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Autonomy, one of the personal traits of the creative person often takes the form of solitude. Winnicott (1958) found that "the capacity to be alone [...] becomes linked with self-discovery and self-realization; with becoming aware of one's deepest needs, feelings, and impulses." Solitude is one of the components of the psychoanalytic concepts of 'ego strength' defined as the capacity to maintain personal identity despite psychic pain, distress, turmoil and conflict between opposing internal forces or the demands of reality (Fried, 1980). Anthony Storr (1989) noted that people in the late 20th century have wrongly come to view relationships as the only possible source of happiness to the neglect of one's intellectual and creative development. Moreover, creative and interpersonal skills are to some extent competing and even opposing forces. As it is, many people are often afraid of being alone and feel uncomfortable when confronted with themselves. Such is not the case with most creative people, who often have lives that not only provide much opportunity to be alone but actually require it. The high rates of norm-doubters among the highly creative suggest a wilful and intentional desire to be alone and outside the influence of others (Feist, 1999). Freedom, creativity, intimacy, and spirituality are often considered to result from solitude (Long and Averill, 2003).

Solitude. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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