It seems people in the world can identify themselves as either lonely or happy. The prevailing view says loneliness is akin to unhappiness. However I want to consider the criteria by which we condemn the lonely and in turn ourselves. What is it about loneliness that makes us sad? I want to argue that these emotions of loneliness and unhappiness are not the same.
Feelings of loneliness are normally thought to stem from lack of companionship. I argue that it is not the pain of being single but rather the feelings of inadequacy that bring depression. Let us look at the characteristics of what we imagine as the ideal loner: someone unsocial, uninteresting, and unattractive. In truth we often forget these factors are relative. For example of course a person will seem uninteresting to someone who doesn't share her interests. The inadequacy stems from mistaking these characteristics as absolutes. It comes from saying to oneself, "unsocial to all, uninteresting to anyone, and attractive to no one".
The next question is to see what task our inadequacy pertains to. I don't want to say the obvious answer: reproduction. Instead I think our intelligence allows us to set our own priorities. We prioritize our basal endeavours as they see fit to our lifestyle. In turn we have come to value the social and recreational aspect of sex more so than the procreational. Thus I think its more likely people feel inadequate because they feel their social status is threatened. They place great importance on the respect they receive from others.
For someone who values self-accomplishment over praise, loneliness is an empowering feeling of individuality. It is the confidence in oneself to be able to accomplish the task at hand without a shoulder to lean on. Already images stem in our mind of someone successful perhaps in business or medicine but it can be anyone. Knowing this we have an obligation to put aside crippling feelings of inadequacy based on false absolutions and become individuals others come to rely on.