by Frank M. Wanderer
The Mystery of Solitude is one of the greatest mysteries in our life. As human beings, we are social creatures and, without others around us from birth, we would not even be able to stay alive in this world.
Social space plays a crucial role in the development of our personality, as the direction of our development is determined by the expectations of other people and our desire to meet those expectations. That is how we become a part of a collective, social space called society, and society receives its special nature from the culture it represents.
The book of our personal history is written in this social space, and our identity is built upon the foundation of our personal history. We are surrounded by other people, and their expectations and requirements are present in our mind when we are alone. Most people do not understand the difference between solitude and being lonely. Being alone is at the same time loneliness for us. The two words, however, mean two different situations. Solitude is the state of the mind, whereas being alone is the state of the Consciousness.
In the isolated state of consciousness of Ego-dominated mind we do not like to be alone, when we are alone, we think we are lonely, we find it difficult to tolerate, we try to avoid it. How we do it, depends on our temper and personal attitudes.
Extroverted people focus primarily on social life. When we are alone, we seek friends, go to parties, because we like to share our pleasures and sorrows with others.
Introverted people, on the other hand, tolerate loneliness much better, they like to be alone. They turn towards their internal world (thoughts and emotions). They are not alone, though, as other people are present in their mind in the form of their opinions and expectations. When they turn inward, they talk, argue with the opinions of others, and analyze the reactions of others.
For an external observer, an introverted person might seem to be alone, but there is usually a whole little group in the head of the person. When an introverted person is alone, they try to find some activity to occupy themselves in order to avoid the unpleasant feelings that come with loneliness. They are capable of watching TV for hours, or use work as an escape route.
Why do people so desperately run away from loneliness, from being alone?
Because we do not know ourselves, so we do not like being alone. When we are lonely, we must face the fact that our entire personality is pretence, and our whole identity is built upon false foundations.
Even if these sentences are not formulated so specifically in our mind when we are on our own, the anxiety and depression overcoming us signify that there is something wrong with us. We feel lonely, so we escape so as to find shelter in the company of others or in our own thoughts from the negative emotions.