Are You Lonely Or Just Alone?

Loneliness is an emotional state that has a multitude of negative connotations from missing a significant other, to having been rejected, or even having never been accepted by others.

Being alone can be seen in both positive and negative ways. If you hear about someone spending the holidays alone, you may feel sad for them unless you’re in the middle of a hellish family get together and then you think “that lucky puck.”

Being alone from the individual’s viewpoint is often positive when it doesn’t also include the feeling of loneliness. Some people thrive in solitude where there aren’t the needs of others to cater to and drain your energy.

Loneliness is a feeling most people have at least once in their lives. You may be surrounded by people at a party, but the one person you’re most longing to see and talk to doesn’t show, or has left you, or even passed on and you feel a part of you has gone with them. Feeling lonely in the middle of the madding crowd is common for many people.

Loneliness is natural in many situations, but it can lead to greater problems if there isn’t relief. Feelings of inadequacy, rejection, being punished, self-loathing, despair, and even depression may follow. Most of us don’t go to those extremes, but should loneliness get too difficult, it is always good to seek professional help. You may learn what can trigger your loneliness and ways to adjust your actions to avoid a lengthy and dangerous downward spiral.

People who like to be alone can also get lonely, but they’re usually fine being self-sufficient. It’s usually people on the outside that are always seeing your aloneness as a negative.

While extroverts may thrive with others, introverts get that same lift when they have time to themselves to think and completely enjoy something without the input or distraction of others.

Those who enjoy solitude may not even see themselves as alone. They go out when they need to, but they may feel they have a full and active life with their hobbies, online friends, books, TV, music and movies. They can be very fulfilled through these mediums by the enjoyment of other people’s thoughts and creative works.

The downside to being alone may occur if it is a forced circumstance. People who are alone because they cannot get out due to a physical handicap or an emotional handicap such as agoraphobia (the fear of crowded or enclosed public spaces) can be in danger of not getting help when it’s needed. Fearing the outside world can keep some from calling for 911 or even knocking on a neighbor’s door for a favor.

People who are alone and enjoy the solitude don’t really need to change much unless they feel there is something missing in their lives.

People who are lonely due to a loss of a relationship are likely to take some time to recover from that loss before there is a new sense of “normal” in their lives.

People who experience loneliness without such losses are likely to benefit from getting out of their homes and going places where others gather together.

You may enjoy going to readings or presentations at local library or participating in activities at a senior center. If you’re younger, volunteering at those centers or visiting others who don’t usually get a lot of visitors can help. Sometimes the best cure for loneliness is sharing yourself with someone else.

Check online for events in your city and live a happier life whether it’s taking a course to learn a new skill, volunteering or going somewhere where no one knows who you are and be who you want to be.