Are you alone?
Does being alone mean that you are lonely?
Does being lonely mean that you are never near others?
Being alone and being lonely are very different ideas, although conjecture could state that if you are alone then you must be lonely. Truthfully, it is easy to speculate on someone that spends most of their time with themselves, that they must not be social, they don’t have friends, and that they must be lonely.
But it simply is not true most of the time. People that have a strong sense of self, of internal motivation and wellness, are people that can be alone and are not lonely. They live with a comfort of being able to rely on themselves, without the need of others to validate what they do with their time.
To be clear, that does not mean that people that can be alone are not lonely. Few people spend time always alone, but they are not synonymous.
My life has shifted recently from a level of loneliness brought on by trauma, to a new aloneness that is not scary, but is very different. I am in introvert, something that I did not learn until I was in my 40’s, and spending time alone or being quiet actually revives and re-energizes me. I can certainly be with people, friends, or be social at work, but it is not where I draw my energy. Quiet for me is restorative.
For me, the awareness of being lonely, even while not being alone, was a concept I learned in the last six years. Understanding that relationships ebb and flow (much more so when there is an illness or event that impacts the personality of a partner) can create awareness of the changes in a relationship. But often time’s individuals are not completely aware of the shift that can occur with partners when one or both individuals become different people due to external factors in their lives.
Change in a relationship can be good, but it can also be destructive. Change which causes partners to grow and learn together brings closeness and opportunity – this is probably an ideal part of growing together as people. But sometimes change can disrupt a relationship to the point of creating a barrier or separation, even when individuals have worlds and lives that seem enmeshed. Those types of relationship may not be repairable, and can destroy one or both parties.
Sometimes there just isn’t any way to bring both halves back together to form a whole.
I am a firm believer in partnership, in marriage and in friendship. I believe that people should commit to others and be faithful and engaged to that commitment. With that, sometimes it just doesn’t work anymore. That doesn’t mean that anyone is quitting, it may just mean that the differences out way the similarities, and there is no longer a middle ground.
Learning to be alone may need to be practiced. Learning to value time by oneself is also something that needs awareness.
I recently found a website that brings new ideas and thoughts around being alone, and what it means to be an introvert. Check out www.riskology.co/alone/
It is an honor to be able to enjoy time alone.