Loneliness and Self-Development

By The Road To: The Road Comments

"Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you." Carl Jung

The issue of loneliness in this era of high connectivity, when people are connected 24/7 via their mobile devices, has never been more relevant and acute. Feeling alone or empty can be associated with the quality rather than the quantity of relationships, emphasizing also a social approach which belittles being alone and expects a constant social involvement. 

But being alone doesn't have to mean loneliness. Loneliness is a state of mind, a perception of one's situation. How often have you been in a crowded room and felt lonely? How often have you been in an empty room and felt absolutely fine, happy in your own company?

Loneliness can derive from a lack of company, from poor relationships even when you have company or, as stated by Carl Jung, from having the company but still struggling to communicate that which seems important to you. But loneliness can, at time, also be the result of avoiding being alone with ourselves.

As a mother, I do as much as I can to encourage my children not only to develop friendships and connections but also to find pleasure in being by themselves, reading a book, drawing, writing, or simply letting their thoughts wander.

Following are a few reasons why practicing being alone is not only good but essential, allowing us to calm down, think and create:

  • Being alone allows for a better observation of our surroundings, helping us to concentrate on our own needs, opinions, thoughts and aspirations.
  • Being alone is a prerequisite for creativity; the more we avoid this state of self-affirmation, the further we move from peacefulness, introspection, and self- understanding.
  • A certain amount of discomfort can serve as a catalyst for improvement. Being lonely and disconnected can undoubtedly be painful but, at the same time, can there be a place for creativity and self-actualization without being alone or even lonely? It is the revelations of self-observation, the joy of creating something unique that reflects ourselves, the internal search and dialogue which are themselves the very source and essence of creation.
  • Imagination and creativity allow our thoughts to take us away from the here and now and enable us to dream, to release the strong strings of reality and to fly to new places. The seeds of our accomplishments will be rooted deep in this time when we conceived new plans and aspirations.
  • When you are alone, the chances are that you are not speaking; in other words, you are in a quiet waiting mode, anticipating new insight. And while being silent does not necessarily elicit brilliance, it definitely allows some wisdom to evolve.
  • Being alone, losing track of time, immersing yourself in something all-consuming means you have a world of your own. A world in which you are completely engrossed allows you to be truly at peace with who you are and what you are doing. You are not disconnecting from the outside because you don’t belong, but rather because you are connected elsewhere and are not concerned about what others may or may not think.   

As you have seen, the theme of this week's posts is the tiny line that separates between feeling lonely and finding that spot where we truly and peacefully enjoy our own company and not only for the purposes of creativity. It is about the power of the group but also the power we have as individuals to make our own choices within the group.

I started the week sharing my spring and summer favorite trends and continued with the reason why I should have been convinced to start meditating by now.  Both are examples of our need to be part of something bigger than us while exercising our choice to make  mindful decisions about what is or isn’t for us, understanding ourselves better in the process. Alone doesn’t mean lonely. Finding a few daily moments with yourself to meditate or simply breathe long slow breaths doesn’t mean giving up on a hectic life; likewise adopting a fashion trend doesn’t mean falling victim to every new fad. It is about consciously making the choice to be alone for some time, either in mind, spirit or self-expression. We make a choice to connect to a possible universal mind by creating or meditating, just as we embrace a current trend, expressing to the world that we like it and are enjoying every minute of it.

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