Life as part of a community is a matter of course for people from the start. One of the reasons for this lies in the evolution of the species: we needed the community to ensure our survival. We had to defend ourselves against animals and rival tribes and procure or produce enough food. Villages and cities offered their residents special protection. They offered security and inspired a sense of belonging. Even today people seek the kind of refuge that living in a community offers. In this context, the urge to isolation and the loneliness that comes with it can be difficult to understand. But is being alone really a bad thing?
What if someone is convinced that they are strong enough to protect themselves against impending dangers? Doesn’t this person have to live in a community then? Does she need friends? In this article we want to examine the effects of loneliness by analyzing the film Shrek.
Shrek: The ogre who lives in a swamp
Shrek is a DreamWorks animated film released in 2001. Its main character is Shrek, an ogre who lives in a distant swamp in the middle of the forest. He is completely satisfied with his life and loves the seclusion of his home.
One day Shrek’s precious loneliness is interrupted by an invasion of irritating fairytale characters. The evil Lord Farquaad stole all of their lands and banished them from the kingdom. The ogre, now desperate to save his home, negotiates a deal with Lord Farquaad. In exchange for returning the fairy tale characters to their homes, Shrek promises to save Princess Fiona. As a result, Shrek goes on a very long journey. His companion in search of the princess is a donkey with the catchy and simple name “donkey”.
Understand seclusion and its benefits
We tend to assume that we would be failures when we are alone. But that’s not true. Loneliness is definitely a state that we humans can choose for ourselves voluntarily.
Sometimes voluntary isolation arises out of a desire to take responsibility for our own lives. Do you want to be authentic and not wear masks or disguises? Chosen solitude can lead to personal growth and help you complete projects and achieve goals. Here are some of the advantages of this choice:
- You can focus on personal projects. Instead of constantly preoccupying yourself with pleasing others, you can focus on what you want to do.
- You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone or follow a set schedule. Alone means that you can clean, eat, or sleep whenever you feel like it. You can decorate your home exactly how you want it and use your space however you want.
- Remoteness gives you the time to reflect and think about your own behavior. In a world full of distractions and unfinished tasks, it’s hard to find a moment to think about what you want to do with your life. Loneliness enables you to do just that introspection.
- Solitude encourages independence. You feel responsible for yourself. This means that you don’t have to rely on others, which can increase your happiness and well-being.
Lonely people also find love
In the film, Shrek moves in with the beautiful princess Fiona, who is locked in a tower that is in turn guarded by a dragon. When Shrek and Donkey rescue her from their terrible conqueror, she is at first enthusiastic. However, her luck fades when she discovers that an ogre, not a prince, saved her.
On their return trip to Lord Farquaad’s castle, Shrek and Fiona discover that they have a lot in common. They fall in love during the trip, but the princess has not yet revealed her secret: Fiona is cursed. Every night she transforms and becomes an ogre like Shrek. In the morning she becomes human again.
Donkey is the first to discover her secret and finally Fiona explains that she was cursed as a little girl and that only the kiss of her true love could free her from the curse. Shrek overhears part of the conversation between Fiona and Donkey, but he misunderstands and feels betrayed.
The loneliness and the self-esteem
Although Shrek has spent a long time alone, he’s not particularly confident. Loneliness can be good for introspection and self-esteem strengthening, but it is obvious that Shrek didn’t take advantage of this opportunity. As a result, Shrek lacks the skills necessary to define and express his needs and feelings.
When Lord Farquaad brings Fiona to his castle, Shrek returns to the swamp worried and lonely. However, it burdens him very much that he has not told the princess how he feels about her, although he is already sure that she would be disgusted by him. The swamp thus becomes a self-imposed prison. The loneliness that once filled Shrek makes him miserable now.
The end of loneliness
Shrek quickly realizes that despite having regained his home and seclusion, he is completely unhappy. He misses the company of Fiona and Donkey. However, the ogre has far too low self-esteem to act on it. He doesn’t think he deserves the good.
Shrek, like many people with low self-esteem, felt compelled to turn away other people. Their poor self-image leads them to doubt their ability to relate to others. This seems to be the real reason for Shrek’s loneliness. It was therefore not a free decision that led him to live in absolute seclusion. On the contrary, he chose to isolate himself because he was afraid of being hurt and suffering.
Lonely people need to work to understand that they deserve other people’s company. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be alone as long as you are free to choose seclusion and not use it as a refuge because you are afraid.
When a person goes into seclusion, we usually associate it with unwanted emotions like sadness. But as we said earlier, wanting to be alone and being alone isn’t necessarily bad. Solitude is only bad if it’s not what you really want.
Don’t be afraid to be alone. Use these moments to get to know yourself better. Work on being a better person and finding out what you want in life. On the other hand, if you want to spend more time with other people, work on making it happen. At the end of the day, we all have the right to be accepted by others.