Being Alone vs. Loneliness
Hi everyone! Today is my birthday (originally written and recorded back in April 2020 at the height of Corona quarantine)!
Although birthdays are everyone’s time to celebrate their uniqueness and share their joy with friends and family, in this weird year 2020 probably most of us were or will be forced to have a very slimmed down version of this very special day. Or perhaps many of us will be forced to celebrate it by ourselves. In this situation I think it’s fair enough to talk about the difference between being alone and being lonely. Because these two things are not the same.
When forced to choose between feeling lonely and feeling alone, of course you should choose feeling alone. Because loneliness is an illusion. Let me explain.
We people are obviously social creatures, so we want to be together with people. It’s in togetherness where our strength lies. Together we are all one big human family. Even extrovert people need other people to rely on and to feel appreciated. So it’s understandable that no one wants to feel lonely. Because loneliness is associated with negative feelings, with inner emptiness which is very uncomfortable to deal with.
However, being alone is just a physical fact of being by yourself in a room or in some space. To say I’m alone doesn’t have that negative connotation of emptiness or negativity. It’s just a plain description of facts.
So during this quarantine time if you are by yourself, if you are alone, please do not feel lonely. Because you are never lonely. Loneliness is an inner attitude, a wrong perception of things. Yes, people might not have many friends, yes people might not have a big family, yes, friends are sometimes not very reliable. But you are never really alone in terms of lonely. There’s always someone who loves you and I want you to focus on that and never ever forget.
Loneliness is a mental state. There are many, many people who love it to be by themselves, to work by themselves, or who are just very introvert. And they might be totally happy with that. Why? Because they enjoy being alone. In this case they are alone but don’t feel lonely.
Loneliness is the mind thinking that there’s no one there who cares about you and I can assure you this isn’t the case. Yes, people run around and are busy with their own lives. But let me assure you, if each of the strangers on the street could read your thoughts and could really feel what you’re going through, they wouldn’t ignore you. They would be nice to you. It’s often us who don’t communicate clearly and aren’t courageous enough to say how we feel. And then we wonder why people misunderstand us and we blame everything on the external causes, instead of looking inside ourselves and check our own attitudes and thoughts. If you don’t do that, then projecting your faults on others is the quickest way to self-imposed isolation and ultimately illusory loneliness.
You are never alone! Remember that.
Let me use this for me very special day to say this one most important thing in this video: loneliness comes from an inner place of weakness. We all want to grab other people’s attention… okay I’m probably the wrong person to say that as I do seek attention, but for many other reasons… okay reset… we all want to get from relations with other people a lot and expect others to understand us. We very easily make fun of others who look different, who are not the way we are, who think and speak differently… we all somehow have this weird expectation that we are very reasonable and normal and right, and others are quirky and wrong. That’s the quickest way to separation and isolation. You don’t want that. If you think this way, then you come from a place of separation, from a place of weakness. You want to absorb people’s attention to feel yourself better while making others down - again - that’s the quickest way to separation and loneliness. Cause loneliness is at the end of the day the feeling of separation. Of god, this is getting dark… let's cheer up!
So all I’m trying to say is this: don’t come from this place of inner weakness where you try to grab people’s energy so that you can elevate yourself from your poor little self. That won’t work in the long term and you’ll end up disenchanted. Instead, make yourself independent of expectations and behaviours of others, and try to contribute to other people’s wellbeing first instead of expecting that others contribute to your wellbeing first.
Do you get that? Do you understand what I’m saying? I repeat again…
You have to make the first step by contributing to other people’s wellbeing everyday without expecting anything in return. That will make you independent of other people’s moods, opinions and you will notice that the little gestures of service every day will make you feel stronger with every little step. But this is a slow progression, and personal growth takes time. Actually, it takes the whole life to be fair.
Please come from a place of inner fullness by spreading your fullness with other people, by giving joy without expecting joy, by giving fun without expecting fun, by smiling at people without expecting them to smile back, by asking first without expecting to get an answer. That’s real inner independence and real strength. And such a person will never feel lonely, because everyday there’s just so much to do and you won’t have time to think about all that loneliness stuff and your own bullshit.
At the end of the day you need to know that although loneliness is an illusion, it can and always have a very strong and deep impact on everyone. There’s always a phase in life when you have to go through some kind of crisis, maybe identity crisis, maybe existential crisis, or maybe just a crisis of change… and this might be often followed by feelings of loneliness. Although loneliness is an illusion, it is a very powerful illusion and to the one experiencing it it feel totally real. That’s why it’s important that out of a crisis, out of an illusion personal growth can arise. There’s always the light at the end of the tunnel, but you need to go through the tunnel to reach the exit. And if you continue dwelling on your faults and playing the blaming games, you’re just staying in the tunnel for longer instead of moving towards the light as quickly as possible. So whatever the state you feel in, whatever the life situation you’re in, I want you to ask yourself this one big question: who am I in relation to that situation and how do I want to react. Remember it’s a choice you make consciously.
Yes, you make feel down. Yes, you might feel unsure. You might hesitate and feel overwhelmed. But also remember you’re not your feelings. Feelings is something you have, it’s not something that you are. What you are are the decisions you make. Not what you feel so superficially on a case to case basis.
So, having said that, please go out into the world… or rather please stay inside where you are, make the best out of it, remember to make conscious choices, resolutions, motivational thoughts, whatever works for you. Don’t yield to the situation as it is. Try to be the master of your joys and dramas. With such an attitude you won’t have the energy to feel lonely. You’ll just acknowledge that you’re by yourself, and your shift in perception will make you focus on all the few lovely people and friends and family who are only and always just one video call away from you. You might be alone right now, but you’re never lonely. Unless you’ll decide to feel this way.
Okay. I hope you found that useful and uplifting and motivational. I wish you a wonderful day. Now I’m gonna have another glass of wine.