I am alone, but I am not lonely. And when I say that I mean exactly what I just wrote. But it took a long time for me to get here. To get to a point where I feel comfortable in my own skin, doing my own thing, with not one single fuck given. I had to learn my time, freedom, and energy is everything to me. As a child, I was extremely lonely. I felt like I was never really heard or seen. Not by my family and not by my friends. Though I’m not an only child (I have a twin brother), that dynamic in itself is difficult because of gender biases. BUT I was a quiet child. I guess that’s just part of my reserved nature. It’s only recently that I have come to accept this part of me. And I do not let this part of me dim my light.
We often confuse "alone" and "lonely" to mean the same thing. But when you use these words in the correct context, they have an entirely different meaning. I do see how the meaning of these words can change depending on how the word is used in a sentence. Like when someone says, "I’m alone in this relationship" or "I’m alone for the holidays". It suggests or implies a feeling that something is wrong. And usually, this said feeling is uncomfortable, unfavorable, and unwanted.
Before I delve deeper into what being alone and lonely means to me, let’s explore the definitions of these two words. According to Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com, and Google, the definition of the word alone is having no one else present. It is to be separated from others; to be apart, or isolated from others. While the definition of lonely is to be without company. It means affected, with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone, lonesome, or sad because one has no friends or company.
Do you see the difference between alone and lonely? To be alone is a physical state and to be lonely is an emotional state. Let me put this into context for you.
The Difference Between Being Alone & Being Lonely
The Meaning Of Being Alone
Again, being alone is simply physical. In every waking moment of our lives, we are constantly doing something alone. It’s the little things that we do daily. It’s eating breakfast, grocery shopping, cooking, going for a walk, driving to work, getting a manicure, or checking in at a doctor’s appointment. You see, we typically move through life alone when we’re not with family, friends, or coworkers. And we don’t ever stop to question why we’re alone in doing these things. It just is.
The Meaning Of Being Lonely
Now, certain events and situations can make us feel lonely. And it doesn’t matter what the situation is, as long as the perception of loneliness is there. I have had countless moments like these too. We all have. But, have you ever noticed most of the situations are in social settings? Remember, to be lonely means to be without company which means not having anyone at the moment to do anything with. This could look like showing up to a birthday party not knowing any of the other guests or attending a wedding without a date when everyone else has one. It could also look like walking into a bar at happy hour and sitting at the bar alone. These are the situations that we choose to participate in that bring about the perception of being lonely. On the other side of the spectrum, you can just as easily be alone or feel lonely in a relationship or marriage. But that is a whole other layered discussion.
Somehow there is this universal notion we need company to enjoy the lives we live. And I am here to tell you that is not always true. Of course, life is always better when your creating moments and memories with your tribe. We’re wired for interdependence. We need each other. We’re not meant to do all things alone. But, what about the moments that you create for yourself? We, as women, need these little moments. We are just not taught how to enjoy our own company or how to be comfortable alone. And that is the problem.
I have learned to enjoy my own company – I date myself all the time. I have dined in picturesque restaurants, sang my favorite lyrics at a concert, and slayed the leopard one-piece on some country’s white sand beach. To me, being alone means enjoying your own time, and to be lonely means to long for something or someone. And in this moment, I do not long for anyone or anything. I am completely content with where I am at in my journey. I live for new experiences and I will not wait for anyone to be available to enjoy them. If I know how to do anything at all, it’s to have a good time alone.
So, I mean it when I say I am alone, but I am not lonely. And I hope that you find your own joy in being alone too.
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