In the blue corner, tipping the scale toward emotional maturity and self-awareness, we have Alone! His strengths are self-sufficiency, fortitude, and forcing you to think about uncomfortable things. His weaknesses are teamwork and being a source comfort when you’re down. Aaaand in the red corner, weighing in at one bucket of tears, is Lonely! He may not be a crowd pleaser, but he has a staggering record. His strengths are sapping motivation and convincing us we are not good enough without someone else. His weakness is never being of benefit to anyone in the history of mankind. Who will win the epic battle? Only you can decide.
In my last post, “Should I Get Back With My Ex?”, I mentioned the concepts of being alone versus being lonely. Today, I tell you this: A) they are not the same thing, and B) they do not always go together. Being alone is simple: no one else is around. That’s not inherently bad! Being lonely means being sad that you’re alone. It’s never good when sadness is the main characteristic of your state of being. The question is: can you, yes you, be alone without being lonely?
Not sure? Test yourself by taking You on a date. For a full list of you-date rules, see Challenge #3 on my personal blog, I Dare You: 52 Challenges. Going on a date with yourself is kind of like meditating. A lot of ridiculous, self-conscious thoughts may pass through your head, but if so, just acknowledge them and move on. It gets easier and more enjoyable the more often you do it.
I have found that the best cure for loneliness is distraction. Just do anything (ideally things that are legal and maybe even productive) to keep your hands busy and your mind off whomever you are missing. On the flip side, the best part of being okay all alone is not feeling the need to be distracted. It takes a mature soul to truly appreciate solitude.
I’m not suggesting that we all become monks or drink the Kool-Aid or spend every extra moment seeking a blissful, existential state of mind-altering meditation; however, being okay with ourselves makes us better, happier people all around. And frankly, I think we can all agree that this world can use as many good (or at least better), happy people as we can give it.
The self-confidence and self-awareness it takes to simply be alone will help you in your dating life, your professional life, your friendships. So, I challenge you to be alone sometimes and be okay with it. If you disagree, give me one good reason why. If you agree, let us know what you like to do to make sure Alone beats the crap out of Lonely.