Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Lonely VS Alone?

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”- Robin Williams as Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad (2009)

With the recent devastating news of Robin Williams this quote has been flooding social media for all to think about. Was Robin Williams right in his quote about loneliness? 

Firstly being alone and being lonely are not the same thing. Many times when I was a child, I would see an older man sitting having coffee or lunch alone and would automatically assume he was lonely. Thoughts that ran through my mind during those moments - 'His wife has just died and he has no friends' 'He probably has no children or they don't bother with him' 'I will never let my dad have lunch alone'. 

But the things I never thought about. 'He has just spent all morning with his grandchildren, playing in the garden and wants five minutes to unwind' 'He enjoys his own company and wants some quiet time to read his paper'. I always assumed that people that were on their own, were lonely. 

Until now, when I learned to love being alone and I never feel lonely. Up until recently I have always filled my time with other people, made sure I always had some social activity to fulfil so I didn't end up alone but I was bored, my days were filled with the same conversations, the same day to day activities. I didn't like eating my lunch alone and I would never go anywhere alone. But now, I am trying it out. 

My first steps were to have lunch alone, and by alone I mean in a room for one hour with no social network and no phone. How many people do that these days? How many people go anywhere without a phone? 
Eating lunch on my own without a phone has become my relaxation time, my time to chill out with no social networks, no messaging, no human contact, just me and a small room. You should try it, just switch your phone off for a day and see how many 'important' messages or phone calls you miss. I can tell you, not many. Have you ever thought about your priorities? Ignoring the person thats right in front of you because you're messaging or commenting on someone status? We live in a world where nobody is ever truly alone because we constantly have social networks to speak to. 

Have you ever been in a room full of people but felt totally lonely? We have all heard that expression, and we have probably all asked ourselves this question a 1000 times. Why is it that I am standing here with these people but I feel like I am alone? Is it because they don't understand me? Do we have nothing in common? 
The difference between being alone and being lonely is so small its hard to differentiate. 

I knew somebody that said they enjoyed their own company and enjoyed being alone but then constantly claimed they were lonely. How can you enjoy being alone but feel lonely? If you enjoy being alone then surely you don't feel lonely? Somewhere something wasn't right with what this person was telling me. And after extensive research online and a lot of Blogs later I came to realise that this person didn't enjoy being alone, they enjoyed being away from people that did not comfort them. for example, I did not comfort this person, I did not give them the attention they craved so much which was making them feel lonely. 

Some people genuinely enjoy their own company and being alone and some people constantly yearn for someone to be near them. But surely the person that stops them feeling lonely will eventually leave and they will forever be in this lonely cycle? 

To experience things alone means that those experiences were not as great? This question is very vague, some things you have to experience with others, they are created to experience with others, But most things are here for us to learn and weather that means doing them alone or doing them with someone else the experience remains the same. 

My next Post will be about experiencing an exhibition alone. Having never been somewhere alone before, I am very much looking forward to experiencing the freedom of doing my own thing for the whole day, this is very daunting but I am feeling positive. 

I will write to say how my experience was, but for now, try being alone for a day. Leave that phone at home and be alone. Find a positive state of mind and enjoy your own company. You will be surprised at how much you learn about yourself and how many different subjects you find interesting. 

Just because I am eating my lunch alone, it doesn't mean I am lonely. Don't end up with people that make you feel alone, go out and meet people that make your life feel full. 

I do believe Robin's quote was correct. It is worse to end up with people that make you feel all alone because it creates sadness which in turn creates lonliness. 

Learn to Love Being Alone.

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