From the outside, solitude and loneliness look a lot alike. But all resemblance ends at the surface. Loneliness is a negative state, marked by a sense of isolation. One feels that something is missing. It is possible to be with people and still feel lonely—perhaps the most bitter form of loneliness. Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself. Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company. Solitude is a time that can be used for reflection, inner searching or growth or enjoyment of some kind. Solitude is something you choose. Loneliness is imposed on you by others. What then are we to make of what we are experiencing during the pandemic? Our aloneness is imposed. But do we have a choice in whether we are experiencing loneliness or a period of solitude?
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