7 subtle traits of a lonely soul disguised as an independent person

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We often look at those who choose to walk their own path as paragons of self-reliance and independence. They seem to thrive in solitude and carry an air of self-sufficiency that is admirable.

Yet, what we often fail to see is that beneath this facade of independence can lie a lonely soul. Their strength and self-reliance may be a mask, hiding a deep sense of isolation.

Here we delve into understanding 7 subtle traits that show this is the case, to unravel the complex interplay between independence and loneliness.

1) They relish their solitude but yearn for connection

Those who are independent often take great pleasure in their solitude. It’s a space where they can be completely themselves, free from societal expectations and judgments. They see their alone time as a source of strength, using it to recharge and reflect.

But beneath this apparent enjoyment of solitude, there can sometimes be a deep longing for connection. This doesn’t mean they want to be around people all the time or fear alone time – quite the contrary. They still value their independence and the space it provides.

Yet, they also understand the profound human need for connection and intimacy. The longing isn’t necessarily for more people in their life, but for deeper, more meaningful relationships. They often crave genuine connections where they can share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of judgment or rejection.

In this way, their independence becomes a double-edged sword – a source of strength on one hand and potential isolation on the other. It’s a delicate balance that they constantly have to navigate.

2) They have a rich inner world but struggle to share it

As an independent person, I’ve always found solace in my own company. I can spend hours lost in my thoughts, exploring new ideas, and reflecting on life’s complexities. This rich inner world is my sanctuary, full of vivid imagination and deep introspection.

The struggle lies in bridging the gap between this rich interior life and the external world. There’s a desire to share these insights and experiences with others but finding the right words or the right people can be challenging. It’s not that I don’t want to connect, but rather that I find it difficult to translate my internal world into something others can understand.

This dichotomy between a rich inner life and the challenge of expressing it can create a subtle sense of loneliness, even amidst a crowd. It’s like living on an island full of treasures with no bridge to the mainland.

As author Anais Nin beautifully articulated, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” And this is part of the reason why I have begun to write, as a passion and as a calling.

People like me may not always find the right words or audience, but our rich inner world is a testament to our depth and complexity – even if it sometimes contributes to our sense of isolation.

3) They are self-sufficient but crave support

Independence often translates into self-sufficiency. Being able to handle life’s challenges on their own is a source of pride for many independent individuals. They are problem-solvers, valuing their ability to stand on their own two feet.

But this doesn’t mean they don’t secretly yearn for support. It’s not about wanting someone to solve their problems for them, but rather the comfort of knowing someone else is there, willing to lend an ear or offer a word of encouragement. They value their independence but also recognize the importance of emotional support and shared experiences.

This push and pull between self-sufficiency and the desire for support can often be a lonely struggle. They yearn for the reassurance that comes with shared burdens without compromising their independence.

To explore this further, I recommend watching my video on the introvert’s guide to overcoming loneliness. It provides insights into balancing self-reliance with the need for meaningful connections – advice that is useful for everyone, not just introverts.

And if you find this video insightful and want to join over 20,000 others exploring a life with more freedom and purpose, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Together, we can navigate this journey of authenticity and personal growth.

4) They are resilient but long for understanding

Independent individuals often exhibit a great deal of resilience. They weather life’s storms, adapt to changing circumstances, and persist through adversity. This resilience is born out of their independence – they’ve learned to rely on themselves, to bounce back, and to keep moving forward.

This is a wonderful and truly valuable skill to have in life. And unfortunately, it can also create a sense of isolation. People like these are seen as resilient and independent, so not many people offer them support, or recognize their needs. Their strength becomes a barrier that others struggle to look beyond.

Don’t get me wrong here – it’s not that they’re not strong or capable on their own, but rather that they crave empathy and understanding from others. They yearn for someone who can see past their tough exterior, someone who can recognize their struggles and offer understanding instead of solutions.

This reality aligns with my belief in the transformative power of self-awareness and personal growth.

By acknowledging this loneliness and seeking genuine understanding from others, we can take a crucial step towards living more authentically. It’s not about discarding our resilience but finding a balance between being strong and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.

5) They are creators but can feel detached

Have you noticed how independent individuals are often creators at heart? Their independence fuels their creativity, allowing them to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and bring their unique ideas to life. They don’t just consume – they create, contribute, and add value to the world around them.

This is something that has guided me throughout my own journey as a writer, creator, and innovative thinker. Yet, I must admit, that I sometimes struggle with feelings of detachment. 

While my ideas and creations are out there in the world, at times I almost feel as if I’m observing from the sidelines. You see, people like me pour their energy into their creations but may struggle to find a sense of belonging or connection through them.

This detachment is a subtle form of loneliness – a sense of being apart from rather than a part of the world they’re helping shape.

Though I’ve struggled with this, I also believe that creativity is the essence of our humanity. It’s not just about producing work but connecting with others through it. So acknowledging this detachment and seeking ways to connect through creativity is part of living an authentic life.

If you’re interested in exploring this concept further, I recommend my video on “the illusion of happiness” where I discuss how true contentment comes from within, by embracing life’s challenges, fostering meaningful relationships, and staying true to oneself.

6) They value authenticity but struggle with vulnerability

One of the hallmarks of an independent person is their commitment to authenticity. They stay true to themselves, refusing to conform to societal expectations or play roles that don’t align with their values.

This authenticity is a beautiful testament to their independence – they are comfortable in their own skin and unafraid to stand against the crowd. You’ve surely seen, and admired, a few individuals like this who are so unapologetically themselves

The only shadow side to this is that they become more vulnerable in the process. Showing the world who you truly are, warts and all, requires a level of openness that can be daunting. That’s why many independent people I know secretly struggle with the vulnerability that comes with authenticity, fearing judgment or rejection.

And this can make us feel so alone, even while the whole world can see exactly who we are. 

7) They seek personal growth but fear stagnation

If you spend even just a few minutes with me – or any other independent person, I dare say – you’ll immediately notice my strong commiment to personal growth. 

No matter what I do, I always want to be learning, evolving, and striving to better myself. I consider this growth mindset an integral part of my independence – because people like me don’t rely on others to motivate or validate them.

But you can probably see how this can easily tip into excessive territory. After all, we are humans – we are not meant to use every second of our lives in a productive way. We must also be allowed to just “be”, even if it doesn’t contribute to more knowledge or a life lesson.

And that is the last trait that you might notice in a lonely soul. Learing is a beautiful thing, but some people may use it to try to patch up holes in their lives that they’re trying to ignore. It’s easy to fill in a lack of meaningful relationships with another course, podcast, or book – but it’s scary to put these ambitions aside and face the truth. 

Individuals like these often talk about a fear of stagnation – that when they stop learning, they will fall behind. But what they’re often really getting at is a fear of loneliness. Because if those unproductive moments are filled with people you love, you could never consider them to be a waste of time. On the contrary, being with loved ones is perhaps the most precious way of moving forward in life

Understanding the independent soul

Independence can often be a double-edged sword. On one side, it’s a source of strength, fostering resilience, self-reliance, and creativity. On the other side, it can subtly cultivate a sense of loneliness, even when surrounded by others.

These subtle traits of a lonely soul disguised as an independent person are not signs of weakness but indications of their complexity. They show us how independence can be both empowering and isolating at the same time.

As we navigate this intricate dance, it’s essential to remember that these traits are not fixed or unchangeable. With self-awareness and personal growth, we can shift our perspective and transform these aspects of loneliness into opportunities for deeper connection and authenticity.

Do you recognize some of these traits in yourself or someone you know? If so, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel here. Together, we can explore the journey towards living a life with more freedom, authenticity, and purpose.

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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