to themselves, a fundamental resource for a healthy life. It could be seen as a pause in life that gives you energy and makes you start again.

Therefore, you shouldn’t perceive the state of loneliness like an insane perspective, as often happens.

It is not always a negative state of mind that brings you discomfort, a sense of abandonment, sadness, emptiness, and suffering.

The pleasure of solitude in introverted people

Jenn Granneman in her book The Secret Life of Introverts does not make the introverted person feel wrong, but gives a new perspective to the introverted reader, making them feel understood, welcomed  in their particular world that often is far from the others. Introverts like to savor the positive mental state of loneliness, the pleasure of spending time in solitude, of being alone.

Quiet moments for introverts are not dead times, that time is not wasted. On the contrary, they are meant to help to rediscover one’s identity, often lost in the frenetic chaos of everyday life. Loneliness can actually help improve your life and character. With silent reflection you get to process problems and thoughts, you get rid of daily oppressions and the brain fully enjoys them, regenerating itself, through concentration on the real vital issues, those that really matter.

Loneliness is important for introverted people. Without those authentic moments of privacy, introverts would feel worn out and weighed down, tired and lacking energy.

Solitude serves to regenerate energy, give more strength and vitality to those who, otherwise, could not get moments of joy. Stillness is “equipping” yourself again, and should not be confused with isolation.

Hikikomori syndrome

If there is something beneficial in solitude, on the other hand it should not be confused with isolation that can be associated with a pathology, a syndrome that characterizes subjects who do not go out because the world literally scares them. The extreme example of loneliness is called by the Japanese, Hikikomori (stay aside).

This syndrome is characterized by the particular social paralysis that impacts the affected subjects, very often of young age, who have even stopped going to school or work. It’s a total self-confinement caused by fear of the other and social fears.

This pathological form is of course clearly distinguished from the behavior of those who, like introverts, savor loneliness, and take only a break from the world for a few days or just a few hours, and then recover, recharge and return among people and the daily routine, made of work, school, relatives, friends, and ultimately, life.

What do you think about loneliness? Do you know introverted people? Or are you an introvert yourself?

Please visit my blog

If you haven’t done so yet, please sign up for the Wise and Shine newsletter, and also connect with us on social media Instagram account: @wise_and.shine and Twitter account @wise_nd_shine, Facebook Wise and Shine Zine and Pinterest as Wise & Shine.

And finally don’t forget to listen to Wise and Shine podcasts!

30 thoughts on “Can Loneliness Be a Resource?

  1. I think you’re so right. Life can be so busy and noisy. Sometimes I need to be alone … to breathe, to relax and centre myself. I agree we need to be comfortable with ourselves and our own company and ignore others who don’t understand. My husband is always saying I don’t need to be alone, that I’m a people person. I guess I’m less extroverted than he thinks as I’m excited on the days I can stay and work from home, closing out the world.

  2. This post completely resonated with me. Loneliness is indeed a connection to oneself. I do think there’s a difference between loneliness and solitude. One feels like longing, the other feels like a peaceful personal choice. Both are necessary to get us to the heart of what really matters to us.

  3. When I was younger I always thought that I am an extravert. I always put myself out there being social and friendly. I thought this is what everyone expected me to be, and yes, I wanted to be popular. I still have lots of friends who live all over the world, I love keeping in touch with them, it’s invaluable to know someone cares. But at this point in life I consider myself to be an introvert by choice. I select my people very carefully not trying to be popular, or maybe only trying to be cool with certain folks. I enjoy solitude sometimes only when I know that it’s not forever. Good balance is something I am looking for not to be exhausted or isolated.

    1. You know Milena, I found out being introvert when I started to get bored more and more often at big parties. I like more small groups so I can have more meaningful conversations. Thank you for commenting!

  4. As a dyed-in-the-wool introvert, I am frequently alone, but never lonely. My moments of loneliness in the past felt sad, empty, hollow and bereft in joy. Aloneness, on the other hand, feels like a gold mine of happy choices. Maybe it’s just semantics, but given a choice, I’ll go for aloneness every time! There’s gold in them thar alone moments!

  5. I’ve often thought of loneliness as something that happens TO you, not by choice. Whereas, solitude, or being alone can be instigated BY you. When I’m alone, I don’t usually feel lonely, I relish the private time so I can refuel & think! (and wear my llama pajama pants) I’m also known to go off & do activities by myself which I thoroughly enjoy. I don’t think of any of that as loneliness.

  6. I love this. I feel sometimes that when we are with people we try to become them in order to connect with them, to reflect them through ourselves. But with loneliness we can only reflect ourselves

  7. This post spoke to me. I’m at my best when I work on the road, living out of my Honda Element. There’s lots of opportunity to think and get in touch with the many feelings I experience throughout the day.

  8. Good article Cristiana! I totally agree with there being benefits to being alone. As an introvert- I very much enjoy and need alone time, as you’ve described.

  9. You’ve given me a new lens in which to think about loneliness. I like how you state it can be a time to reflect on ourselves and our lives. It certainly is less complicated when we aren’t intertwined. Thanks, Cristiana!

Leave a Reply