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Being Alone is not the Same as Loneliness

How to be alone without being lonely

You might think that being alone and being lonely are similar concepts, but they're quite distinct from one another. Being alone is more of a state of being, while being lonely is a feeling.

It's possible that you be both alone and lonely at the same time, but by definition, they're different concepts. In this article, we'll be differentiating the difference between loneliness and being alone, and how to be alone without being lonely.

Being alone vs being lonely

As mentioned above, being alone is a state of being. Being alone means that you're physically by yourself, but it doesn't necessarily mean you feel lonely. Being alone means things like sitting under a tree, or maybe reading your favorite book. Being alone also means going to the movies by yourself. These are the things you normally do when you're alone.

When you're alone, it's possible to be happy. You can be alone without feeling lonely. You can feel happy when you're watching a movie by yourself, or when you're laughing by yourself. You can still feel at peace when you're alone. Being alone isn't always a bad thing. Some people prefer to be alone to recharge their energy, or because they don't mix well with people. Being alone can be a personal choice, but loneliness isn't something you choose.

On the other hand, being lonely means that you feel this ache in your chest. Being lonely comes with a feeling that is a result of isolation- but not all the time. You can feel lonely, even when you've been with your friends the whole day. Loneliness is often a perceived result of a lack of connection and intimacy. You can feel lonely, even when you're beside the person you love.

Loneliness is a state of mind. Loneliness comes with the void in your heart that craves to be filled, and being alone is simply just being alone. With loneliness, you often feel misunderstood and neglected by those around you. Loneliness can never be a positive experience. Loneliness makes you feel like something- or someone- is missing in your life. Loneliness makes you want companionship or makes you crave to be understood by others.

While you may think that being alone automatically means the feeling of loneliness, this isn't the case. There are certain things you can do to avoid feeling lonely when you're alone, which will be explained in the following.

How to be alone without being lonely

  • When you're busy with trying new things such as a hobby or skill, you don't have time for loneliness in your life. Being preoccupied living your life is the best way to avoid the feeling of loneliness. If you're too focused on mastering the skill you're currently learning, you won't have the space or time to feel lonely.

  • Truly understand: There's nothing wrong with being alone. In fact, it's quite peaceful if you think about it. You can use being alone as an opportunity to asses and evaluate certain aspects of your life. You may have a negative notion tied to being alone, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Being alone is the only time you can evaluate if there are certain changes to be made in your life, and to find the urge to make those changes. It's also a chance to channel your inner independence and you'll see that when you're secure in being alone, the feeling of loneliness will rarely come.

  • One of the best ways to avoid feeling lonely is through exercise. Physical activity counters loneliness effectively, and it's proven to make you feel good about yourself. Even when you're alone but you feel good about yourself, the chances of feeling lonely are slim. Exercise also keeps you from dwelling on the feeling of loneliness.

  • If you're alone and you're specifically avoiding feeling lonely, doing the things you love is the best way to go. Nothing lifts your spirit up more than doing things you're passionate about, whether that's writing, reading, or even playing the guitar. By surrounding yourself with your interests, you wouldn't feel as lonely anymore.

  • Social media might seem like the perfect outlet to make yourself connect more with people, but this can backfire. Social media is the platform where comparison is most present and this might trigger certain feelings of loneliness if you aren't careful enough. Everyone posts their highlights on social media, so be careful of comparing your life to theirs. Nobody posts their bad days where they feel down and out.

  • Feelings of loneliness often result from being stuck in the past. If you find yourself drifting elsewhere and having that feeling of anxiety and loneliness, meditation is the best way to go or use breathing exercises. By focusing on the present, you realize that loneliness isn't a fact but just a state of mind you can let go of easily.

  • We live in such a fast-paced world that it's rare to have a moment of quiet and peace to ourselves. We're surrounded by so much noise that solitude is rare and when it does occur we mislabel it as loneliness. Reframe this as a time to enjoy yourself and learn about yourself. Or just take a moment to enjoy the quiet and calmness of this world.

  • Instead of staying at home all day and tolerating the possibility of feeling lonely, you can take a walk outside and enjoy the fresh air. Enjoying the beauty of nature always helps in avoiding the feeling of loneliness, despite being alone. By going outside and having a change of scenery, you also get out of your own head.

In conclusion, I hope this article was able to help you differentiate being alone and loneliness, and the things you can do when you're alone to avoid loneliness. It's not easy to feel lonely. In fact, that's the emotion we're all trying to avoid. By doing the things mentioned above, hopefully you gain the realization that you can still find happiness and peace, even when you're alone.

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