Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford
Alone vs Lonely
A lot of people get confused between by what it means to be alone and what it means to be lonely, often, erroneously, using the words interchangeably. Although, both words are pillars that support the same emotion, there is a distinct difference between the two. As a result of confusion between the words some people will jump in and out of relationships because of fear of being alone. Being alone does not have to mean being lonely, it simply means without the company of another person. Persons that are lonely yearn for something or someone they feel are missing from the their life.You are longing for something that does not exist anymore, or maybe never existed in some cases. You hope for company and feel depressed when you are by yourself. Loneliness is a negative state of mind where you are always longing for the other. Never satisfied being by yourself and always looking elsewhere for fulfillment.
Alone is characterized as a positive state of mind, a state of being content and delighted with one’s self without feeling someone else is needed to satisfy you or make you happy. When someone does enter your life, they are seen as a bonus rather than a necessity. Persons that are alone, not lonely do not rely on anyone but themselves to be happy.
In contrast, lonely is a negative emotion experienced when you want someone around so badly that it affects you, leading to feeling of being incomplete. Too often, we when we have not become comfortable with ourselves and our own company we seek comfort in almost anyone that will fill the perceived void. The ideal next step for this time in your life is to hopefully overcome this unbearable feeling of being incomplete, feeling like you need someone else to make you whole. When rely on yourself, without having to rely or depend upon someone else for your happiness, you become more fulfilled with the person you are. You become everything you need for you. You are finding and defining who you are while you are alone.
Prior to starting any relationship, whether it be socially or romantically, you must experience the joy of being alone, the joy of being in your own company. If you search for someone or something to fill the void of your loneliness, you will most likely find someone that is also uncomfortable with themselves, seeking another person to escape the negative feelings associated with loneliness. No one should start a relationship of any kind while they are lonely. It is an equation for failure which will push you to start over on your own journey of loneliness. Once you are alone and are perfectly happy with your alone, it is only then that one might open their eyes to the possibility of another relationship. You will find an equal to you, not someone who adds or subtracts something from you. You will share so many things in common, because you overcame loneliness and found your bliss being alone. Now, you are able to share this with another who has accomplished the same.
Characteristics of Loneliness Include:
Feeling incomplete when you do not have someone else in your life.
Loneliness is the feeling of emotional abandon.
Loneliness is the feeling of being disconnected from others
Loneliness is depending on someone else for happiness
Loneliness is characterized as a constant state of restlessness
Characteristics of Being Alone Include:
Feeling complete even when we are alone, without a friend or partner
Being alone means he/she is able to find a sense of peace and freedom in isolation
Being alone is physical and mental freedom
Being alone means still being connected with others without having to be around them constantly
Being alone is enjoying everything that exists in solitude
We have all experienced feelings of being alone and loneliness, however, the difference lies in what we feel we need to make us happy. Being alone does not have to mean we are lonely as we can take comfort in being with ourselves rather than having to depend on another person to meet our needs. Truth be told we can be in a room filled with people and still experience the negative feelings associated with loneliness if we are not comfortable with ourselves. Loneliness is simply a state of mind, a mental state that we have the power to change.