Is it not true that many of us recognize this feeling of being life’s invisible passenger, looking at the existence flowing ‘outside’ instead of within? We feel that people around us are strangers, with undecipherable languages and anonymous behaviors. They brush by us as if we were invisible, dusty old walls, distant ruins. We are so far from others and they from us. We are alone, again. We don’t belong. We know this feeling, too well. Often our wish is just to forget it, as everything and everyone around. Again, just for a while, in order to get a moment of peace.
Life is made of small solitudes, Roland Barthes argued. Is there anything ‘between’ these small solitudes? Are those only passive states of being or can these experiences be turned into a preliminary stage of personal development? Maybe both, maybe not. And what happens when our ‘deserted’ solitude interferes with our ability to handle social interactions? Does it suffice to have only ourselves as a mirror? Who are we ‘alone’?
Solitude as a lifelong vice, an opaque prison, a secret wish, a potential opportunity… how can we (and should we) take advantage of this state of being?
“I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.”
Charles Bukowski, Factotum
Often in life, there seem to be some decisive ‘crossroads’ for all of us. We don’t know what to do, our family, friends and social environment does not understand us, and we don’t understand our self either… Often, before knowing the next step, we simply remain inconsolable. We feel powerless, betrayed, left alone, neither seen or heard, invisible and angry… Anger is often referred to as an unwanted burden for the individual and society. However, I would like to challenge this idea for a moment. What if the anger we carry within was a resource serving us in our most challenging moments in our live?
And.. can we or should we give up that anger without nothing in return?
Professionals from various disciplines- including psychologists- agree that feelings of anger often arise when people experience harm. In his book, Forgiveness and Mercy, Jeffrey Murphy argues that, “a person who does not resent moral injuries done to him or her… is necessarily lacking in self-respect” (Murphy & Hampton, 1998: 16). In fact, underneath the silence, for many of us, our feelings of anger and rage feel legitimate. The problem then arises when we continue to feel embittered and/or resignated about what to do next… Anger becomes our prison. Being aware of this, maybe we all would benefit from practicing greater tolerance, understanding and empathy for those of us still struggling with letting go of their anger. Maybe, this could be a small but important step toward transforming the often raw pain and confusion into opportunities for healing. At least, this is a possibility.