On Loneliness

October 9, 2016


Everyone is lonely.
Even kings and queens. Even the homeless. And everyone in between, like the normal looking folks pretending to be texting on the subway.

There are different types of loneliness of course. But I’ll talk about one type that I experienced recently. Both times, I had been super social just before, with a whole bunch of people. Nothing went wrong, I was on top of my game. I came prepared to win friends and influence people.

When the events died down and I came back to my lovely fortress of solitude, I felt a deeeep pang of loneliness. I guess every high has an equal low. This feeling caught me by sudden surprise and I was in need of answers.

Science and technology change daily, but the human condition has remained the same for thousands of years. And there are some gold standard teachers out there who have withstood the test of time. I’ll share with you a few quotes that were balm for my loneliness on those nights.

“As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know. 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

“If you cannot find a friend who is good, wise, and loving, walk alone, like a king who has renounced his kingdom or an elephant roaming at will in the forest. It is better to be alone than to live with the immature. Be contended, and walk alone like an elephant roaming the jungle.”
– Buddha

“If a man knows more than others, he becomes lonely.”
– Carl Jung

“Loneliness is for me a source of healing that makes my life worth living. Talking is often a torment to me, and I need several days of silence to recover the futility of words.”
– Carl Jung

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”
– Carl Jung

“No matter how isolated you are and how lonely you feel, if you do your work truly and conscientiously, unknown friends will come and seek you.”
– Carl Jung

“The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”
– Mark Twain

“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.”
– Dale Carnegie

“Solitude and company may be allowed to take their turns: the one creates in us the love of mankind, the other that of ourselves; solitude relieves us when we are sick of company, and conversation when we are weary of being alone, so that the one cures the other.”
– Seneca