How Solitude Helps Us Heal

This brief animation explains how the places we feel least at home often provide us with the ability to feel most like ourselves.

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When we envision where it is we feel most at home, it is often in the company of other people: be it sitting around the dinner table with our family, at a local bar with our friends, or simply walking around our neighbourhood, passing familiar faces as we go.

But as this video from School of Life points out, sometimes the places we feel most drawn to are places with no one around at all. Places that are stark, isolated, or even downbeat.

Despite this, “we nevertheless experience a deep pull, coming to feel perhaps that we belong here far more than in the gaiety, elegance and color of familiar vistas,” says philosopher Alain de Botton—but where does this pull come from?

The appeal of lonely places

Many of us seek refuge from the busyness of daily life at some point. It’s the reason we go camping far out in the woods, take long drives to nowhere in particular, or sit down to dinner alone in a empty restaurant far from home.

“In these lonely, isolated places, we have an opportunity to meet with bits of ourselves, with which the routines of daily life don’t allow us to commune,” de…