Lady Gaga, never knowingly under-exposed, dug deep into the basket of self-revelation recently when speaking to Star TV. ‘I am an artist,’ she said. ‘We wallow in loneliness and solitude our whole lives… Yes, I’m lonely. But I’m married to my loneliness.’
How are you feeling about that? Perhaps you’re nodding your head in empathic agreement, but I’m shaking mine in frustration. Millions hang on her every word, but her words perpetuate a falsehood. Solitude is nothing like loneliness.
‘Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone,’ writes Paul Tillich. ‘It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.’ It’s important we keep them separate, otherwise all hell will break loose.
Solitude is different. Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely; of being happily alone. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself, and through oneself, with God and the world around. Solitude is something desirable, something to be sought; a state of being alone in the good company of your self.