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Loneliness is a Mark of Distinction

On holiday weekends like the fourth, I’m inspired to share a truth that we often forget: loneliness is NORMAL.

Yet, whether in a crowd or alone, the lonely see themselves as an error in creation, unfit for life; destined to watch scenes of intimacy through windows.

To prove the flaw in this logic, I’ve gathered some of my favorite reflections on loneliness written by literary legends whose names you will recognize.

If you are feeling pangs this holiday weekend, I hope you experience some comfort in knowing what stellar company you’re in.

“God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of “parties” with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter – they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long”. -Sylvia Plath

“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”. -Haruki Murakami

“Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony”. -Douglas Coupland

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other”. -John Steinbeck

“Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way”. -Janet Fitch

“There is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock”. -Charles Bukowski

“Where are the people?” resumed the little prince at last. “It’s a little lonely in the desert…” “It is lonely when you’re among people, too,” said the snake”. -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being”. -Hermann Hesse

“I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others–young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life”. -F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Perhaps only people who are capable of real togetherness have that look of being alone in the universe. The others have a certain stickiness, they stick to the mass”. -D. H. Lawrence

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