I discovered the benefits of being alone as a young child. Oddly I often misbehaved so I would be sent to my room. On the second floor of our Cape Cod style home I had the most beautiful view of a tall Mimosa tree with the most beautiful pink flowers and the largest lilac bush I’ve ever seen. I’d open the window and close my eyes while breathing in that heavenly lavender and my little world was perfect. Lying on my bed with a notebook and pen or reading the latest Nancy Drew mystery, uninterrupted, was pure bliss.
People in my life often assumed I was lonely and sad. My answer has always been, “Have you ever been in a room, crowded with people, yet felt so alone?
Being alone is often mistakenly confused with being lonely. The truth is, being alone simply means there is no one else around. Think of the benefits. For me the first thing that comes to mind is the bathroom. Who wants company? While I’m cleaning my house, please get out of my way. When working on something that requires concentration there’s nothing better than peace and quiet.
Our lives can get so messy physically, mentally and spiritually, and it’s impossible to be happy when we are in the middle of chaos.
Getting away by ourselves, if only for a short time to clear our heads, can do wonders for our overall well being.
It’s getting harder and harder to carve out that desperately needed time, alone, because we’re always connected electronically.
On the other hand loneliness is an unhappy emotional state. One doesn’t have to be alone to be lonely. Grief comes to mind when I think of loneliness. A loved one is gone. Whether they’ve passed away or a relationship ended, we miss them so much that our hearts actually hurt. It’s impossible for us to share that deep sadness with someone else. Often when we’re grieving others leave us alone, not because they don’t care, but because they know there’s nothing they can say or do to ease our loneliness.
It’s up to us to decide when we’re ready to let others back into our world.
Either way our internal happiness is ultimately determined by the relationship we have with ourselves. Until we can thrive on, and find strength and serenity in our aloneness, we will never be able to find it with someone else.
Recently I left home without my phone. If I’d gone back for it, I would have been late. It wasn’t long before I felt alone and lonely. Taking a deep breath I looked up, and there on the side of the road was a beautiful Mimosa tree with the prettiest pink flowers. I was instantly reminded of the joy of being alone.
When it comes down to it, we’re only as alone or as lonely as we choose to be or choose not to be.