Are you lonely or are you alone?
They’re not the same thing, you know? Loneliness is painful and being alone doesn’t have to be.
The difference is, I suppose, choice. We may choose to be alone but we never choose loneliness. Those who are lonely are the ones crying out for human contact, begging for a companion that they just can’t seem to find.
I have been both alone and lonely. I enjoy my own company – in fact, I often prefer it. I am the first one to say that there is nothing wrong with being alone.
But, there is something terrible about being lonely. For those few of you who have been fortunate enough to never experience loneliness, let me attempt to explain it.
Loneliness is isolation. It is misery and grief and suffocation. Loneliness is wanting to share a part of yourself with the people around you but refraining for fear that you’ll be ridiculed or spurned.
I have been lonely and I have been alone. Being alone does little harm. Being lonely, on the other hand, can kill.
I wish I could hand everyone a quick-fix cure for loneliness. The sad truth is that I don’t have one. I can only tell you that when I’m at my worst, I pray. And even if it doesn’t make everything fine, even if it doesn’t fix me immediately, it does make things better.