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How to be alone: the difference between loneliness and solitude | The JotForm Blog

The truth about loneliness

You can be surrounded by people, at a party, or in the office, and still feel lonely to your core.

And you can be alone, millions of miles away from any human contact, and still feel joyfully connected to the world.

It’s less about our circumstances, more about how we react to them.

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How to be alone: the difference between loneliness and solitude | The JotForm Blog

How to be alone: the difference between loneliness and solitude | The JotForm Blog

https://www.jotform.com/blog/loneliness-vs-solitude/

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Key Ideas

Difference between solitude and loneliness

We use the two terms interchangeably because we’ve been conditioned to think of them as the same state.

Loneliness is being alone — and not liking it. It’s a feeling. Solitude is being alone — and content. It’s a choice. If you can master solitude, you’ll never feel lonely again.

Connected but alone

From the telegram to the phone to the mobile to the internet, all major cultural inventions have served the same purpose: to bring us closer together.

Today, we’ve reached peak hyper-connectivity. We can cross oceans at the touch of the button, speak to someone, anywhere, 24/7. And yet, statistics report that we’ve never felt so lonely. The technologies connecting us are isolating us.

The truth about loneliness

You can be surrounded by people, at a party, or in the office, and still feel lonely to your core.

And you can be alone, millions of miles away from any human contact, and still feel joyfully connected to the world.

It’s less about our circumstances, more about how we react to them.

Fearing solitude

Our fear of solitude is really fear of boredom.

We want to be entertained, constantly. The alternative — introspection — intimidates us. And so, we drown out our discomfort with distractions. But that doesn’t mean the discomfort will go away.

Connected yet lonely

We’re told happiness comes from within. And yet, we’re never taught how to be alone with ourselves. 

We celebrate self-esteem. But we stigmatize spending time with ourselves.

The joy of being alone

Real solitude is almost impossible to experience in the modern world. And for some, this makes it the ultimate privilege.

Some people know they can harness times of stillness to find answers to questions, solutions to problems.

Solitude deprives you. It stretches you. It illuminates. And this breeds creativity.

How to utilize solitude

The only way to overcome solitude is to face it. Ease yourself in, with 10 minutes, then 20, then 30, of solitude a day, or week, or month.

There’s great power in doing nothing at all. But when you find strength — rather than fear — in solitude, you will live a far richer life: with others, and with ourselves.

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Loneliness vs.solitude
  • Loneliness is being alone — and not liking it. It’s a feeling.
  • Solitude is being alone — and content. It’s a choice.
The paradox of Technologies

Technologies connecting us are actually isolating us. From the telegram to the phone to the mobile to the internet, all major cultural inventions have served the purpose of bringing us closer together. And yet, today, in a work hyper-connected, statistics report that we’ve never felt so lonely. 

Loneliness
It doesn’t  depend on external factors. It’s largely unrelated to what’s going on around us. It’s less about our circumstances and more about how we react to them.

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Being alone during a pandemic

Being alone and, therefore, forced to face our own thoughts, can prove rather disturbing. People need other people to feel well: being sociable is not anymore just a skill to develop, it is a mere ...

Enforced solitude and its advantages

The current pandemic has us facing one of our biggest fears: staying alone, dealing with our own emotions and thoughts. However, this situation has also a great deal of advantages. While in self-isolation, we can use this time to improve ourselves by discovering new hobbies or just developing skills we have already gathered, cultivating our mind through reading. In fewer words, we finally have the time to learn how to deal with ourselves. And this is always a good thing.

The wonders of a clear sense of purpose during isolation

As difficult as it may seem, self-isolation has its benefits. When spending your time alone, the key to handle this situation is to find a purpose in your suffering. In other words, focus on why your suffering is doing good to others as well as to yourself. Furthermore, the fact that you stick to a certain routine or that
everybody is doing the same thing provides you not only with a meaning, but also with a sense of belonging.

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Loneliness before quarantine

We crave intimacy. And yet, long before the present pandemic, with its forced isolation and social distancing, humans had begun building their own separate cells. 

Before modern times...

Loneliness is a form of grief

It is an umbrella term we use to cover for all sorts of things most people would rather not name and have no idea how to fix.
Plenty of people like to be alone. But solitude and seclusion are different from loneliness. Loneliness is a state of profound distress.

The evolutionary theory of loneliness

Primates need to belong to an intimate social group in order to survive; this is especially true for humans.
Separation from your group (either finding yourself alone or finding yourself among a group of people who do not know and understand you) triggers a fight-or-flight response.

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