In Search of Solitude

“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
— Henry David Thoreau

Highly sensitive people, especially highly sensitive introverts, require periods of solitude to function properly. The amount (time) of solitude required differs by individual and by circumstances. It may be for an hour or it may be for a few days.

Most people around us don’t understand that we need periods of solitude as much as we need food for nourishment and air to breathe. This need for solitude is not a lifestyle choice … it’s a fundamental part of our being. It’s not a disorder requiring treatment or medication. It’s simply a trait of our unique personality.

HSP’s have an increased sensitivity of the central nervous system and a deeper cognitive processing of physical, social and emotional stimuli. As a result, our whole being needs solitude to analyze, sort out and fully process events that overstimulated us including conversations, conflicts, stress, actions of others or being subjected to an environment of chaos.

Since most highly sensitive people are also empaths, we also take on the hurts, pains, disappointments, excitement and joy of those around us. In a limited capacity, we are taking the weight of the world on our shoulders … the good and the bad.

That’s a lot to sort out and process. So, when we HSP’s and highly sensitive introverts go into solitude, it is not because we don’t like people … we just need time to ourselves to recharge our core self, our thinking, and our energy to assure our mental and social health.

The core truth is that we don’t do well in large groups or chaotic events. There is just too many stimuli (noise, light, people and expectations, etc.) around us that act as a funnel to a point of total internal chaos.

On the flip side, we do very well in a small group (3-6 people) of friends or family in which in-depth conversations and exchange of ideas are pursued. It’s the “small talk” we fail at.

So, when one of us tells you that we some time alone, please understand that we are not pushing you aside or checking out of society. We just need some downtime to analyze, sort out and fully process events that overstimulated us. We’ll be back soon.

How important is solitude in your life? Please share your experience in the comment section provided.

If you prefer to contact me directly, please email me at

My Other Websites

Frugal Plan (Blog)
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Life Under Change
Quotes that inspire, motivate, challenge and comfort us.

Published by W. M. Brown

I am a retired U.S. expat living in Ecuador. I was a business owner for 32 years before retiring in 2012.

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