There are two types of loneliness. There is being alone and there is being lonely. For a good portion of my life, I saw myself as living as one who was truly and terribly lonely.
I assume many of you can relate to this.
As it varies from person to person, we all go through these off periods in our lives where we begin to question the validity of our relationships with other people.
"Do they really like me or are they simply pitying me?"
"Can I truly believe these people when they say they love me?"
"Am I honestly someone they think about when I'm not around?"
These thoughts, along with countless others, all come to us at some point or another - and honestly, it is for good reason. We all have this natural tendency within us that craves fellowship with others; we want to form relationships, we want to know others, and we want them to know us. Companionship seems to be hard-wired into our psyche. However, often times this can become our obsession; where we constantly need to be surrounded by people and reassured that we are worth something. We take this really good thing and twist it to make it rather unhealthy for us. I can attest. There is a battle within me that honestly craves a confirmation of my worth from others.
Without it, I honestly felt lonely - so much so that I'd begin to conjure up lies that I was worthless. If my friends were not there, around the clock, then were they really friends at all? I came to adopt this demented outlook and it was slowly destroying me.
I could never be alone - or at least - I could never be alone and be productive and happy. I craved attention and sought for it anywhere it was offered.
That is no way to live, my friends.
Honestly, we can never really avoid points of being lonely; it seems to just be a part of being alive. Yet, I have found that there is a pretty big distinction between being alone and loneliness.
The dictionary describes being alone as "having no one else present" whereas lonely is described as being "sad because one has no friends or company"
Now for me, I came to realize that in those moments where I felt abandoned and without anyone who cared me, I was simply alone. No one else was present and therefore, I confused my state with loneliness.
Truth is, I have the privilege of calling some of the greatest people in the world my friends. People who I would do anything for, without hesitation and I know they feel the same about me. However, because of circumstances, we simply don't see each other as often as we would like to - but that doesn't change the fact that they are just a call or text away.
I know everyone's story is different, and I do not wish to invalidate what you feel. I just want to make sure that we really do take everything into perspective. We have developed a culture where we thrive off of what other people think about us. It is all about how many friends we have and how often they are around us - and if we lack in them surrounding us 24/7, it makes us worthless.
That is not the case. Don't confuse being alone with loneliness. There are people out there who love you, care for you, and want nothing but the best for you. You just have to stop and look. Even if they are not exactly there in that moment, I ask that you look beyond that.
You're cared about. Your presence is valuable. Never forget that.