There is a difference between the two but unfortunately it’s rather common for loneliness to bleed into lonesomeness. And actually by definition, you see each word listed as a synonym for the other, but yet they’re worlds apart. Let me explain…well being alone is to be in solitude. Solitude could be (and should be) a time of renewing your mind, thinking and discovering your inner thoughts and processing your desires. Think of it as being free within yourself. When you’re alone you can take your mind anywhere you want to go. Two of the most powerful things you can do when you’re alone is PRAY and/or READ. Praying in solitude allows for ultimate intimacy between you and God and prepares you to focus on each word in an environment of peace. And reading in solitude creates this world of peaceful isolation and calm, no matter where you are. In both situations you allow yourself to disconnect from everything and tune into yourself.
ON THE FLIP SIDE-when you’re lonely there is a longing for the presence of someone else. The interesting thing about being lonely is that you could actually be alone or with someone and still harbor feelings of sadness and longing.
The difference is that with being lonely you feel at a disadvantage, you feel as if you’re missing out…that you’re incomplete and that can lead to desperation. The great thing about loneliness is that we usually know exactly why we feel lonely (unlike its cousin depression, where you can feel down and not even know why.) The cure for loneliness is love: the attachment to it, the confidence in knowing that someone has it for you, the security in knowing you have support.
And that’s the difference!
The next time that you’re alone and feeling lonely (or with company-physically or emotionally as is friendships and relationships and feeling lonely) I challenge you to do this:
1. Close your eyes.
2. Think of the last person you communicated with and how they made you feel.
3. Consider the role this person plays in your life and reflect on the weight you give to their presence. Ask yourself, “did I leave that interaction feeling accepted and loved or rejected?” If you felt loved, drawn that person in closer; they are the very reason why you should not feel loneliness. If you felt rejected and know that it’s a common feeling with this person, reevaluate.
4. Reflect on the things and people that you love and cherish and understand that no one person or interaction should be great enough to push you into a place of sadness and loneliness. If you find yourself beaten down by consistent feelings of rejection RUN towards lonesomeness…you are missing a step in personal self-fulfillment and you need more alone time to build yourself up.
Then and only then will you realize that you have the power to shift that feeling of loneliness into a place of simple lonesomeness…where you can think clearly and appreciate yourself.
Hope this helps.