Being alone and lonely… Two words that look like much but also have so many differences that we struggle to see.
Aloneness is simply being one person at a place and time. It relates to doing something as an individual other than with another person or a group of people. And loneliness is rather a feeling that we feel when we’re alienated from others. It’s a feeling, not a stable condition.
But society doesn’t tell us about these words in two different ways. These two words somehow represent only one meaning in our heads. We’re told to feel lonely whenever we’re one person at a place or at a time. Even if we eat alone at a restaurant, we’re considered as being lonely. The alienated. The creep. Something must be wrong with him or her.
Society simply teaches us to pity ourselves or others when they’re alone. We’re never told that a single person can be so thriving. Instead, we’re taught to have timelines in life. At a certain age, we expect to make a lot of friends at school. Then, boyfriends, girlfriends. And if you don’t happen to like anyone for any reason, they scare you that you’ll be all “alone” meaning lonely. These implications are not only projected to us by people in society but also in movies or TV series. I don’t remember any movies that don’t picture a single person or a person with no friends as being okay.
And if you happened to have a lot of time on your own lately, due to Covid19 or not, I invite you to look at your aloneness differently so you can thrive and become a shining person.
You can be single and do all the adventurous things alone and have fun.
The other day I was chatting with some friends about social life and I was mentioning how poor it can be to have deep connections in the city I live in, and I’d like to look at other places if possible. And one friend commented, “Even the most beautiful city isn’t joyful if you experience it alone.” There was no bad intention in that comment but it intrigued me and I started thinking about how we’re programmed about our most beautiful experiences in life. If we’re alone at a place, why would the most beautiful city be ugly because of us? Can we still not enjoy a blissful moment alone? Do we have to prove that we shared that moment with someone else? If we eat the most delicious food alone at a restaurant, does it make that restaurant’s food bad?
The answer is simple. It’s simply no. The beauty doesn’t disappear just because who experiences it suffers from the way they view the moment. The moment is only gone if we start to judge our experience. One moment we’re blown away by the beautiful sunset and next, we feel lonely because there’s nobody to share it with. True, sharing brings a moment a different feeling but the moment is still there. The beauty is still there. Why do we need to wait for tomorrow to enjoy it? Just because we traveled alone, are we not allowed to feel the joy? Just because we’re spending Friday night in cozy, do we have to feel bad about the soothing experience?
Don’t wait for tomorrow to enjoy life. There’s no correct time than the present moment to start living. We can’t start living with regrets about the past or obsessing about the future. Go to that movie alone. Cook that lovely dinner and create an ambiance for yourself only. Enjoy that sunset and feel the joy within. Your experiences count.
Embrace yourself even if it means you’re not settling for less than anything you deserve and you’re scared. Otherwise, the beautiful moments are gone. and we lose balance, perspective about who we’re. We try to shape ourselves according to others’ opinions about who we should be. We try to fit into places that we don’t belong for the sake of feeling at home.
Turn your alone time into an opportunity to thrive.
Unlike what movies and society tell us, we don’t have to wait for another person to fill the emptiness in our lives. It can be hard to wait for our ideal partner or a close friend to show up but what do we do when we wait? Should we wait and cry, feel stuck in life, or see this time as a preparation to match the person that we wait for?
I hope your answer is the latter. Most often we have an idea about the person we wish to have a relationship with in the future. Or we idealize the friendships we want to have. We want them to be this or that. We dream about how they look, behave, and do. We idealize them with all of their traits. But what we often forget is who we’re when they’re the most inspiring person in the world. To match with that person, we need to go up to that level. When you make a list of what your ideal partner or friend should have, ask yourself if you’re that person. If not, work on becoming that next level of yourself. Be that inspiring person you wish to attract. Go to places that your matching partner or friend would hang out. Take the course that you’re interested in but shy to show up alone. Turn this time of waiting into a bridge from who you’re to who you want to be. And when you do these things, do them because they’re about you and not obsessively about attracting someone so you’re in a flow state in life.
Heal your feeling of loneliness.
Loneliness is a feeling and feelings are not permanent. They’re not our identity. Gina Barreca Ph.D. points out that only the subject person can know if they’re lonely. Again, not society that makes us feel we’re lonely because we’re doing that thing alone.
To change your mindset, firstly look into your feeling of loneliness and what lies underneath. What causes you to feel alienated? What feeling do you seek in others that will help you not feel lonely? Find the answer by journaling or meditating. Ask yourself, what does this feeling try to teach me? Once you find the answer, try to give that missing feeling to yourself before seeking at others. If it’s compassion, be your best friend. Give yourself that hug even if it sounds ridiculous. Hold your hand when you fall and make a mistake. Enjoy the time you spend alone. Be the friend that you don’t have in your life. Because once we own ourselves with compassion and truly connected within, we don’t seek approval from others and this saves us from jumping into toxic relationships.
Start by surrounding yourself with people who thrive even if they’re single. Find those inspiring people on social media. Follow them and change your subconscious about being single and alone.
Own your singleness. Even if people around you puts pressure on you to settle with toxic relationships or anyone less than you truly deserve, share with them how their words make you feel.
Keep an open mind and heart. When we’re alone and feel lonely, which is a chosen emotion, we tend to criticize others who are doing things differently than us. We may be afraid of starting new friendships if they’re not exactly matching our interests. If you feel you’re behaving in a judgmental way, take some steps towards inviting something new into your life. Maybe it means, you take a less ideal path that you take to the coffee shop. Maybe it means you listen to others respectfully even if their opinion conflicts with yours. Do some small things differently and see how it feels to have a change. And perhaps later you’ll be less judgmental towards others and new experiences.
To sum up.
Being physically alone at a moment doesn’t have to be scary. We can be alone at one moment and then surrounded by others. What makes the difference between aloneness and loneliness is how we approach our current situation. It’s only us who can define us lonely.
Take the power of your life and heal your loneliness. Surround yourself with people who thrive even if their social life isn’t as amusing as others. Be inspired by those people who grow as an individual. Use that time of waiting as an opportunity to grow and become the next level of yourself so you can attract people in that matching vibe.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what others think about your situation. It’s only you who makes you happy or suffer.