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.
How do you feel when you are alone? In research I conducted on loneliness with Sarah Wright at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, we distinguish between loneliness and solitude.In addition, make an effort to get out there more and meet people. New friends are unlikely to just show up and knock on your door. The connections you develop with the people around you will also fill you with joyful feelings when alone that will help you to replace loneliness with aloneness.
Loneliness is subjective—a negative, distressing emotional experience associated with being alone. Solitude, on the other hand, is merely the objective state of being alone without the negative emotional experience associated with it.
To illustrate, suppose you are physically alone, for instance walking in nature or sitting by yourself in a room. You have the choice to be either in a state of solitude or a state of loneliness. If you do not feel any negative emotions associated with being alone, you are experiencing solitude; if you do feel the negative emotions, you are experiencing loneliness.
This week, make a commitment to develop your relationship with yourself. Each day, spend a little more time with yourself until you find the good friend that awaits you within.
Once you encounter this part of yourself, you will cease to experience negative emotions such as insecurity, fear, anxiety, and distress when you are alone. Accordingly, you will cease to experience loneliness.
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).