I’m jumping around a bit. I’m not going to pretend that I learned this lesson my second semester of college. I actually am still learning this right now as a I type, but I figured I should be transparent and share one of the biggest heartaches I’ve had to deal with in college.
I’d like to think I’m an extrovert. Some of you who know me personally will say DUH. Some who know about theory and all of that might not put me completely in that category. Either way is fine.
You see, I get my energy from people. If you ever wonder how I’m so motivated ? I’m constantly inspired, and I use that to push myself and keep myself going.
However, when I am alone ? That energy isn’t always there. And when I first came to college being alone as in literally not being near anyone, was hard for me. I propelled myself into different organizations and dived full head, full heart into situations that would assure I was always around people. I’ll shed more light on how that didn’t completely work out later on…
The definition of this word for me is literal. Meaning I see being alone as in having no one around me. Simple. I try not place adjectives into it and make it about emotion because I’ve learned that that is what separates being alone from being lonely.
You know when people say, “I need to be alone” ? They don’t want to be around anyone. And so I pull my grasp of being alone from that.
This is where the emotion comes in. Being lonely is a feeling, not a physical state necessarily. Lonely is the longing or desire not to be alone. This distinction is really important.
I’m not ashamed to admit that the past three years I’ve felt lonely. A lot. As someone who gathers energy from others, and someone who has a big heart and longs for companionship, being alone isn’t a lot of fun for me. However, when I realized there was a distinction, something within me changed.
You see, my heart wants what it wants sometimes. My mind and heart go back and forth all the time. However, they both benefit from the fact that being alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely. And as someone who feels lonely more times than none, it’s good to know that I’m not really alone half the time I feel lonely….I just long for something else ( more in future post) or happen to be seriously in my feelings at that moment.
Take this for example. Let’s say you care for someone who lives miles and miles away from you. They care for you back. Since they are far away, you (unless with friends or family etc) are alone (in the literal sense) when not with any one. You might even feel lonely because they or friends or family are not around you….but that does not mean you truly are alone. I think it is possible to feel loneliness and not be alone, sometimes our hearts like to trick us into feeling that way, and it isn’t necessarily true. And for my fellow Christ-followers, we all know, or at least should know that our God is always and forever with us, so we are never ever ever alone.
BUT, we still feel that way. Why?!
My answer to that is, I have no idea. I will say though, that I think the more we come to terms with the difference between being alone and lonely the stronger our hearts will get. The more confident we will be to handle and breakdown what we’re feeling instead of running away from them and simply chalking it off to loneliness. Loneliness can be a series of other things, you could be homesick, love sick, angsty, frustrated, and sad and just lump it into the “lonely” category.
Don’t do that.
Address your emotions. Tear em apart the way they tear you apart sometimes.
College has this tendency of making you think a lot….but you’re not supposed to only think about your books. As you grow and develop as a person, your emotions start yelling at you, they’re in your face as well as all over it somedays. I think being alone and loneliness are two concepts that hit you a lot in college. As I grow more comfortable in embracing and understanding the two and their differences…. I can honestly say my heart is grateful for it.
I am by no means an expert, but I hope this helps shed light on a lesson that everyone experiences differently. Don’t let confusion about whether you’re actually alone or just feeling lonely stop you from living your life. Why? Because no matter how strong you are, they’re a part of it. And the more you realize that, the stronger you get and the better you’ll get to know your own self.