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Being Alone is not Being Lonely

One of the most important restrictions of the COVID outbreak has been the request for social isolation. This was the way the world tried to control the pandemic before the vaccines even started to show up.

Of course, depending on what part of the earth you were, how long this isolation lasted, but, even today, our social interaction has its limitations. And for many, to find themselves alone has been a huge challenge, a threat.

We, humans, are a very social species. Our lives are built around our social interactions. We have evolved in groups; our civilization is based on our interactions. In fact, we usually enjoy the company of others, and we tend to feel strange, because we were raised so, when we do not have any other one around.

Alone

Although the terms lonely and alone are seen interchangeably in everyday conversation, today I would like to stop here and point out the differences between both. Alone means having no one else present. Alone means on one’s own.

The concept of being alone usually has a negative connotation, mainly in the occidental culture. The idea of being alone has a strong social stigma. Being alone seems to be wrong or, implies that you have a problem. The more “friends” you have, the healthier you are. If you have many relations, looks better. To be alone is seen as a sign of inadequacy. To be alone means you have a problem.

We have indeed all been forced to keep social distance, and, for many, this has meant to stay home and alone. To work alone from home. Work out alone, study alone…Elder people were especially encouraged to practice social distancing during this time due to their increased risk of severe illness. It is also true that this social distance has made people feel sad, bad, or lonely.

To be alone allows you to improve insight, self-awareness, to be alone can improve your creativity and confidence and help you recognize and regulate your emotions. During this outbreak, many have discovered they can do things they never did before. This has empowered some people. Some have even discovered the pleasure of being able to be with themselves.  

Loneliness

Loneliness is different. Loneliness implies that no matter if you are surrounded by people or not, you feel empty, sad, unhappy. Feeling lonely means no company, not even your own company, is fulfilling nor enough. «Loneliness is when we miss mattering to others».Loneliness, is subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack of companionship.

So, a person can be alone and not lonely and can be at a party, or in a couple and feel lonely. To make it short we could say there are two kinds of loneliness, social and emotional loneliness .How you feel when you re alone depends on you and not on the people around you..

How to Combat Loneliness While Being Alone in social isolation

The reality is that we will still have to deal with a little social isolation. Isolation is an objective state where the number of contacts you have can be counted..Not in the same way but, for a while, sotial isolation will still be suggested to try to control the pandemic. So yes,agian we will be spending more time alone. Some will learn to enjoy it and learn from being alone, others might feel lonely.

Tips on how to combat loneliness while being alone.

  • Understand the underlying causes for the symptoms you feel and then challenge your reactions.
  • Choose carefully what information you consume
  • Find a project that gives some sense of control 
  • Choose quality relations. Show empathy 
  • Use technology wisely. Keep in touch.

ASK FOR HELP

If you’re feeling lonely, speaking to a counsellor can help. Long-term loneliness can lead to several mental health issues. Experiencing a mental health problem isn’t easy – and it’s even harder going through it alone.

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