Alone, not Lonely

That moment when you realize alone and lonely are not the same thing.

“You really just need to learn to be okay with being by yourself.” She told me.

I rolled my eyes, sat there annoyed, and dismissed the comment. I pretty much always ignore it when people tell me that because I don’t want to be okay with being by myself. Being by myself sucks.

Recently things have been harder than usual and lonelier than ever though. I have been stuck in my head; lies constantly telling me I am not good enough, no one cares what I have to say, I am a burden to those around me. To make sure I am not a burden I have been keeping to myself; ensuring that I don’t bother people with my seemingly pointless problems.

I go home and go straight to my room. I sit there with nothing to do, which leads me right back into my head. Thoughts spinning: why is no one texting me? Why don’t I have plans right now? Why has this past year been so lonely?

Being lonely sucks. It is this awful kind of aching that resonates in the depths of your heart. The dullness feels inescapable. Recently it hasn’t matter who I am with or what I am doing, I just can’t shake that feeling of loneliness.

Today it hit me. There is such a vast difference between being alone and lonely. When someone tells me I need to learn to be okay with being by myself they aren’t expecting me to be okay with feeling lonely, they are expecting me to be okay with being alone.

Lonely is a state of mind, alone is a state of being. Yes, being alone can be lonely but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, being alone can be scary and painful. But for once I see the importance of it. Yes, in being alone we realize all the things we don’t have, but what a beautiful place to be. It allows us to realize the things about ourself that we can’t see otherwise.

Today in being alone I realized there are a lot of things I don’t have. I don’t have confidence in who I am. I don’t have a concrete prayer life. I don’t have self-discipline.  All of these things I tried to mask, making sure I was too busy to ever have to sit and face these realities.

Being alone can be sitting and painting at your kitchen table with your favorite music in the background, it can be laying in a hammock reading your favorite book, it can be time alone in prayer to really come to know yourself on a deeper level.

Being alone is not so much about doing things by yourself, but more about doing things for yourself. Friends, the voice of loneliness is always going to tell you that you need to find comfort in another person, but you can always find company in yourself. If you let loneliness consume you, you are going to miss out on the beautiful chance to learn about yourself.

Be confident in the fact that you have a place in the world, and it isn’t found in someone else.

 

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