Okay with being aloneThe crippling feeling of loneliness has been one of the debilitating factors for mental health problems.
Let’s clarify something. Being alone and being lonely are two entirely different things. ‘Alone’ means being by yourself, whereas ‘lonely’ means you feel isolated and have a feeling of disconnection with others. It’s an emotion, whereas ‘alone’ is a state of being.
Being alone doesn’t mean an individual is lonely, and being lonely doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual is alone. It’s often difficult to distinguish these two terms because we generally think that an individual being lonely means that the person doesn’t have friends, is unhappy, doesn’t go out much, has no one to share their stories with, is straight-up troubled and—most importantly—alone. But the reality is often far from it.
People who prefer to be alone don’t necessarily possess those typical characteristics. It’s just that we have convinced ourselves that a lonely person is always alone and shares those features. This may come as a surprise; often, there are people who feel lonely, even in the company of people that love and care for them. And this is a difficult concept to grasp. Why would an individual who is surrounded by people that love them feel so lonely? There is no simple answer, but often the overarching view of these individuals is that they don’t feel heard. They feel as if their voices are lost in between the noises of other people, and they feel as if their opinions don’t matter.
The crippling feeling of loneliness has been one of the debilitating factors for mental health problems, and we see this in people of all age groups, from young children to the elderly. The problem with being lonely is that an individual, even when in the company of others, consciously chooses not to share how and what they feel because they feel like their voice isn’t heard. And, even when they do share, they refrain from talking about anything that is important to them. This is why it is difficult to detect someone who is feeling lonely. Generally, we don’t expect cheerful individuals who are talkative and constantly in the company of others to be feeling lonely and show symptoms of mental health problems like depression, existential crisis, substance abuse and even suicidal thought and ideation.
One has to be okay with being alone if they don’t want to be lonely. We assume being with someone means that they won’t feel lonely anymore, which isn’t true. This is why we see so many people stuck in a relationship with their ex or having issues with confronting toxic relationships when they know it is not good for them. But unless one is ok with being by themselves and their thoughts, they will always feel as if they need someone to ease the discomfort that arises from being left alone. This is why people feel lonely in a room full of people. They feel isolated from the world around them.
The solution to overcome this loneliness is a simple one—self love. Loving oneself is similar to how we show love to others. You have to be kind to yourself and be patient with your actions. You should understand that it is okay to put your needs before someone else’s at times, but you should also learn to put your point across to people in a non-aggressive way. Be okay with doing things for you and understand that it’s not selfish.
Self love also stops one from playing mind games where we keep overthinking everything. It enables us to truly let go and do the things we enjoy and stop doing things simply to please others. Self love also teaches us to do things independently because dependence can only take you so far. This is how self love helps us feel comfortable being alone and cherish our own company.
If you have suicidal thoughts, seek support by calling the national helpline for suicide prevention at 1166.