Thought Catalog

The Difference Between Loneliness And Solitude

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“Do you ever feel a loneliness that is so deep that your chest aches, and you can be in a room full of people, but still feel that awful ache?”

Loneliness is not caused by solitude. On the contrary, solitude may be therapeutic. We may be surrounded by people yet still feel so alone. Company goes way beyond physical presence. It takes so much more to fill up the gaps in our hearts caused by loneliness.

Sometimes all we desire is for the people around us to go beyond listening to our problems or uncovering how our day went but rather, look into our souls and understand us in ways others never did, to surpass conversing on superficial matters. We yearn for someone to actually make us feel like we’re not alone, and liberate us from the torture of being left with our thoughts slowly consuming us. 

Solitude on the other hand, may actually set us free- that’s the beauty of it. It allows us to shut ourselves out from the world and focus on ourselves and I mean, only ourselves. It’s relaxing our minds, letting our thoughts run wild, letting loose. Solitude can come in many forms, be it reading a book with a good cup of coffee or listening to your favorite music playlist.

Loneliness is a negative state of mind, accompanied by the feeling of emptiness or isolation. Loneliness is subjective and a person may live a life in solitude or rather, socially perceived isolation and not feel lonely whereas another person with a great social life and the constant accompaniment of others may feel lonely. Loneliness instills negativity in our minds and in our lives, affecting our thoughts and subsequently, our attitude towards life. Loneliness is embedded in a sense of inadequacy, it heightens the feeling of remoteness with those around us.

Solitude on the other hand, is a positive state of mind. Solitude is by choice and in contrary to loneliness, it can make you feel wholesome. It is the first step to connecting with our inner selves and a stride towards greater self-awareness. No matter how extroverted or in need of attention we may be, we all require alone time, or rather, solitude. What’s more, it may very well be the key to “finding ourselves”. It grounds us, allowing us to take a step back from unhappiness, misery or even exhaustion.

The beauty of solitude is that it restores us while loneliness depletes us. TC mark

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Cut yourself some slack. One of the biggest regrets most people have about their 20s is that they didn’t enjoy them more. And I’m not talking about “buy more expensive dinners, take another trip to Thailand” type of enjoyment. I mean having the ability to take a deep breath and sip coffee in the morning knowing that you have done, and are doing, your best.

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