Reading Notebook #28: Happiness Without Close Relationships

Solitude by Anthony Storr

From Solitude by Anthony Storr:

Many fortunate people do make intimate relationships which continue until death, and which constitute their major source of happiness. But even the closest relationship is bound to have flaws and disadvantages, and it is often because people do not accept this that they are more unhappy than they need to be, and more inclined to abandon one another. If it is accepted that no relationship is ever ideal, it makes it easier to understand why men and women need other sources of fulfillment. As we have seen, many creative activities are predominantly solitary. They are concerned with self-realization and self-development in isolation, or with finding some coherent pattern in life. The degree to which these creative activities take priority in the life of an individual varies with his personality and talents. Everyone needs human relationships; but everyone also need some kind of fulfillment which is relevant to himself alone. Provided that they have friends and acquaintances, those who are passionately engaged in pursuing interests which are important to them may achieve happiness without having any very close relationships.

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Posted in Friendship, Life Philosophy, Love, Reading.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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