Aloneness versus Loneliness
Choosing to be alone doesn’t mean you are lonely. There are many reasons we make the choices we do. Here are some of mine.
- Being chemically sensitive
2. Being empathic and getting overloaded easily
3. Feeling safe alone
4. Being an independent person
5. Being someone who does not enjoy superficial conversations
6. Having food allergies
Do I feel alone or lonely sometimes? Yes, I do, and that is usually around the holidays.
Today, as I mentioned, I do feel a bit lonely. Usually, I don’t. Something about the holidays says, “You must be with friends or family,” and it puts pressure on me because I don’t have that or don’t want that. No one has to buy into this social conditioning. Although I still find it challenging, social norms as we call them really don’t fit most people. But too many of us shape ourselves to fit into a construct that doesn’t work and leaves many of us feeling empty.
It is a choice to be alone, and I also find it challenging at times. Most people don’t understand when I say I am allergic to most fragrances. In such cases, staying home is much easier than offending someone and being exposed to potentially toxic perfume, scented candles, and scented laundry detergents. I can feel sick during and after such exposures.
Life is a mixed bag. Even before I became sensitive to chemicals and fragrances, I did things by myself a lot. I like it most of the time, even though I can feel lonely and long for company in short stints.
However, when you see someone who is alone, don’t assume they are lonely. You can also see if they want to engage in a bit of conversation. People who are alone a lot sometimes appreciate a short interaction with people. This can help people feel connected to the greater world even though they enjoy their aloneness. Test the waters if you are drawn to do so.
When in doubt with a friend or family member, ask. If they want to share, they will—and if not, at least you asked and cared to understand them more.
Let’s just say we are all different, and most of us don’t want others feeling sorry for us or projecting their stuff on our singleness, aloneness, or need for a lot of down time.