A man can be himself only so long as he is alone. If he does not love solitude he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is truly free.
We are persistently inundated with external influences. If you live amongst others, it’s inescapable! We can’t avoid being affected by our family of origin, the values of our country, our peer group and colleagues, not to mention social media, Hollywood and pop culture.
That is why it is so important every day to spend some time alone. Solitude is a key ingredient for self-actualization and self-empowerment. If I am to have my own voice, my own dream, my own journey, then I must find it on my own. I must risk isolation and even ridicule. I must take the steps required to listen to that inner voice and respect its wisdom. But I can only hear that voice if I spend time alone, away from the buzz of my busy life and the wants and desires of others.
However, I disagree with Schopenhauer that man can only be himself when alone. Human interaction is essential, and we can only truly grow as individuals when in relationship. But the depth and health of our relationships depends largely on our own sense of self—which can only be attained through moments of solitude and self-reflection.
But I do agree with Schopenhauer that, at the end of the day, we are alone with ourselves, and we must be right with ourselves, and only when we can accept and love all of ourselves, can we be truly free.