Monday, October 10, 2005

No Vacancies on My Island

There's a big difference between being lonely and being alone.

I think we are sometimes socialized to believe that the two are a package deal--you can't have one without the other.

The problem is that there are many people throughout history who were alone. I'm not talking about people who lived a solitary life without children or spouses or some circle of friends; I'm speaking about a higher level of social belonging (or lack thereof).

You can not, however, find any evidence that they ever felt "lonely".

That's all I wanted to say about that.

14 Comments:

At 1:17 PM, Blogger trisha said...

I am lonely.

I am often alone, too, but I like alone.

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger sue said...

I am rarely lonely. I was an only child and learned to "entertain" myself (unlike most kids today that have to BE entertained.) I like it alone and have to make it a point to let my husband know it's not HIM I'm trying to get away from, I just like it alone...

 
At 11:39 PM, Blogger phd me said...

Agreed - lonely and alone are two different things, and society doesn't differentiate between the two. I enjoy my alone time; lonely is a bit harder sometimes. How do you handle the lonely days?

 
At 11:39 PM, Blogger phd me said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

This is going to sound really odd, but I don't ever remember feeling lonely--even when I had pushed everyone away and was, by all definition, alone. I've felt detached and I've been depressed, but I don't think I've ever felt lonely. Maybe it's because I grew up playing by myself (we had few neighbors). Maybe it's just something about me.

The concept of "lonely" is very interesting to me.

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger BrightStar said...

I am not alone very often, yet I feel lonely from time to time, even when I'm around people... hmm...

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

Great point, SFTR....it seems the lines between the two do get blurred but that is so not necessarily true.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Neil said...

Correct. some of my best times are spent alone.

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger ducklet said...

ack. i was all set to do this very clever little analogy. but i could not come up with a one word antonym for lonely.

does lonely not have an opposite? this might be the problem.

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

It's interesting -- when I have told past shrinks about being as alone as I am/have been -- they *always* assume that I have been very lonely. Like Sue, I'm an only kid - so being alone is just a part of my life's landscape. Loneliness is more of an infrequent thing. The two, however, are so often conflated.

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger trisha said...

I have a deep need to be understood, to be heard. I feel so lonely when I feel like no one gets it, whatever the it of the moment might be.

I feel onely now because I have a son who cannot speak and I worry that I am screwing that up, and I have no one to talk to about it. And, well, my isolation. I keep meaning to blog about isolation.

Oh, blahblah.

 
At 5:34 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

Trisha...yes...YES! When I am struggling to explain something, when I am presenting my case/point/feelings on a matter, I never care if the recipient agrees with me, I only want my voice to be heard - to be understood. That has to be the deepest desire of the human soul.

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

Trisha and Jessica,
I can't see how anyone could fail to understand you two. You two always seem to lay it all out there in such an honest manner--if someone doesn't "get" you, they have problems.

Trisha,
I don't know a lot about your isolation, but I do think that your state/area is not necessarily the best place for someone as creative and expressive as yourself. Also, I think you are doing a tremendous job with R.

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger trisha said...

Thanks, Rox. I needed that.

Made my day.

 

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