Alone without being lonely

This blog was sparked by a post on facebook about loneliness and I had the urge to explain something about the difference between being lonely and being alone.

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This blog was sparked by a post on facebook about loneliness and I had the urge to explain something about the difference between being lonely and being alone.

When you think of loneliness you may be thinking about someone living alone or the elderly. However some or even many of these people are not lonely. Yes, they may be alone but they lead happy fruitful lives. You see as you get older through your experience of life you develop habits to help you to be comfortable with yourself and therefore are not lonely when you find yourself alone (at least many are able to develop this but there will always be a few who still feel lonely.

Don’t think that being in a relationship means that everyone is happy!! As a lawyer I dealt with many relationship issues and some of the loneliest people I encountered were those in unhappy relationships. I know what I am talking about because I had personal experience of this too. So don’t think that just because people are ‘married’ or in relationships that they are not lonely! In fact when you are alone, when you remove yourself from a negative, destructive relationship and start valuing yourself for who you are, you can and will not be lonely.

The key is to learn to be comfortable with yourself and love yourself. This is not an easy thing to do as you have to challenge your beliefs and past conditioning and even challenge beliefs of the culture you are living in which indicates that relationships/marriage etc is the way to go and to be happy. I am not suggesting that all marriages or relationships are unhappy I am merely saying that the best relationships are where each individual is a ‘whole’ person and each values themselves and each other.

I recommend that you read about my 4th attribute – ‘de-attachment’ in my 7 Attributes for Success (Inner Success and Happiness) – see Briefly this topic is about de-attaching yourself from someone or a situation and being more inter-dependent.

Take a moment to think if you are so attached to someone that you smother them or want to possess them. If you are beware! This can and will soon destroy and healthy relationship.

Remember too that many of us are going to be alone at some point in our lives because statistics show that divorce rates are increasing, women outliving men, society advocating self-sufficiency and independence so be prepared.

Young people are seemingly often unhappy for no clear reason. This might be because rather than use their imagination in play they need computer games, television and other toys to amuse them and keep them occupied. If they are not sought after or included in all activities of their peers, their self-esteem takes a hit. They are subject to a wide range of moods, up one minute and down the next, bored or restless. They blame themselves and resort to activities that exclude social contact or productivity such as computer games and watching television.

I have found many creative young people when mentoring and like me, these creative people crave time alone but find it almost impossible to find a space to be alone. If only everyone could go on a retreat for a time. Just think of someone who has done this – they return refreshed mentally with an increased feeling of well-being.

Do you seek time alone? When I give my talks I often tell my audiences that my ideal life if in a relationship would be for each of the individuals to have their own flat/house! Kidding really. What I mean is that the ideal relationship is one where you have your ‘own’ space. I am sure many relationships would last longer if each could have their own space!

Of course even this is not possible for most of us on limited incomes, living in limited spaces. But you can and should respect each other’s feelings for wanting time to be ‘alone’ by creating such a ‘space’.

I recall a television program talking on this subject advocating that ‘private’ space could be indicated by hanging a ‘ribbon’ on the door handle of the bathroom – the ribbon was the message to others that you want to be ‘left alone’.

I bet many of you are resonating with this. You are thinking about times when you just wanted to be alone, to cry for no particular reason or do whatever you want but your partner or someone close thinks it is their fault and starts asking you ‘what they have done’ or bombard you with constant questions about ‘what’s wrong’ or worse still with phrases like ‘pull yourself together’ and so on. Meanwhile all you want to do is scream ‘leave me alone’.

However there are always times when you may feel lonely and I want to recommend some things you can do to help you tune out thoughts of loneliness and these include writing letters (I don’t mean texts!!), reading, painting, sewing, knitting, caring for a pet (or someone else’s pet), enrolling in a course.

You must avoid drinking alcohol alone; using other escapes (non-prescribed drugs); watching too much television to avoid socialising

This is a vast topic and I have only really touched the surface but I hope that it helps you realise that you are not alone in wanting to be alone and when you do have feelings of loneliness you know what to do to help yourself.

Remember it’s ok and even good to be alone sometimes but no-one likes or wants to be lonely.