Being Alone Vs. Being Lonely
According to The Washington Post, more than half of people in the United States are single. This is the the first time singles have predominated since the government began tracking data in 1976. That does not mean they are living alone. They may be living with a significant other, with roommates or with family. And it is probably also true that there are more people living alone than we have seen before in this country. The question for this article is whether or not they are alone and lonely or are they alone and having the time of their lives? Is being alone a blessing or a curse for them?
Is it possible to be alone and not lonely? And Is It possible to be with someone and still be lonely?
You already know that the answer to both questions is “yes.”
Think about it.
We are designed to be with others. We are social beings.
Unless you live in a cave somewhere and there is not other human being within miles and miles, you interact with others on a regular basis. You may not engage in any kind of dialog or connection but you are still around others.
So why is it that one person can live alone and be gloriously happy and someone else can live alone and be miserable and sad? Why is it that you can be in the middle of a family or a relationship and still feel the sadness of being lonely? Think of the sentence in the paragraph above, “You may not engage in any kind of dialog or connection.”
There’s no blame here. It’s a matter of figuring out why you are lonely.
Lonliness, acording to Wikipedia ” is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connection or communication with other beings, both in the present and extending into the future. As such, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people. The causes of loneliness are varied and include social, mental, emotional or even physical factors.”
Much of your loneliness results from our thoughts. We are alone in our house or apartment, feeling sad because we are alone in our house feeling sad. Get it? If this is your situation, what can you do about it?
Options to Loneliness
- I know you’re going to want to throw something at me for saying this same thing, AGAIN. But go do something for someone. The best antidote for loneliness is helping someone else. Who can you help? The answer to this is almost endless. I Googled the key words, “I want to volunteer” and received 261,000,000 results. There was everything from domestic to global opportuities that included taking care of children, ministering to the homeless and walking dogs. Every area of interest is covered. In every situation you are engaged with other people.
- Do an assessment of things you love to do. Find a group of other people who like to do it too. They will almost always welcome a new member warmly. What do you like to do? Do you like to hike, knit, travel, cook, write, sew, arts and crafts, animal rescue? You can Google this, too. I live in a fairly small town but there are a lot of options. When I search for volunteer opportunity, arts and crafts, discussion groups, support groups I got a wealth of responses. There is even a group for new residents to meet other people in the town.
- Start a group for other people who, like you are lonely. There are resources like http://www.meetup.com/ that can help you get a group together.
- Sign up for an on-line dating site. Just don’t fall for every one who responds. There are some fantastic people on these sites and there are some creepy ones as well.
- Find things that you enjoy doing alone (besides watching TV) Read, work on a hobby, chat on FaceBook, go for a walk—just DO SOMETHING to get you out of the sadness.
If you are too shy or your self esteem is too low to reach out, perhaps you need to seek the help of a therapist who can help you feel more confident and secure with the amazing person you are.
The bottom line here is that only you can do something about your loneliness.
It’s up to you. Actually, a big part of it is to make a choice. To be alone and take advantage of it and be happy or to be