Thursday, April 17, 2008

The State of Loneliness...

Oh yes, the eternal, existential struggle of being "lonely" vs. "alone". Throughout my life, I often find myself at my loneliest even when I'm in the company of other people, even at parties or when I'm hanging out with my closest friends.....even when I'm definitely not alone.

I think that what truly makes someone lonely is when they are missing or longing for something internally that cannot be filled by something (or someone) on the outside. This need manifests itself as a feeling of emptiness within the pit of our stomach, an unsatiated desire that overtakes our soul...... regardless of the company we keep.

Taken from The Web of Loneliness:

Do you know the difference between aloneness and loneliness?
Yes, believe it or not there is a small but noticeable difference between aloneness and loneliness. To be alone is to by oneself. You may or may not FEEL lonely when you are alone, but the only important condition for being alone is that there is no one else around you. To be lonely, is to suffer the feelings of loneliness, to want people, social contact, and yet be unable to get any. Given this fact, it is quite possible to feel lonely when you are alone, and it is also to feel lonely when you are NOT alone. Many people report feelings of being lonely in a crowd, that even though they are surrounded by people, they still feel lonely. On the other hand, there are those who have written about the virtue of being alone. Hermits, monks and other religious persons treasure their time alone for contemplation and communication with the Higher Powers. Even in our daily lives we should practice spending some time alone, going over the events of the day. Aloneness is both an important and integral part of our lives. So don't get the two mixed up!

I don't feel lonely very often vs. I feel lonely all the time.
You can think of loneliness being experienced on a continuum with two extremes. On one extreme, a person experiences loneliness all the time, as an inescapable part of their existence. On the other extreme is a person who rarely experiences loneliness. If you are the kind of person that rarely experiences loneliness, when you do experience loneliness, we call that type of loneliness state loneliness. This is loneliness that is generated more by the environment than the person. So you probably will experience loneliness only when it's a long rainy day and you have nothing to do, or you go on vacation and you are missing your friends at home or something like it. The loneliness is generated by the circumstance you are in, and usually doesn't last very long (a day, a week). If however, you are the kind of person that experiences loneliness most of the time, then the loneliness you experience we call trait loneliness. This is type of loneliness that follows you everywhere. The loneliness is generated from the person, although particular circumstances might aggravate your experience of loneliness. So regardless of the situation or circumstance, when you think about it, you are still lonely.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was searching through google for images, and somehow came across your blog. I've been going through a rather hard time in my life recently. I am a senior in highschool and have experienced chronic depression for 7 years now. I almost killed myself but by the grace of some unknown power I was saved the last moment. In my seventeen years of life I have been searching for something of meaning. I've never felt as lonely as I do when I'm with my "closest" friends. To have no one to whom you can tell everything is a horrible burden to which I never wish anyone befall. Loneliness is not only an emptiness of the soul but a driving force that requires a struggle to overcome. Life is beautiful, I know it has to be somehow. But till I find out how, thank you for your words of wisdom. What the caterpillar calls death, the master calls a butterfly.