Since autumn is right around the corner and summer flings and maybe even just some love is coming to an end, so this is the perfect time to talk about the difference between being lonely vs being alone. We often think being alone and being lonely is interchangeable, but they are not. We often think they are the same but they are far from it.
Many people who I have spoke with in the past will go through a break up and they say things like: “I am lonely, I am alone.” Now you can certainly can be both but most people are either one of the other. Lonely is an adjective and alone is adjective also but they mean two different things. One is negative and one is neutral.
Alone = Independent
Lonely = Dependent
Alone = Self-ful
Lonely = Self-ish
When you are alone you are independent but when you are lonely you are dependent on someone else to make you not feel lonely. When you are alone you are full of self. When you are lonely you are selfish or in other words you have an ego.
Alone in the definition term is separation from others, isolation. Lonely in the definition term is a feeling of sadness from being alone. The goal is to be alone without feeling lonely. You can also be around people and still feel lonely. An example of this is lets say you surrounded by people all day long, from football games to going to malls and you can still feel lonely. You aren’t alone but you still feel lonely. Now you are probably wondering how is this so? You are with people all day but you still feel lonely, it doesn’t make sense.
That is because loneliness is a state of mind. You mentally feel lonely, you aren’t physically lonely, you are sad because you feel mentally lonely. A more sharp example of loneliness being a state of mind is this: A solider who just got deployed to be foreign country can still feel lonely despite being around his troops. If you are a new kid on a college campus, you might be surround by thousands of people but you feel lonely. Being lonely is not actually being alone, its feeling alone internally. You can be with yourself and feel full of love.
That is why love can be so corrupt sometimes because from myself dating women and being observer of relationships, I often see people who were in a long relationship that lasted over three years break up and I see the woman or the man hop right into another relationship. I am not talking several months after, I’m talking like three weeks after going through a break up they are already with someone new. This happens because before the relationship they were lonely, so they felt like they needed to date someone to feel happy, to feel a fullness. That is why it’s never good to date when you are lonely. 65% of the time people hop in a relationship because they do feel lonely.
People go into a relationship with an empty glass, hoping the other person will fill their glass for them, making them not lonely anymore. Normally in the first year or so of dating, your glass is constantly being filled by that other person. Then their comes a time where your glasses stops being filled, either from the person breaking it off with you or because they just stop filling your glass. Now you are worse off than before the relationship because now you are dependent on someone else to fill your glass first, so that leads you into jumping right into a new relationships to feel the void.
People need to learn how to fill their own glass first.
If you don’t know how to fill your glass first then you will always be dependent on someone else for your happiness. You should always go into a relationship with your glass half full(from you filling your own glass) then letting that other person fill the rest of the glass to create a wholeness. And learn how to always fill your own glass, so if the relationship doesn’t work out, you won’t be left lonely and sad. You will be left still with their own glass half full not empty. Never go into a relationship because you are lonely, go when you are happy by yourself.
Now you may be wondering how do I fill my glass first and how do I not be lonely when I’m alone with myself?
When you are alone you need to practice self love, self care, and self improvement. These three all bounce off of each other. Workout by yourself, take a walk by yourself, read by yourself, eat by yourself, learn by yourself. When you improve yourself, you begin to love yourself, you start to pour into your own glass, making you independent. By taking care of yourself by not eating bad all the time, not drinking too much, even just getting a hair cut and shower is a type of self care.
You can be alone without feeling lonely, and you can not be alone but feel lonely.
My time alone is my most powerful time in the day. That is when all my best work gets done. I am writing this article alone. If I didn’t have my alone time I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I was surrounded by people all day long, I wouldn’t be able to connect with myself, love myself and create. I called this alone time “going into my batcave.” My friend would ask me “where have you been?” I tell him I was in the batcave and he immediately understands and respect it.
When you understand how powerful it is to be alone, you start to use your alone time more than to just watch TV and try to escape from being bored.
Being alone too much and being with people too much is doubled edge sword. If you spend too much time alone, like months on months alone then you will begin to feel lonely. Interacting with human beings is one of our basic human needs. If you use your alone time to binge watch TV, play video games and over eat then will suffer from loneliness such quicker. These types of activities don’t feel your glass, if anything they empty it, leaving you feeling more lonely than before.
Then you have the flip side of the sword where if you spend too much time with others you will lose connection with yourself and your glass that was filled with self love will begin to drain. You need both alone time, family and friend time. It’s all moderation. Too much of anything is bad.
Anytime I notice that I am feeling lonely without even being in isolation, I know that I need to practice more self love and create more. So when you are alone practice more self love and you will begin to fill your own glass and overcome loneliness.