Alone vs Lonely

College has taught me that it’s okay to be alone, that it doesn’t matter if you look like a “loner”. It’s okay to just sit and drink tea and watch people. You don’t have to be on your phone acting like you’re talking to people, or reading a book that you don’t want to read just because it looks like you’re doing something. Those moments when you’re by yourself, you realize that you have everything you need. Even if you’d rather be with people, you’re okay. You’re really, honestly, okay. Nothing is wrong with you. No one is judging you. No one is thinking, “Wow, look at that freak over there.” No one cares. Breathe. Do what you want. Enjoy the moment. Just be.

Learning to be alone with oneself is extremely satisfying, but it can take a lot of work depending on the person. We are socially and culturally encourage to be with other people at all time, swimming in relationships. 

 
Aloneness can be your time to reflect on you and embrace self-understanding and personal growth. For me personally, when I am around people for a while, I need to be alone and let myself recharge. Heck, even cell phones get tired of communicating all the time and need to be charged back up too! (Yes, I did just compare myself to a cell phone and it was AWESOME.)
 
Here are some quotes and pictures to prove just how wonderful recharging can be!
(All images are from this blog, which you should look at for “things to do alone” inspiration)
 
“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.” – Kim Culbertson
 
 

“I think it’s very healthy to spend some time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” – Oscar Wilde

 
 
“I think solitude is a really positive thing. In today’s society, there’s so much pressure to communicate, eat out, be friends with people. Why can’t you read a book on your own? Why have you got to have a book club?” – Nicky Wire
 
 

So what exactly is the difference between “alone” and “lonely”? Thought Catalog does a beautifully poetic job of explaining that here. I will only post a an excerpt, but if you’d like to read the full thing, click the link!

Alone is taking a break from the pressures of your social circle, happy to stay at home for a while and simply recharge. Lonely is seeing something so beautiful and wanting to turn to someone–anyone–and say, “Look at that. Isn’t that wonderful?” and realizing that there is no one there to share it with.So, as you can see, alone is beautiful and soul-fulfilling while lonely is simply depressing. Loneliness is having no one, but being alone is realizing you have people around you, but deciding to spend some time with yourself. It’s important to know the difference.

For me, being alone is something I choose. Loneliness is feeling alone when I haven’t chosen it. When you’re alone, remind yourself that it’s because you choose to be. It really is a choice.

This absolutely beautiful poem by Andrea Davis changed my views on being alone. I was always self-conscious about it, but now I embrace it. PLEASE watch this video. It’s incredible! Read the words to the poem when you’re done.

 

 

Watch that in your solitude you do not become lazy. Having a day or two where you do nothing can be healing and lovely, but don’t allow it to turn into a week or month of doing so. There is much to be done. Don’t waste your youth or your time on this earth by being content in doing nothing.

There is great value in being alone. And handling it well is a beautiful thing.

What do you guys and gals think of being alone? What is your definition of this word compared to loneliness? What do you like to do during your “me” time?

Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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1 Comment

  • shepard george
    March 8, 2013

    When I want to be alone, I just head up to my family's farm. There I can just think while I walk through the endless corn or soybeans (depends on the year) or I'll visit my neighbor's animals and sometimes I'll even borrow one of the Amish guy's horses and roam around. My phone is nowhere in sight and I feel so free!

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Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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