Being Alone Is Anything But Lonely

It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts. ~K.T. Jong

I am a person who talks a lot. Yet, I crave silence. I enjoy being with other people, but I desire to be alone. I need solitude to ponder and reflect. I guess I like spending time with myself.

I haven’t always been this way. I used to want to be in the midst of people and activity. I think I was afraid to get to know myself. I secluded myself when I was melancholy or wanted self pity. Those hours were not productive, except for some fairly gruesome poetry.

I’ve have always felt at home with nature, whether I was in the woods or by the river. There is something sacred about it. The silence speaks to me and I am connected to a force much greater than myself. My husband is drawn to nature as well. One of the first things I admired about him was his comfort with solitude. Even now, we can be together and be perfectly content in silence, and we can be tranquil in nature together.

We are not total recluses. We are not opposed to seeing people or attending public functions, but our preference is being at home or out in nature. After our work week of dealing with people, we welcome the peace the weekend brings us. I suppose the quiet unwinds us and washes away the stress of the week. Nature helps us get in touch with our inner selves.

I think the ability to function in a crowd or alone is an important concept in living. It helps us define who we are to ourselves and to others. We are often very different people in the public eye than we are inside. Often, people actually have no idea who they are. It is an intimacy not everyone is comfortable exploring. But it is only in solitude that the inner voice speaks. I’ve found that the inner voice that I feared so long actually flows with wisdom I don’t hear when I am in the chaos of the world.

Being alone does not equate loneliness. There have been times in my life that I have felt lonely. I’ve needed to share myself with others, and I’ve wanted someone to understand me. The difference is that being alone can be comforting. I can be by myself and not yearn for someone to be in my presence. One could also be in the center of a large gathering and still feel lonely. I think being alone is a state of being while loneliness is a feeling.

While I do not profess to be a social butterfly, I am not quite a hermit either. I have a network of friends and family, but also a rich inner life. I consider my life to be balanced. I take care of my own needs, and have enough of myself left over to nurture others. I think that if I did not take the time to ponder and reflect, I would become self-absorbed in the daily routines of life.

Solitude shows us what should be; society shows us what we are. ~Robert Cecil


26 thoughts on “Being Alone Is Anything But Lonely

  1. Solitude is extremely important to me. It’s where I go when I have a problem I need to resolve. It’s where I go when I’m sad and need to right myself. It’s where I hear the silence, the comfort of the birds twittering or the breeze blowing through the leaves. With people I love is where I go for laughter, for serious discussion, for sharing. Both are necessary to my life.

  2. my husband travels for his job, but for various reasons, he has not been traveling for the last few months. When I crave alone time, I usually crave it in my own house. This morning I almost shoved him out the door and onto the golf course so that I could have a few hours….alone.

  3. “Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich

    Good post, suzikate.

  4. How funny–I’ve been working on a post about the same thing…those who can be alone and even crave being alone, and those who can’t be alone even for a second. Sounds like you have hit a good balance!

  5. I love the quote Cindy posted. Very apt. I like solitude but not loneliness. I understand completely how you feel. I would much rather enjoy solitude than be with someone with whom I feel utterly alone.

  6. I have spent much time alone over the last few years and have experienced much loneliness with it. I realize that part of that has more to do with the fact that I have needed to get to know who I am, what “my” needs, wants and desires are and being comfortable within my own skin. It is a process that I cherish, even while it scares me. On the flip side, I have also found it challenging to re-enter society and try to feel comfortable there as well. Once I am comfortable and content with me, I know that I will be able to go everywhere and be anywhere as “me”.

  7. I used to hate when the house was empty and could only take about two hours by myself. Now, some of my favorite days are the ones where the house is empty and I’m alone for hours! Well, unless you count the cats. Lol.

    And, I too, have felt alone even when someone else is with me.


  8. I think that the balance between solitude and interaction with others is the perfect place to be. Some people can’t stand being on their own – just like you said, they’re afraid of getting to know themselves or they don’t like entertaining themselves, so they look for other people constantly. The opposite, the hermit, lacks the insight that one gets when one is surrounded by others and isn’t focusing completely on the self.
    I commend you for finding that balance!

  9. I really enjoy my quiet time. I absolutely have to have it to function properly. It was my biggest fear about marrying Jason, but he understands and gives me a wide berth.

    As always you speak my heart language. 🙂

  10. I like to be by myself at times but hate feeling lonely, nature is a great place to be by yourself and you will never feel lonely there as there is so much of Gods wonders to absorb while there.

    Great Post Suzi

  11. I often find myself thinking that the advent of cell phones has great reduced the ability of society to be alone. Since we are no longer “forced” to sit quietly on the bus or stand in line by ourselves we no longer are able to practice being alone. No one is ever alone with themselves and their thoughts because they can ALWAYS be on the phone talking to someone, or playing a game, or watching TV or a movie. I believe that this will have a bad effect on society as a whole. As you state you consider your life to be balanced.

    I think there needs to be that balance which you have achieved and society has lost.

  12. SO TRUE!! My husband and I like to spend our time alone together either at home or out in nature (although I have to admit it’s been a long time since we’ve had the chance to go on a hike), but we aren’t recluses either. You’re right, there is definitely a difference between being lonely and being alone.

  13. I can relate to all of your thoughts here. I live a life alone these days … and loneliness stops in for a visit now and then .. but, like you … being alone can be a very special time. Here is a quote I like: “Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.” ~Paul Johannes Tillich, The Eternal Now

  14. Not many people get my wanting to be by myself often. But I say, it’s when I’m alone that I get a chance to pray, to give thanks, to read, to write, and to listen to my heart. I totally hear you friend, and I can also hear myself in your words. I like making friends, and I can do excellent social relations and lead group efforts. But I also like and need my time alone to take care of my soul.
    Beautiful, beautiful post.

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