Loneliness – The Gift Of Being Alone

I see it constantly, the amount of time that someone cannot stand to be alone is directly proportional to his or her level of unhappiness. The opposite of that is that the happiest people that I know are perfectly fine being alone and never complain about loneliness.

I am not saying that you have to be alone to be happy, but you have to be able to happy and content on your own before you can truly be happy. There is a difference.

In the past, I would say that I was someone who could not be happy being just with me or being alone. It is something that I had to learn over time and learn I did. And I have clients who suffer greatly when they are not with someone else or are surrounded by others. But the reality is this… for myself, or for my clients, it wasn’t or isn’t having someone around who makes us happy, it’s merely just a distraction or a cover up for the unhappiness that is already there. It isn’t true happiness in other words.

Someone once told me that loneliness is a feeling or a state of mind… and that being alone is a choice. You can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely, conversely, you can be utterly alone – not feel lonely at all, and be perfectly content. None of us ever has to be alone, there are always places to go where people converge or mingle, and you can always decide to go to those places or not. It’s up to you… you can go to the grocery store, library, church, the movies, wherever there are other people and you will not be alone. Now, whether you feel lonely when you are there among others… that is an entirely different thing.

They say what you resist persists, and dealing with being lonely and feeling loneliness is the perfect example of that. I had a client once who was so full of fear of ever doing anything alone after her divorce. After a couple of years, she grew more and more comfortable with being alone and actually going out and doing things by herself like going to the movies or having dinner in a nice restaurant. I still remember the day that she called me to tell me about her evening that was quite pleasant that she spent all by herself and actually enjoyed it!

And you know what happened not two-three weeks after that call? You guessed it… she met her current husband and they have been together and ecstatically happy for over six years now.

Great power I believe comes from learning how to be alone. Even more power comes from learning how not to feel lonely, regardless if you are alone or with others, and that is something that I try to impress upon many of my clients.

Learning how to be alone, and tackling your feelings of loneliness can prove to be your greatest strength down the road. You will learn to be independent, not needy, and to be able to stand on your own two feet and make your own decisions. For me, all that adds up to freedom, and aren’t we all happier when we feel free? That is the gift of being alone.

A mentally strong and healthy person can find balance between being with others and being alone and the important thing is to find the right balance that works for you. When you find yourself struggling with being alone or with loneliness, just remind yourself that this is what you have to go through now to become stronger in the future, which will allow you to be more able to handle whatever comes your way.

And remember… loneliness is a state of mind… being alone is choice.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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