Is there any goodness in loneliness? Most of us dread the thought of loneliness and generally, loneliness is considered to be a negative feeling. But, should we dread the thought of loneliness? Is there something about loneliness that is a positive for us? I think so!
Before I go any further with this, let me make clear that I have never experienced severe loneliness. I don’t want anyone to think that I have spent long periods of time without having the company of another. But, I also think that a person can suffer from loneliness while constantly being in the company of many people.
I have worked with people who were in the company of dozens of people everyday and were extremely lonely. I once knew a person who lived in a group home where she saw and interacted with housemates everyday while still constantly suffering from loneliness. The point I’m trying to make is that I think loneliness is a mental feeling that isn’t necessarily dependent upon the lack of company.
You see, there is only one person you will always be with and that person is you. Each person will be with her/himself every minute of everyday in her/his life. Of course, I started this with a focus on loneliness. There is only one person we can count on always being with us, and when that person is the only one with us, we are, by all accounts, alone! (Last March, I did a post entitled, Who Do You Have To Live With?, in which I pursued this line of thought a little “deeper.” Please click on the title to visit that post.)
It is inevitable that we will be alone. What isn’t inevitable is our attitude when we are alone.
I think the attitude we have, when we feel we are alone, determines whether we suffer from loneliness or enjoy the alone feeling. If we have a negative attitude, then we will feel sorry for ourselves, and most likely act in a negative manner. That negative action might have us running away and into relationships for the sole purpose of not having that alone feeling. Or, the negative action might find us drowning ourselves in self-pity. The point is, we must take control of our own attitude.
I define attitude as a mental feeling. This attitude of loneliness can be a positive attitude if we recognize it as an experience that allows us to discover who we are, find our focus, and know ourselves. We need times of being alone, or loneliness, in order to develop a true sense of self. With a true sense of self, we will be able to change ourselves and decide to grow into the loving and social person we each want to be.
It is difficult to reflect on who you are unless you have a time in which you are without distraction. Being alone and confronting loneliness can help you reflect on your life and develop a sense of self based on reality instead of dreams. Confronting loneliness and discovering our true sense of self, is another example of helping ourselves make our thinking fit reality instead of trying to make reality fit our thinking.
Make loneliness into a positive that helps you know your true self. Knowing your true self will give you the confidence to meet life as a person who is comfortable with being alone with yourself and/or in the company of anyone.
Only you alone can change you. Only you alone can decide to grow. Only you alone can think for you. Being alone can be a lonely experience, but whether it is positive or negative is up to you.
What’s good about being alone?