Although we rarely have the chance to feel loneliness in today’s hyper-paced, socially connected digital age, even the most fortunate of us are made aware of the void in our souls from time to time. On the darkest nights, when our friends have gone home and the lights are off, we find ourselves staring into the face of this abyss as if it were a star one can’t see when it is bright outside. Similar to how death is the equilibrium state of life, we are all born with an inescapable void within, a black maelstrom of nothingness, because the equilibrium state of existence is the void. Hence, all human activity is driven by the need to fill this void; some fill it with materialistic consumption, religious fervor, or sex while most fill it with other people, as the void comes most often in the form of loneliness.
But why is it that we refuse to see ourselves as a company? People are, naturally, company, and “I” being a constructed identity, it cannot be the entity who constructs it. Therefore, the ego is not the self, and you can be also considered a company, as you are a person. Like being with a romantic partner, an individual must have a relationship with themselves. As we can only develop our relationships with others by spending time with them, we can only develop ourselves by spending time with us. Moreover, we grow together to love, understand, and trust ourselves the more time we invest in us.
As stated above, this objectification of “I” by one’s contemplation on oneself results in two separate entities. And so one must be self-compassionate; the individual is both the navigating rider and the stabilized horse in seclusion. As it is in horsemanship, if you are in control of the horse and yourself, you are less likely to fall onto the ground or feel the painful strain across the muscles of your back. Without stability, you will founder and suffer in the callous heat, but no one will be there to alleviate your misery completely–– only the rider and the horse will be able to do that. This cooperation of one as both the navigator and the transport, or the mind and the body, demands trust, understanding and stability between the two entities. It is required even amongst other people because seclusion always exists no matter where you are or who you are with. You may form attachments and relationships, but they will only remain constant for a limited period of time. The only companion that you will have from the cradle to the grave is yourself. Thus, the more you understand and love yourself, the better your journey of life will be.
Solitude, for many, is a fear greater than death. Solitude itself does not induce anxiety and depression, but being alone is naturally rejected by the human mind as something foreign, even though it is ridiculous that we should be afraid of ourselves. Especially in the 21st century, when we are so impelled by technological advances to be connected to others at every moment through incessant virtual socialization, it is questionable whether we as a society have entirely forgotten what solitude feels like. As we are ceaselessly surrounded by other people, we are so immensely catering and listening to other people’s opinions and emotions that we end up being out of touch with our inner world.
Introspection, the ability to plunge from the grounds of triviality and into your own depths in order to find yourself, is one of our greatest gifts. Introspection is possible only in solitude, and individuals who have not searched their souls to face their true selves have not attained the spirituality and self-realization that come from being at one with oneself. These empty individuals are stuck in a vicious cycle of searching for other people to fill their void, and being made even emptier by the constant stream of shallow opinions and banality their companions fill them with, which lead them to search for others to, again, fill their emptiness.
They do not realize that being alone is different from being lonely. In a bustling restaurant downtown, surrounded by friends, an uncultivated soul can feel lonelier than a person who is at peace with themselves feels when they are alone in their room at night. The reasoning, in this case, is that the individual who is unhappy when they are with themselves is in bad company.
While others may inspire, inform, and correct us, solitude is necessary for imagination, figuring things out, and unearthing novel ideas away from constant interaction with others. Solitude is a catalyst that expedites the cleansing of inner debris. It is a requirement of self-discovery; life is a forest we traverse alone, and solitude is the seed of resplendence and love of self. Love of self-achieved through solitude permeates not because of outer recognition or our position in society, but because we have learned about and understood ourselves thoroughly and are ecstatic in our process of becoming the best potential version of ourselves.
The more time you spend with yourself, the more you will know and love yourself. Spend time delving into your soul, show yourself love and listen to the voice that has been subdued by other people’s opinions and criticism. Slowly, your own company may transform into the ideal company you hoped to find in another some day. Although we wish to change the world and others around us from a young age, everything that may be made possible for others in the future, solitude can shape our soul into with her own hands.
And so, our void should not perturb us. If the equilibrium state of existence is the void, then existence and endless possibilities, in turn, equilibrate the void. And if you have been made aware of the nihility within you, and the void engulfs you further, it does not produce loneliness and death; it produces self-love and rebirth.
Amazingly profound…tremendous depth in thought. Can’t wait to see more!
great work!! this taught me a lot
Reading this was somehow calming and soothing, which isn’t expected given the disquieting subject. Your wisdom is beyond your years, hopefully this meditation will bring all those who read it peace.
Not only is this piece written beautifully, but it gives insight to a subject many really don’t like to touch upon, which was stated in this. It almost sounds philosophical, but it speaks pure truth.
To be able to recognize that loneliness and being alone are different, is always a hard process, but life changing. The amount of people that think that surrounding themselves with others with fill a hole inside themselves, fill the loneliness. This writing put it perfectly that finding yourself, not relying on others to love you, finding yourself, letting solitude strengthen your foundation instead of letting you think being alone is wrong.
This is definitely important for adolescents, especially in the days of technology and social media with all these Instagram posts and Snapchat stories, showing snippets of fun road trips with friends and dinner with the ‘squad’ that makes it seem like going out with friends is a norm. Those people in the videos and pictures are so happy, so it would make me happy too… right? Not always, maybe. But taking time to themselves, letting themselves find who they are instead of sticking to another person’s side and developing a personality based off of that person instead of becoming their own original character.
It’s very inspiring that this article was written by someone only in high school, being so self aware of this important aspect of self development.
The style of writing, as I mentioned before, is very beautiful. It’s very well written and I’m glad I came across this, I hope others will find this article just as impactful as I find it.
I can see that every word in this essay was chosen with great care, and so reflects the depth of your ideas.
“And if you have been made aware of the nihility within you, and the void engulfs you further, it does not produce loneliness and death; it produces self-love and rebirth.”
I love this Nietzschean comparison of loneliness to an abyss or void that must be defeated, and the following quote:
““I” being a constructed identity, it cannot be the entity who constructs it. Therefore, the ego is not the self, and you can be also considered a company, as you are a person.”
is reminiscent of Rimbaud’s “Je est un autre” ; the self as two (the observer and the one that acts on the observations).
It was fun for me to find these little easter eggs, if you will, throughout your essay. Nice job; this essay, as well as NUHA foundation, restore my faith in our new generation of kids.
This was shockingly profound, especially for the age group. Introspection truly is one of the greatest gifts we are given as human beings. As Socrates said, an unexamined life is not worth living. Beautifully written.
As I started reading this from the beginning I was immediately taken aback due to how immensely powerful this piece of writing is. It not only depicts how one goes through life but how their interior thoughts are shaped and develop.
Once, I got to the middle of the article tears came rushing down my face. Not because what you stated is suppose to be triggering emotions, but the mere fact of how thought-provoking and wise it was.
“These empty individuals are stuck in a vicious cycle of searching for other people to fill their void, and being made even emptier by the constant stream of shallow opinions and banality their companions fill them with, which lead them to search for others to, again, fill their emptiness.” These lines reveal how you studied others who have experienced this and were able to illustrate them not as people who are mentally burdened, but as humans who are on a path to thrash themselves out of this block.
The not so fine line you described between the terms “alone” and “lonely” was my ah-ha moment. This was simply because a student in high school was able to so perfectly determine how these two words differentiate on a daily basis at a higher heartfelt level than many older people was remarkable.
Touching base on how important it is to get to know yourself and to be content with your own company was very keen. This is because of the world we live in today. In our society, people think when you are by yourself you must love only yourself or you are a loner. But in fact, someone can be spending time alone because they hate their self too much to go out into the world and socialize, and another person can be fine with spending time with their self because it is their own time to deepen their relationship within. People should not be isolated from the world, but they should also not depend on others for answers on profound questions that they can only try to unpuzzle by their self. People are only their to accompany us not to be attached to us like a patch on a jacket.
In all, this article needs to be showcased to many in our society today in order for them to be even 0.1% enlightened on some missteps they may be taking. This is not like a self-help book, but more so like a mirror making the reader reflect as they read through the paragraphs. I personally, think this article has an infinite amount of statements that will open one’s mind more than 0.1%, but more so around 100% if there needs to be digits put on it. Well done can’t wait to read more of your work!
This was absolutely magnificent and has taught me a whole lot, I will be taking everything you said in to a lot of consideration. Thank you for your intense insight!
I’m sitting her on my living room floor reading this as I realize that I have immense self-hatred for myself. It is indeed factual that I tend to rely on others company and put up a facade for the world everyday. I really do want to love myself and try to spiritually truly figure out who I am. I feel like so many people today wear a mask so easily to cover themselves from others. But, once they see that someone else’s mask has broken they judge them and turn their back on them as they wear one themselves. I can not wrap my head around how a high schooler is making me really think about who I am, who I was, and who I am going to be. This was truly informing.
Poignant and well written. Great article!
This is quite interesting. Nice job!
This is amazing. Way to go young lady!
I love the horse and rider analogy. Self love is a skill that a lot of us forget while spending all of our time trying to measure up to others’ standards. Great piece of writing here! Its rawness struck a chord in me.
This is a great eye opening for me. It just states the truth everyone just ignores or it is in the back of your mind.
It not only addresses today online downfalls but depression symptoms as well that are so well written I am sure many can relate. It has a way of showing how the emotions show and how it looks to outsiders, not just a single point of view.
Great writing skills and descriptive words.
Firstly, intriguing ideas here. I applaud you on that. However, while I agree solitude produces self love and “rebirth,” it’s not as easy as you make it sound for most people. As a nihilist, this essay was also kind of difficult to agree with since there is no inherent law stating that life should be changed for the better. So what? We’re all going to die anyway.
Thank you for the comment, Victor. I agree it is quite difficult for people to transform solitude into something so Rilke-esque and, to be frank, near impossible. I think it’s easy to see it as something only the great philosophers throughout the ages have achieved. I believe it’s pivotal, however, to remember that to see difficulty as the deciding factor in trying or not is pernicious. The beauty in life is to see, feel, and touch upon anything we possibly can get our hands on— to see the wider world while at the same time looking into your self. I see it as constantly reconstructing and reforming the Self and the Non-Self to connect these vital perspectives to fit with each other. Life is the cabalistic experience of the foreign and applying that to improve what we already know. Poetry, beauty, philosophy, love— all the things that give us joy in life are the consequences of experience and self examination. Before death, there is so much more to life. Nihilism doesn’t have to be such a pessimistic school of thought; if death is inevitable, why not live it to the fullest? 🙂
I’m beyond speachless.
Reading this essay, I found myself reflecting on my innerself and contemplating my own way of living. This is exactly what writing is meant to do.
It is one thing to string beautiful words and symbolism together in a way that aesthetically pleases the audience, but to then touch their minds with thought and question, that is the skill which writers all aspire for.
A startlingly reflective piece born out of the terrifying night of the soul/solitude. Beautiful.Thank you.
Very powerful! Thanks for sharing.
Wow! I’m honestly amazed at how much I can relate to everything you’ve written. Being an introvert, I consider myself as my own company and I thoroughly enjoy it. It boggles my mind that people fear the lonely almost, if not more than they fear death. It’s nice to know that at least one other person out there thinks this way. Thank you for writing this, I’m excited to here more from you.
Never fails to amaze me. Incredible analysis and a tremendous amount of self-reflection.
Wow, incredible insight into the retrospective differences of “loneliness” and being “alone”. Taught me a lot. And awesomely well-written!
Wow Mika, this was extremely well written. It covers a topic that I have been mulling over in my head for a while and you have put it into words so eloquently. I’m just wondering how have you been able to reach this appreciation of solitude in face of others who might view it as isolating or counterproductive? I know in my family that too much time spent alone/ in your own head is frowned upon.
Very moving essay!! Thank you!
Wow great essay
Wow, great essay!