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Alone or Lonely?

Did you find yourself alone?

I believe that at some point in adult life, we are all lonely or alone. Loneliness is a feeling like any other and a feeling unlike many others when it gets you in a group or crowd of people or even with one other. But why do we feel lonely? And what does it mean to be alone?

Lonely

Have you lived with people or someone you love? Despite challenges or trials that may arise every day, some attachment to their company could inevitably grow.

What happens then when you no longer have them in your life, or something severs your bond? Are you not left alone? Well, alone could be on day one. On day two, when you likely cannot do anything or move anywhere and perhaps relive memories, see them there with you, talking, laughing, smiling, or just there, you will feel lonely.

But loneliness is a complicated feeling. It can also happen when we are around people, even the ones we love.

When someone discusses something irrelevant, it is easy to ignore and focus elsewhere. When there is nothing worth your time in them, yet you share it anyway, you may find yourself feeling lonely. It can also happen when we are in discomforting company.

Loneliness is, in a way, woven to “lacking” and “wanting”, which you can also connect with “dissatisfaction” and “desire.”

You may be lonely when you feel that you lack or want something or someone you had. You are thus dissatisfied with the present moment and desire more from it. Do the above four sound any good for anyone?

You can look at loneliness in many different ways.

Share this view with me: the amount of time you spend with people could lead to an attachment to “people” (doesn’t have to be anyone particularly). Attachment leads to dependence. When you depend or rely on anyone to feel complete, whole, or okay, you are, in a way, going out of your safe space to seek sanctuary in someone else’s space.

But you are your safe space—discover that. Understand it. Guard it.

Alone

What does it mean to be alone? You can look at it as being without other people or human interactions but your own company.

Does it sound too bad? Is it surprising that some people actually crave to be alone? See, I believe that the world can get too loud sometimes. Taking a step back and finding your own quiet corner has never done anyone harm.

On the other hand, some people dread being alone. Most who do may be used to being around people and have likely grown attached to or even dependent on company. Such people may not always dread the aspect of being alone more than its consequences.

To someone dependent on company, it is no surprise to fall into loneliness when alone.

While lonely equated to lacking or wanting more, alone is the idea of being without more. Now, what happens when you are alone is entirely up to you. It may depend on your within-person.

You can feel that you have all that you need within you, which could make you satisfied with your company and desire nothing more, or you can feel lonely. You are either complete or not—both are possible at any given time.

There are many more ways to look at “alone”. Why don’t you share this view with me?: The amount of time you spend with yourself could lead to an attachment to “you” or the idea of being by yourself (alone). The attachment grows to dependence on yourself for company.

What does that mean? You may not need someone to feel okay, whole, or complete. People could become a secondary option for company, while you are your first option.

Alone or Lonely?

So, what does it take, really? The way I see it, courage in being alone—brave the walk and you may be happy at the end.

It is not about locking people out of your life or needing nobody else; it is about taking some alone time to be with yourself first. Know yourself, understand yourself, be there for yourself. When you feel that you love yourself enough to miss being alone, then you are probably ready for the world.

Any beauty in this? Whatever happens out there, whoever leaves, you will always have you and what is more beautiful is that there, with only you, could mean no or less depression, sadness, or loneliness, and more satisfaction, peace, and much-deserved quiet.

My hope is that you never feel lonely when you’re alone and that you know this: we are never really alone.

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Benie Langat

Benson Langat is a poet, fiction writer, and freelancer. A dreamer, he realizes a world of possibilities through stories and explores life in poetry. Benie is a dad and lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

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