The Necessity of Loneliness

Posted: July 2, 2012 in Deeper Things
Tags: , ,

Out here, surrounded by the sea of my own thoughts, I became!

Our need for approval and recognition as people is quite normal. We’re surrounded by humans most days of our lives, we have way more friends on Facebook than is logically necessary and we also have our own minds speaking in multiple directions. We are literally primed to desire relationship by the simple fact of our existence and to not have that flourishing looks like failure.

Loneliness has very negative connotations in our global community. Even that word ‘community’ goes against any form of loneliness. Yet, time and again we hear things like “Leadership is a lonely place”, or “Eagles fly alone”… And WHO doesn’t want to be a high-flying leader???

Our need for approval is usually accompanied by a wish to achieve/become something. This is what our approval is usually attached to, and sometimes leads to us going pretty far (hopefully not too far) in our quest for success because without it, we won’t get that prized attention we’re seeking. And so we also start to associate relationships with success, further thrusting us away from the apparently dark place of loneliness.

Yet, while loneliness IS a dark place, I believe it’s also necessary to our growth. History is replete with people of great stature finding themselves in solitude. You don’t always hear “I was told”, rather you hear, “I discovered”, from the mouths of these examples. Methods were tried and tested in this place, successes and failures were decided in this place of solitude! Not only do we find loneliness to be necessary for pretty much 98% of all forms of prayer (which already indicates something), it’s also an unavoidable agent of creativity!

No book was written with an audience at all points; few pieces of art can boast multiple artists taking part for any reason except if it was such a large piece that extra hands were needed; even sleep puts you in a state of isolation, regardless of how many physical bodies surround you, they aren’t present in your dreams, and most of all, you close your eyes…darkness.

Yes, loneliness is the dark place we need to go to avoid blinding ourselves from excessive encounters. Loneliness is the place where genius speaks louder than consensus and is emboldened for the day it speaks before an audience. Your dreams are born out of  the darkness of sleep! Your thoughts speak to you alone even when you are looking into a sea of faces. Loneliness is a necessity to creating what we call our desires.

Just as an eagle flies alone, it also changes alone. It hides itself as it sheds its feathers and grows new ones, its beak is also renewed in this dark and quiet place. Where are you going to evolve? Where do you make new decisions about your life. Where is the beak of your current mindset going to fall off to adopt a new one? It is in loneliness that this will happen.

We need that space to verbalise and develop the thoughts we were too shy to share with anyone else because they sounded so crazy. So revolutionary! In silence we destroy and rebuild entire empires of thought and belief, redesigning the tracks on which our trains of thought would follow. Re-plotting the stars of our influences, and re-tuning the constants by which our internal universe exists. It is in loneliness we can recreate even ourselves for the future we want.

And lastly, loneliness is necessary because you are unique! Of the 7 billion bodies on this planet, only one has YOU written all over it. Who best to understand you, than you. Who best to translate you to the rest of the world, than you. Without the time spent in self-discovery, you’ll be doomed to speaking of yourself in layman’s terms, lacking the prowess to dissect and imbibe the very essence that fills your being.

How will you know what you stand for? How will you discover your meaning? How will you know what it is you’re willing to fight to the death for? It is in the place of solitude that you will do these things. Otherwise, you’re destined to follow the status quo, which is a super-highway filled with the masses of mediocrity! I seem to remember a book that says “narrow and hard is the path that leads to life”. I would also add “…and as a result, lonely.”

How sad it would be if all your dreams, thoughts, decisions, abilities and potentials…were decided by a committee!

How sad it would be, if you could never experience loneliness…

…and therefore experience yourself, and your purpose!


  1. T says:

    Expereincing loneliness – interesting concept. I appreciate your perspective, and think its great you called the experience ‘loneliness’ because you’re right, loneliness is quite a dark word for many. I like the idea that its a space you can be in, reframe your mind about, and simply experience without fear or anxiety.

  2. Ruttie says:

    wow……well said, and well written too……just lonliness is such a hard concept to grasp, because its so necessary and good for you but at the same time one always feels its such a dark place to be. A preacher once said that being alone or lonliness is only terrible if you have no direction…… you said yourself greatness has been born out of lonliness. Thanx for that one.

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