“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” Hunter S Thompson
If you are reading this, chances are that you know what it is like to feel lonely. The stereotype of being single are generally categorized into one group: loneliness. Being lonely is that kind of aching that resonates in your chest. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or whom you’re with, it’s impossible to shake that feeling. Being lonely comes with so many side effects: memories, insomnia, and confusion. Loneliness encapsulates the best parts of your life and forces you to notice their profound absence. Loneliness makes you wonder why you? Why haven’t you had a simple stroke of luck? It is that prominent, gaping hole in your life that just can’t seem to be filled regardless of what you do. Loneliness comes with settling for less than you deserve. It’s incurable by company, it swells in the presence of friends. Loneliness is the isolation that comes with nursing a feeling unreturned — an expectation unmet.
Being alone is different. Being alone is a state of being. Loneliness is a state of mind. When you’re alone you are forced to realize all the things about yourself that you couldn’t when you spent your days about someone else. Being alone is taking the time to really think about what you want from someone the next time around. Being alone is reading a book, taking a long walk on the beach, having a delicious coffee and enjoying every single minute of it. It is buying a single ticket to a foreign film you know absolutely nothing about. it is taking a trip exactly the way you want to do it. Being alone is doing things by yourself, but also doing them for yourself.
Sometimes being alone crosses paths with being lonely. You see a couple across the street and their happiness radiates, or a young family out for a stroll and you remember the days when that used to be you. For a brief moment that dull feeling aches in your chest, but it doesn’t stay.
Being alone can be the most empowering experience of your life. If you let the loneliness consume you, you’re going to lose the chance to figure yourself out. We can’t allow ourselves to be defined by the people we surround ourselves with, our relationship status, weekend plans or the silence of our mobile phone. Loneliness isn’t about being in a relationship or being single. We are always trying to find the balance between being alone and being lonely.