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When Life Has You Feeling Alone

It’s alarming the number of adults confessing to being lonely. And they’re not all single. Some are married or in a committed relationship, and others have left a combative relationship. Many times, I believe these folks have a tough time distinguishing between loneliness and being alone.

I was among the loneliness group at one time. Any time I was alone, I immediately considered myself lonely, so I would pull out my phone and start calling friends and my children alike for companionship. Then I’d find myself overwhelmed from too much interaction and pull away abruptly for some quiet time.

What I didn’t know at the time is that being alone has many benefits. First, there is that element of self-awareness. You have the opportunity to revisit your likes and quirky interests you most definitely had to let go of when you were in a relationship or raising kids. After years of alone time, I’ve come to understand what a wonderful feeling it is to wake up and have all this time to yourself to pursue your own interests.

Other benefits to alone time include having the opportunity to create your own schedule and routine, coming home and leaving the house as I want to and when I want to, cleaning and washing for myself. What a wonderful feeling it is to finish one small load of laundry, instead of three or even six.

At a time when the kids have left the house or you’re without a companion, now is the time to discover yourself. To relive those moments in life you had to compromise because you felt compelled for whatever reason to adapt to other pursuits. It is a time of discovery and renewal.

I’m not sure when it was ingrained in our heads that we had to constantly be committed to be happy. In fact, research shows the opposite: it is the committed folks who are lonely and frustrated with having to dedicate so much of their time and energy to others. So if you’re out there and alone – or even lonely – grab a pen and paper, or just use your Notes app on your phone, and start listing all the wonderful goals you’d like to pursue. Then go ahead and chase those goals. You’ll find yourself recharged, grateful, and content that for once in a very long time you’ve had the opportunity to focus only on you.

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