Solitude, being alone with one’s self, can be time for reflection and recharge, or it can be a time of loneliness. See what some writers and others have said about Solitude.

[M]y consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.

— Albert Einstein

Community offsets loneliness. It gives people a vitally necessary sense of belonging.

— Alvin Toffler

BATH, n. A kind of mystic ceremony substituted for religious worship, with what spiritual efficacy has not been determined.

— Ambrose Bierce

Instead of planting our solitude with our own dream blossoms, we choke the space with continuous music, chatter, and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill the vacuum. When the noise stops there is not inner music to take its place.

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.

— bell hooks

Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.

— Carl Jung

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

Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.

— Dag Hammarskjöld

Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.

— Dag Hammarskjöld

What makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one to share my burden, but this: I have only my own burden to bear.

— Dag Hammarskjöld

We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.

— Dorothy Day

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.

— Douglas MacArthur

Leadership through self-differentiation is not easy; learning techniques and imbibing data are far easier. Nor is striving or achieving success as a leader without pain: there is the pain of isolation, the pain of loneliness, the pain of personal attacks, the pain of losing friends. That’s what leadership is all about.

— Edwin H. Friedman, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix

If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe…

— Evelyn Waugh

The worst solitude is to be destitute of sincere friendship.

— Francis Bacon

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

The loneliest woman in the world is a woman without a close woman friend.

— George Santayana

Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate.

— Germaine Greer

Most women still need a room of their own and the only way to find it may be outside their own home.

— Germaine Greer

When they are alone they want to be with others, and when they are with others they want to be alone. After all, human beings are like that.

— Gertrude Stein

We don’t need sugar, flour or rice or anything else. We just want to see our dear ones.

— Hafiz of Persia

Why should I feel lonely? Is not our planet in the Milky Way?

— Henry David Thoreau

If you’re lonely when you are alone, you’re in bad company.

— Jean-Paul Sartre

Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.

— Jessamyn West

Being afraid is one thing. Being alone and afraid is far worse. Find others who understand your fears and problems.

— Lynda Wolters, Voices of Cancer: What We Really Want, What We Really Need

The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.

— Mark Twain

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

— Maya Angelou

If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.

— Mitsugi Saotome

Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Humans are the only beings who know they are alone.

— Octavo Paz

Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others; rather, it means never living apart from one’s self. It is not about the absence of other people-it is about being fully present to ourselves, whether or not we are with others. Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people-it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.

— Parker J. Palmer

You only grow when you are alone.

— Paul Newman

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion . . . It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Respect the child. Wait and see the new product of Nature. Nature loves analogies, but not repetitions. Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great person is one who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.

— Shannon L. Alder

That is what compassion does. It challenges our assumptions, our sense of self-limitation, worthlessness, of not having a place in the world, our feelings of loneliness and estrangement.

— Sharon Salzberg

Since I was 21, I have never been lonely. The opportunities granted to me at the beginning helped me not only to lead a happy life but to be happy in the life I led. I have been aware of my shortcomings and my limits, but I have made the best of them. When I was tormented by what was happening in the world, it was the world I wanted to change, not my place in it.

— Simone de Beauvoir

Do not allow yourself to be imprisoned by any affection. Keep your solitude. The day, if it ever comes, when you are given true affection there will be no opposition between interior solitude and friendship, quite the reverse. It is even by this infallible sign that you will recognize it.

— Simone Weil

Always in big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. You are undertaking the first experience, not of the place, but of yourself in that place. It is an experience of our essential loneliness, for nobody can discover the world for anybody else. It is only after we have discovered it for ourselves that it becomes a common ground and a common bond, and we cease to be alone.

— Wendell Berry

Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of Creation.

— Wendell Berry
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