One of humanity’s biggest fear is loneliness. And, the trickiest part is that being alone means something different for everyone. One commonality is that it stems from the fear of not sharing your life with someone else meaningfully. However, being lonesome and having solitude mean very different things.
Because of this fear, society has stigmatized the idea of being alone through history. It’s gotten to the point that lonely people are ostracised and sometimes even avoided. Because of this, people go out of their way to be surrounded by others. When they can’t, they panic and start believing that something is wrong with them.
But this stigma is something everyone should learn to get over because, in reality, people need to be alone sometimes. And, many times throughout a person’s life, being alone doesn’t mean feeling lonesome.
What Does Feeling Lonesome Mean?
Feeling lonesome is not the same as being alone. It’s the feeling of sadness and isolation you get because you are alone. But that doesn’t mean that being alone is inherently lonesome. To be more precise, you can be alone without feeling lonesome. But you can’t feel lonesome without being or feeling alone in some way or another.
But this doesn’t mean that being surrounded by people will keep all feelings of loneliness away. People can be alone even if they are in a crowd of 100 people they know. Being alone is more of a state of mind than anything else. And feeling lonesome reflects if you feel seen and heard by others or not. Feeling unwanted and misunderstood can make you feel just as lonely as being physically isolated from others.
Loneliness is something that most people cannot control. No matter how hard you try to snap out of it, sometimes you can’t do it. But you can be alone voluntarily, and that’s solitude, not loneliness. When you choose privacy, you don’t feel isolated. You don’t crave human contact. And being alone in this way is beneficial for your mental well-being.
Loneliness can cause several harms, especially psychological ones. It has been linked with lower self-esteem, a higher risk of developing substance addictions, antisocial behavior, and more. On the other hand, specialists support being solitary from time to time. It has been shown to allow for reflection and self-growth. It can improve your focus, will enable you to keep your priorities straight, and it’s great for a period of relaxation.
Of course, there is a fine line between the two states. But this is exactly what proves that being alone can be used in your interest, rather than being some life-ending catastrophe. So, what are the time in life when being alone doesn’t equal being lonesome? And why should you embrace such periods instead of letting the fear of the unknown overpower you?
Ten Times in Life When Being Alone Does Not Equal Lonesome
Here are the times when you should embrace spending time alone.
1. When You Grow Up
As a kid, life seems easy and carefree. You don’t have responsibilities, and you are free to play around the neighborhood with your friends all day. But that blissful period eventually passes, and you have to grow up. As a teen, becoming a young adult can seem lonely. The same goes for when you pass your young-adult stage and become a full-blown adult.
All these stages can seem lonely, but that perception is all in your head. The problem is that people see these stages as a burden. Instead, they can be an opportunity to grow as a person and reinvent yourself. And, just because you have to grow up, it doesn’t mean the people who care about you won’t be around anymore. Sure, you’ll grow apart from some people, but that will only allow you to make room for new people.
2. When You Move To Another City
People create support systems around themselves as a way to ensure they will have someone to lean on no matter what. While it’s good to have these types of systems set up around you, it also means it’s challenging to be away from those people. This can make life changes, like moving to another city, feel more lonesome than they are.
Deciding to move to another city, or being forced by specific factors, doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. Just like growing up, moving somewhere else can allow you to have a fresh start. If at first you aren’t surrounded by people, that’s alright. You can take that time to work on yourself. Eventually, you will make new connections. And, there’s no need to let go of your old contacts.
3. When You’re Trying To Figure Yourself Out
As people go through life, they will stumble over situations that turn their world upside-down. Your life will never be smooth sailing, and there will be many instances where you have to sort yourself out. This might mean finding the strength to get through the day, making tough decisions, having to cut people out from your life, and more.
When you go through these periods when seemingly nothing is going in your favor, chances are you will have to take some time away from others and be alone. But this doesn’t mean you will be lonely. Instead, it means that you have so much to deal with that you need some solitude to make good decisions. The people who are beside you for real will stay by your side, even if you need some solitude.
4. You Don’t Feel Lonesome When You’re Focusing On Your Career
Many people are scared to dedicate themselves fully to their careers because they believe they will be lonely. That’s why they choose to struggle with a job that doesn’t fulfill them instead of taking the time to apply for a better job or seek out a promotion. Sometimes, kids even choose their degrees based on how much time to socialize they will have.
But the idea that having a career will make you lonely is baseless. Chasing your dreams is often something you’ll have to do alone. But when you get what you want, you’ll be at peace internally. That personal fulfillment won’t allow you to feel lonely. And, after getting what you want, you’ll have more than enough time to make new connections.
5. When You’re Bettering Your Mental Health You Don’t Feel Lonesome
Struggling with your mental health can feel extremely isolating. And, at the lowest of your lows, it is lonely. But, as you start to get better, you will be more and more at peace with yourself. This means even if you are alone, at least you will have yourself and will be able to rely on yourself. Besides that, you will connect with people along the way. This is why bettering yourself, while it might be something you do alone, is not lonesome.
6. You’re Not Necessarily Lonesome When You Stay In
You will spend many Friday nights inside the house throughout your life instead of going to a party. Some people do it because they have other responsibilities, like learning or work. Some do it because they don’t like going out that much. But all people who stay in choose to be alone. But that doesn’t mean they are lonely. They have other priorities, like working or taking a nice, relaxing bath. And if you ever have to skip out on going out, you should know that you’re not lonely either. You’re just choosing to focus on yourself.
7. When You Fight With Someone
Getting into fights with people can feel isolating, especially if those people are close to you. But don’t worry, just because you and someone else might not talk for a couple of days doesn’t mean they’ll give up on you. And, even if you can’t sort your issues out, many other people will stick by your side no matter what.
And even if you break all connections with the people in your life, you will be lonely only if you let the situation tear you down. As long as you keep a positive attitude and have faith in yourself, you will never feel lonely. You’ll always have yourself.