Solitude Is Not The Same As Loneliness

People used to terrify me. Well not people so much as the social interaction. Specifically the requirement to be engaging and be liked. Lack of self confidence I hear you cry, and I would agree.

So I did my research, read around the issue and concluded that I needed to face my fears.  This coincided with the termination of a job. I switched careers to one that involved public speaking and social interaction on a daily basis. I cried before my first day, “I can’t do this!” I wailed to my then partner, but I did it anyway. That was nearly 20 years ago.

This isn’t the tale of how my life changed for the better and all my dreams were realised. Yes, I got good at my job and I gained fulfilment from giving of myself to create a positive impact on others lives but, I now wonder if I have been fighting against my true nature.

Lately, on my down time, I seek solitude more than I ever have before. No, this is not the same as loneliness. Solitude is a state of being alone whilst loneliness is a feeling of sadness because one has no friends or company.

I find solitude allows me to recharge. Without it I am unable to interact positively with others. Last Wednesday I shouted at my Dad over lane markings! I mean who does that? This got me curious, what are the benefits of solitude? Tiziano Terzani wrote in his book A Fortune Teller Told Me “For a month I had no one to talk to except my dog Baoli,” his conclusion “At last I had time to have time.”

So perhaps my internal voice is not so out of sync with current society that demands our 24/7 connectivity, but rather is demanding that I slow down. Watch the grass grow and trace the path of butterflies. Nature moves at her own pace. Why shouldn’t I?

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