#30 - Are you afraid of being alone or of being lonely?

I was part of an interesting conversation recently. The discussion revolved around several single people in their 50’s and their various comfort levels with being alone and being lonely. While almost everyone around the table agreed that they were comfortable being alone, none would acknowledge that they were lonely. Judging by the amount of alcohol that was being consumed by a couple of the people at the table, my guess is that they were medicating their pain of loneliness.


I am not a counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist but sometimes it is not hard to see when people are self medicating with alcohol or drugs. Many times these are ways of temporarily masking deeper issues. Unfortunately, the issues are still there after the effects of drugs and alcohol wear off.


Being alone should be comfortable most of the time and can actually be healthy. Being alone is a great time to be introspective, think about life, and listen to God. Excessive alone time can lead to unhealthy anti-social behavior. There has to be a balance between being alone and being around others.


Being lonely on occasion is okay. In fact it is normal. At times we all desire the companionship of a mate when we are not in a relationship. Loneliness can become an issue if you dwell on it for long periods of time. How long is too long? Most professionals I have talked to will say it varies from person to person, but if it starts lasting several months, you may want to seek help.


Being alone and being lonely are okay in moderation. If you are having trouble with either one, there are a variety of ways to get past them. One of the most effective ways to combat loneliness is to do something for someone else. Volunteer for a charitable organization. Become involved at church. Join a social group that does something you are interested in. These are just a few ideas. I’m sure you can think of a lot more.


If loneliness persists and you are unable to make it go away on your own, please seek help from a qualified professional. You deserve a great, healthy and happy life.