What is the difference between being alone and being lonely?
Alone is a state of being. It often means no one else is present around you. One can seek to be alone or finding solitude. As parents, we often crave and cherish those moments when we can be alone with our thoughts, a good book, and a quiet soak in the tub. John Muir said, ” into the forest, I go to lose my mind and find my soul.” He was referring to the peace you can find when you are alone and at one with nature. Alone in nature, you can let your worries escape your mind as you look inside yourself and discover who you really are.
Most people are scared of being alone, they go from childhood thru adulthood, as I did always with someone. Someone’s child, someone’s spouse, someone’s parent, and it goes on. Often it takes a death or divorce for a person to really experience on their own how to be alone. It did for me. I have always been fairly independent, even in a relationship, but learning to live alone has taught me to be more reflective and in tune with myself.
But what about loneliness?
Loneliness is an emotional state. One can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. It’s that feeling that there is a wall or a haze around others. It is a desire to connect with someone at the heart level. Some say loneliness is a state of depression. Often it can be. Some of the happiest, most caring people you interact with are lonely. They seem to have many friends around them and everything going for them but deep down they are battling within themselves, for they are often the ones giving more and more of themselves, but the feelings are not reciprocated.
How does one escape from loneliness?
You can escape from loneliness by connecting with people who truly “get you”. The scary part is, you actually have to open up yourself to these people to do that. Whether it be the long-distance friend you chat with regularly, people you interact with daily, your family, or someone you care about deeply. Communication is the key, but it takes courage and confidence in yourself to do so. Many sadly can’t do this. They confuse being alone with loneliness. But alone is a state of being and is a choice. Even in a healthy relationship, one needs to be alone sometimes. Human beings are not meant to be in the emotional state of loneliness. We need to weed thru those in our lives that put us in that emotional state, let go of our fear and seek out those who accept us.