This week I mindfully sought and achieved a great balance of being alone, as well as, connecting with others. It’s a fine line for me as I have strong ingrained patterns that push me to being with others most of the time. If I am not aware of what is happening, I can move into an anxious mode of seeking company and finding things to do; the socializing and doing go, dysfunctionally, hand in hand. After consciously spending much time by myself over the last couple of years, I have discovered the blessed gift of being alone without feeling lonely.
There is a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Our perception of each influences how well we manage them, as well as, how much joy we can receive by being present with just our self or without another’s company. So, what is the difference between being alone and feeling lonely?
Loneliness is a state of being that we agree to when we desperately try to fill a void in our life. We don’t necessarily have to be alone, without the presence of others, but, we can just feel like something is missing. This missing piece can be people to share our life with, or a purpose, or sense of fulfillment. Feeling lonely comes from not being aware of what makes us happy; not knowing how we want to feel every day; not understanding what we believe in or who we are at our best. From this comes the feeling of not fitting in as we don’t know where that is or who that is with. We may feel uncomfortable with the people we choose to spend time with or how we need to show up in order to feel accepted. Lacking this clarity leaves us stagnate and without a plan. We feel disconnected and, if we don’t become mindful, we feel stuck in loneliness.
Ironically, being alone can move you away from feeling lonely. I used to think that being alone was a sign of not being worthy or loved but, I am now clear that being alone is simply being without the presence of others in any given situation, and I am often grateful for the solitude that it offers. It is something that I crave and enjoy. I have created a new pattern of relishing being alone. Gifting myself with this space has provided me with the time and energy to be creative and write my stories, to sit back and relax into music, to meditate and think about who I am, to read and absorb knowledge, to look around and breathe in nature and to learn about new things. For me, being alone means that I am able to be present in my thoughts. It provides me with the ability to slow down and determine which perception I have is real and which one I can choose to shelf in any given moment. All of this allows me to experience the gratitude of knowing what I need in order to feel whole.
Being alone allows us to change our perception about feeling lonely. It gives us a place to reflect on whether or not being lonely can guide us towards wanting to be alone some of the time in order to discover our truth. The tipping point is when we trust ourselves enough to move in that direction.