Do You Know How to Be Alone?

For many, many people, the answer is a resounding no — but alone is different from lonely.

First, this is not necessarily about dating and relationships. Second, it is not about a negative.

For many people, being alone is something they cannot tolerate. Alone is uncomfortable, and they do not work well with the implications of it.

I am a writer. As such, much of my time is spent alone. Sure, the cat might be sitting next to my mouse on the desk, but it’s just me here, at the keyboard, doing the work.

Some people in this sort of environment whither. They need other people around them. Crave background conversations and noise. I think that’s why some writers prefer coffee shops and bars for their work.

Yet being alone, in general, affords you an opportunity to go to places inside your own head. From there, you can work on better mindfulness, and be more cognizant of your thoughts and feelings. Since the only thing in the world which you can control is your thoughts and feelings, this is extremely useful.

Still, to a lot of people, the notion of being alone is really discomfiting. Why? Because then they have to work on and with themselves.

Getting into your own headspace

I know several people who claim they cannot meditate because they are scared of going deeply into themselves.

What are they afraid of? Based on my own experience with this, and my former fears of it, there are several things, such as:

Fear of unworthiness. You don’t dig into your own psyche because you fear that you will find you are unworthy. The what is not so important, because what matters is that you fear that you are unworthy of being anyone or anything special. This is a fear that you lack in worth, and do not matter.

Fear of undeserving. You are afraid that you do not deserve things. Tangible or intangible, you think looking into your mindset you may discover that you don’t deserve to have good in your life, be a success, or anything else you may earn or be able to earn.

Fear of being a bad person. This one sat with me for a while. I was afraid that I would find that, deep down, I was not a good person. This can be tied to the previous pair of fears as well.

I was concerned that the hurt I had caused others in my failed relationships and that my actions tended towards selfishness — making me a bad person.

This can be totally subjective, by the way. But I believe that a bad person is only one who is intentionally mean, unkind, selfish, and otherwise intent on causing hurt to other people.

Fear. This is non-specific. It may have many different faces, depending on situations. This is that general sense of fear you cannot put a name to, but that you believe you can’t work with. No name, no face, just fear. It’s both scary and annoying at the same time.

Alone is not the same as lonely

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Alone is a choice. Lonely is not. Yet these are often mistaken as one-in-the-same.

I spend most of my time alone when I’m writing. That’s a choice. But even being alone, I still am not lonely. Friends are out there online, or by text or phone. The characters in my head are quite real to me, and telling me their stories. Working on my nonfiction I envision you, my reader, resonating with my words.

I work best when I am alone. There is comfort in knowing I can totally talk to myself as I write out these words, and nobody (save my cat) thinks less of me. All the work and discipline to do my work is wholly on me because there is nobody here (save my cats) who will keep tabs on me.

Alone lets me think deeply. This gives me an opportunity to get to work with mindfulness undistracted. It can be uncomfortable, and it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming, but I still relish having my time alone and to myself.

Alone is a matter of without. You are physically on your own. Lonely, on the other hand, is a matter of within. It’s an internal feeling of being alone.

Lonely also tends to have its roots in fear. Mostly it tends to be an intangible fear, but very existential. You could have an emergency or drop dead and nobody would know or care — or it’s a feeling of — nobody loves me, everybody hates me, might as well eat some worms.

Alone is a state of being, whereas lonely is a state of emotion. Lonely doesn’t feel good. But they are different states of being, despite a tendency to lump them together.

You are never truly alone

Let’s get hooky-spooky. Perhaps you believe in angels or muses. If you do, then you are never truly alone, because one of these ethereal creatures is over your shoulder.

Even if you don’t buy into that notion, nowadays you can connect with people across the globe instantly. That being the case, you may be on your own, but you can change that immediately.

Learning how to be alone opens you up to better knowing yourself. When you know yourself better you can be more mindful, and with that awareness more capable of doing the things you desire. Further, you can better work to be who you most desire to be.

Being alone is not the same as being lonely. You can be alone because it presents you with all kinds of opportunities for growth and change. Don’t be afraid of it, time alone has the potential to be utterly kickass.

You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and you are never need to be lonely.

Here are my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better

Written by

I am a practitioner of mindfulness, positivity, philosophy, & conscious reality creation. I love to inspire, open minds, & entertain. http://www.mjblehart.com

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