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The Art of Being Alone

Olivia Laing

“Loneliness, longing, does not mean one has failed but simply that one is alive.”

Olivia Laing

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The Art of Being Alone

The Art of Being Alone

https://fs.blog/2020/06/being-alone/

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Key Ideas

Loneliness is a perception issue

Loneliness has more to do with our perceptions than how much company we have: it is just as possible to feel very lonely surrounded by people as it is to be content with little social contact.

Olivia Laing

Olivia Laing

“Loneliness, longing, does not mean one has failed but simply that one is alive.”

Dealing with loneliness through creativity

One way people have always dealt with loneliness is through creativity. By metamorphosing their reality into art, lonely people throughout history have managed to interchange the sense of community relationships could foster with their creative outputs.

The artist Edward Hopper (1882–1967) is known for his paintings of American cityscapes inhabited by closed-off figures who seem to embody a vision of modern loneliness.

The functions of art

Art has a few amazing functions and works as a distinct negotiating capability between individuals (including those who have never met and still have the power enhance each other’s lives).

Art also has the power to create and foster intimacy, to heal wounds, and to emphasize that not all wounds need to be healed and not all scars are ugly.

Finding inspiration in loneliness

When we face loneliness in our lives, we should not always rush to overcome it by surrounding ourselves with people.

We ca embrace our loneliness by turning to the art of others who felt the same feeling of loneliness as we do and find inspiration in their art. We can use them to move forward with our own creative pursuits which can help us work through difficult, and lonely, times.

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Loneliness

Being lonely can mean not feeling part of the world despite having a great deal of social contact with others, or being in a relationship.

Loneliness can have a significant impact on ...

Why we become lonely

Personal Circumstances:

  • Experiencing the break down of a relationship.

  • Comparing yourself to the apparently ‘happy’ lives of others - seeing only their positives and ignoring the negatives.

  • Not having as much social contact.
  • Losing someone close to you.

Internal Loneliness: 

  • You may find it difficult to like yourself or feel others do not like you.

  • Experiencing low self-confidence.

Mental Health Conditions:

  • Experiencing a mental health condition can contribute to feelings of loneliness.

  • Social contact may be difficult and create high levels of anxiety.

  • You may find yourself unconsciously or consciously avoiding meeting people.

Practical ways of managing loneliness
  • Reconnect with the world around you - Making the most out of social contact
  • Spend meaningful time alone - this will develop your ability to manage time spent on your own.
  • Do regular physical activity.
  • Join a club, group or voluntary organization.

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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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