Opinion

Why Being Alone and Being Lonely Are Not Synonymous

By: Emma Lynch

emma.lynch@spartans.ut.edu

Loneliness is a term that many people seem to fear. Sometimes that feeling is internally rooted and other times it’s a simple social pressure of not wanting others to view you as a “loner.” 

Although, what many fail to realize is the difference between being alone and loneliness. To be alone is to come to terms with individuality. It is recognizing your own hobbies and inner thoughts and feelings. 

Being alone allows for inner peace and self-discovery which is highly beneficial. Discovering yourself on a deeper level, alone, is by no means a bad thing and definitely doesn’t make you lonely. 

Being alone is a physical state, whereas loneliness is an emotion. The state of being alone is healthy and finding peace, and with that comes a healthy relationship with oneself.  

Loneliness is simply distress and a lack of connection. A happy medium between being alone and being surrounded by others is what tends to be the most successful for people. It is imperative to be happy with oneself before seeking out others’ energy. Although, it is also crucial to be surrounded by others to ensure that you take in different energies and any needed external feelings, opinions, emotions, and behaviors. 

If you are feeling lonely on a stronger, unhealthier level, it is best to ask why you could be feeling this way. Some feelings are stronger and deeper than others which could require extra assistance. 

For some, these feelings are temporary and must be analyzed. Potential reasons for feeling down must be considered. It is important to note when you are feeling your best and when you are feeling lonelier to help dissect what you specifically need to be and to feel your best self.

One of the largest issues with loneliness is the negative behaviors that ultimately come out of it. When people feel lonely, they often step back from friendships or engage with others and often view themselves as the problem, which causes even worse feelings than the initial ones. 

Some may argue that they feel lonely when experiencing the state of being alone. Although, it is important to note that sometimes one must push past feelings of distress to reach serenity. The peace and calmness that comes from being alone won’t always come immediately. 

Being alone allows us as humans to connect with our inner feelings, lessons we learn, and opinions from ourselves and others. 

It’s a forced moment gifted to us to be able to process and register what we need before engaging with others again. Being alone doesn’t have to last long. It can be as simple as coming home from lunch with friends and journaling or taking a nap. This down time is rejuvenating and the benefits are greater than most recognize. 

Overall, whether you have mastered the art of being alone or are still stuck in a loneliness funk, you will ultimately find your inner peace and middle ground of happiness. Continue working towards your goals, connecting with yourself, and being the best you can be. 

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