Imagine it’s lunch time. You are very hungry but your colleagues are still having a discussion in the meeting room. You tried to wait but you can’t stand it any longer. So you rush to the nearby restaurant. It’s crowded with white-collar workers in groups–talking and laughing. But you? You are all alone. Reluctantly, you go in.

After you’ve ordered your meal, you immediately take out your smartphone and check your Facebook, play games and watch videos. You act like normal, but you keep your head down and pray that no one looks at you. The truth is, you are just pretending. Yes, pretending to be busy to hide your embarrassment at being a solo diner.

That’s the problem with the current society. Being alone means you are weird; you are anti-social; you don’t have friends; you are pitiful; or, even worse, you have a mental illness.

To avoid all those unpleasant labels, Japan’s Moomin House Cafe prepares fake company for their solo diners by bringing a stuffed animal to accompany them.

To me, this is a bad idea. It re-emphasizes the idea that being alone is an issue and should be avoided. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with being solo. The fact is, solitude is beneficial and essential for your well-being.

Here are 14 quotes that show the true meaning and value of solitude. Let’s not be ashamed or nervous about it, but embrace it more openly.

“Solitude is strength; to depend on the presence of the crowd is weakness. The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines.” -Paul Brunton

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” -Bell Hooks

“Solitude is the place of purification.” -Martin Buber

“This was my moment to look for the kind of healing and peace that can only come from solitude.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“I restore myself when I’m alone.” -Marilyn Monroe

“The best part about being alone is that you really don’t have to answer to anybody. You do what you want.” -Justin Timberlake

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and–in spite of True Romance magazines–we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely–at least, not all the time–but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” -Hunter S. Thompson

“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.” -Kim Culbertson

“When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death – ourselves.” -Eda LeShan

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” -Mark Twain

“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone, and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.” -Arthur Schopenhauer

“You’re only lonely if you’re not there for you.” -Phil McGraw

“Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your won presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.” -Alice Koller

“Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead.” -Katrina Kenison

Now you understand why solitude is good and important, learn How To Live A Happy Life Alone

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