Feeling alone and being in solitude is not the same. Some may feel lonely even when surrounded by people. Feelings of loneliness reflect an inner state. For some, feeling that way shatters their capacity to reach out and be with others. Currently, 47% of generation Z complained of feeling lonely and not having a meaningful conversation for days. The millennials follow them quite closely in the statistics (Cigna, 2018).
Some individuals chose to isolate themselves, cutting off relations with the world in a defensive way. Then, solitude may be a symptom.
Others suffer of loneliness in association with avoidant behavior. These individuals steer clear of social events to avoid experiencing criticism and rejection. They withdraw from social activities unless they have a chaperone. Eventually, they crave having friends but find themselves being solo. In other words, they wish to have more friends but often believe they don’t know how to do that. Besides, they don’t seem to overcome their worries associated with socializing. I often say that socializing is like a muscle: use it or lose it. Avoidant behavior increases social anxiety.
Solitude, on the contrary, is the capacity to be alone in the presence of other people. These individuals enjoy brief moments by themselves but socialize without troubles. Enjoying being alone is a positive experience. It could even be a sign of good health. This type of person can be truly good at connecting with people. They have achieved a healthy self-boundary and respect for others that allow them to be the best listeners out there. That is, they can listen to you, instead of listening in a narcissistic way.Learn More
- You’ve been feeling low or irritable for most of the day, every day for two weeks or more. You might have found yourself worrying about past or future events for long periods of time, or simply feeling sad, cross or tearful. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize a gradual change – have others noticed that you don’t seem your usual self?
- You’ve lost interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Perhaps you have been seeing less of your friends or family recently, have stopped going to the gym, or cooking balanced meals. This is really about recognizing changes in what’s normal for you – no one is saying you have to exercise five times a week or eat your greens, but changes in your routine can offer concrete indications that your mood is changing.
- You are struggling to concentrate. You might notice that you struggle to focus when reading or watching television, for example, or to follow the thread of a spoken conversation. This could be affecting your performance at work, or limiting your ability to perform routine tasks such as food shopping. Again, we are looking for a change in what’s normal for you, so if concentration has always been something you find tricky there is little cause for concern.
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
– Robert Frost