Being Alone and Being Lonely Are NOT the Same!
By on June 22, 2017
Is there a difference between being lonely and being alone? Yes there is and it’s a radical difference! After hearing from so many of you regarding time alone I noticed a trend. Most people tend to enjoy and even crave their alone time, but not everyone can say that. For some people alone time = loneliness. I hear you and I’m here to tell you that being lonely and being alone are very different. I also want to admit that I understand the difference because I have been on both sides. It’s not easy to admit, because it feels so needy and insecure but trust me; you can cross the serenity bridge from feeling lonely to being alone and content.
Let me paint the picture for you, after my divorce I had a long holiday weekend coming up all to myself. No work, no daughter, not even my dog was in town. (FYI- my pretty princess dog is now retired, but was a show dog when I adopted him and was still competing at dog shows.) As that weekend of all me approached, I was raked with serious anxiety and fear. What was I going to do? Who was I going to hang out with? What if something Lifetime movie tragic happened to me and my body wasn’t found for days?! Obviously, I was having totally sane thoughts. The more I thought obsessed about it, the worse the anxiety about that weekend felt. I told friends looking for sympathy, only to be told that they were jealous and would love a weekend like mine. Ugh. No one was getting the brewing anxiety I was feeling. I even tried finding a last minute deal to fly anywhere warm and just chill for 3 days. For some reason I thought that a long weekend away would mean no loneliness. Let’s be honest, I was trying to outrun my fear and anxiety. That works, doesn’t it? Here is what I’ve learned, those things that you’re trying to outrun is like an angry bee that will relentlessly chase you until you stop running.
My reality was my attempts at running weren’t working and I was going to have to deal with this alone weekend thing. I asked for advice from a couple of trusted people and I took it. I made plans with friends to go out, fun plans just for myself, but I also left enough flex time to just be alone with no structure. For me, I knew I needed these three components to work through my fear and anxiety. The first night was a Friday night and I met my sister and friend for dinner. We ate, drank, laughed and had a fabulous time. I left smiling. So far this alone weekend thing was off to a good start. Then I slept in on Saturday and woke up refreshed! Oh my gosh, sleep! As the weekend went on I found my joy and confidence again. I drove to the mountains and went to a spa – all by myself. I worked out, met with friends and stayed home binge watching a few shows when some plans fell through. I found myself turning the proverbial corner from fear and anxiety into serenity and joy. The weekend I had feared was actually turning into a glorious weekend that resulted in a huge shift in my psyche.
For me, the fear of loneliness was bigger than actually being alone. When I broke down the fear, it was based on old stories that I had been telling myself. None of which were relevant or true. The truth revealed itself that weekend in serenity and contentment. I realized that I’m complete on my own and at peace. I’m not saying that I didn’t have moments of feeling lonely, but they were just moments and they passed. The weekend alone also helped get me in touch with what I like, what I want to do and who I want to be. No one wants to be Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride, always afraid of being alone and just adopting whatever her guy likes. Barf. No thanks.
I’m learning that there are no short-cuts to this life thing. You have to really feel, think and be present in life in order to really live it. You also have to go through the tough stuff, because you can’t outrun ‘the angry bee’ forever. One of my favorite reminders says, ‘So far my track record for surviving bad days is 100%. Those are pretty good odds.’
Pics from my spa/serenity day