I want to be alone!
You have probably said these words when you want to have time for yourself and no one to bother you. It is a decision, and you enjoy “your loneliness.”
What happens when the feeling of loneliness takes over you because you have no one by your side?
Is it the same kind of loneliness?
Being alone is the fact that no one is by your side, while loneliness is an emotional state because we express it: I feel alone. Sometimes we think we feel lonely only when we don’t have anyone by our side, but it is not. There are times when we have people around us, and we still feel alone. We can be in a room full of people and feel alone, or sitting on the same sofa with our partner and having that feeling of loneliness. What produces this feeling? It is often born from feeling misunderstood, feeling nobody listens to us, or feeling that we are not important to others. If we feel alone at a party, we may think that we do not fit into the environment and feel different.
When experiencing emotional loneliness, it is crucial to recognize what is happening and analyze how you’re approaching it. Do you contribute in any way to feel that way? What thoughts do you entertain in your mind? Do you allow yourself to engage in a conversation with someone, or do you say to yourself:
“I do not belong here; people don’t like me; I feel out of place.”
If it’s with your partner that you sit down, you can only start conversing with them and exploring different ways to share and communicate with the soul.
If you’re alone because you don’t have anyone by your side, ask yourself what it means. Remember that it all depends on our perception and what we do with our time. If you occupy it in something that can entertain and help you as a person, or you immerse yourself in thoughts such as: “I am so alone”, and do nothing under your control to change this situation.
Here are several activities you can do when you feel lonely that can help you feel better:
Read a book
Writing in a journal
Talking on the phone
Have a Zoom meeting
Go for a walk
Take a class
See a Netflix series
Paint, color, sculpt
Take a bath
Clean your closet
Write a letter
Cook a new recipe
Sit in your backyard with a cup of coffee or tea
In the present time, due to the pandemic, we have had to modify our activities, which has led to social estrangement. However, we have different ways to maintain this social connection at our disposal so as not to feel so alone. Plan with your friends and family zoom meetings or phone calls, including video calls; you can turn it into a daily or weekly ritual.
It is preferable to do one of these activities that may benefit you, rather than using methods of escapism such as eating or drinking too much; you can choose.
Please take note of all that you can do and at the same time reflect that it is what represents for you to be alone, for what influences how we feel is our perception.
Loneliness is an opportunity to connect with ourselves. As Paolo Coelho says:
Loneliness is not the absence of companionship but the moment when our soul
has the freedom to talk to us and help us decide about our lives.
When you realize that you are your own person and that your value comes from within, you can connect with yourself and be at peace.
Loneliness can be welcomed or represent intense pain in our souls, usually if prolonged. We are social beings, and therefore being alone, especially for a long time, can significantly influence our mental and physical health. According to Donovan et al. (2017), loneliness may impair cognitive function in their study among older adults.
If you feel that loneliness is affecting you negatively, seek professional help because if you leave this feeling unattended, it can become depression and greater isolation.
On the other hand, if you know someone is alone, give them your company. Call them on the phone or visit them if you can. Make them feel like they are important to you. You can also do a type of volunteering by calling people. This type of help exists; you cannot only use it yourself, but you can be a part of it. By providing company to others, we accompany ourselves.
Remember, your life has meaning!
Ligia M. Houben