Alone or Lonely?


Solitude: listening to your own voice, finding comfort in your own skin, relying on yourself for your personal happiness and satisfaction.  Henry David Thoreau may have written the quintessential book on solitude, and J.D. Salinger may have lived solitude better than anyone else, but how happy were either of these men? How happy are any of us in solitude? Is learning to be alone the only way that we can truly connect to ourselves, and love ourselves without the noise of those around us? If we crave a connection to others, by nature, doesn’t it seem counterintuitive to embrace solitude?

I have spent the majority of the last decade, alone. Despite being in relationships, I’ve been mostly by myself. I’ve found that I function better in a relationship where my partner travels or is busy most of the time, because I am a person who requires a lot of time to herself. I am an only child, and as other only children may know, you spend a lot of time in your own world when you are growing up. As an adult, it’s become a non-negotiable for me: I need time alone. I need to be able to crawl inside myself and recharge, reconnect, and find my center. If I am not able to have this time, I find that I start to burn out very quickly (and generally throw a softball of hate toward anyone who loves me). For myself, I learn to love and be easier on myself because of my time alone. I get time to rewrite the tapes that I play (where I am not good enough and I am always doing the wrong thing).

Currently, I am finding that being alone is very difficult and painful for me. Where I have always needed time to myself, this was a choice that I was making. Now, being without “P” I am not making a choice to be alone, instead I need to accept that I am. It is difficult not to run and jump into a new relationship that will take away the pain of being by myself. However, I know what the outcome of doing this would be, and doing that to another person isn’t me. Maybe it used to be me, but it isn’t me anymore.

I don’t know how happy Thoreau or Salinger were in their self-imposed solitude, but I’d guess that they had to be awfully lonely and longing for a connection.

11 thoughts on “Alone or Lonely?

  1. Alone or lonely is something I am trying to figure out right now too. Feeling alone and feeling lonely are different emotions for me. I spend a lot of time on my own now and there are times I am so very thankful that I have those opportunities, but the loneliness can be suffocating at times. I know that at the moment I am too ‘broken’ to even consider another relationship, so flying solo is the safest thing for now.
    I think Salinger and Thoreau probably were longing for a connection – aren’t we all?
    Thanks for sharing xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad that we can relate to each other about all of this. It really helps. We are both going to get through these difficult times, and find something brighter on the other side. Who knows what that will be, but whatever it is will be better for us.
      At least everyone here can connect to each other, and relate to what everyone is going through. That in itself is a connection to hold on to!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. After the break up with my ex I felt so alone. Now I just feel frustrated that I have no desire to start a new relationship or even meet new people. Maybe with some time I’ll be able to open up my heart to other people.
    I’ve been alone before, but the feeling of being alone after a break up is even worse. I felt like I lost the best thing to ever happen to me…

    Liked by 1 person

    • This made me so sad to read… you WILL find someone who is even better for you. I promise. Your ex wasn’t the best thing to happen to you, and if he was, and things are meant to be, you will find your way back to each other. As crazy and impossible as it may seem right now, all of this is true.
      It’s tough to think ahead when you’re going through this and really feeling all of it, I know and understand. You’re going to get to a place where you can’t believe you ever felt this way about your ex. It’ll happen all of a sudden, without you even noticing. Things always get better.

      Liked by 1 person

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