By Motlagae Konyana
Feeling lonely is becoming more common than we realise and it is no longer seen as a female problem only. More males are no longer shy to admit that they are feeling lonely and alone. Being alone and lonely can occur in both our personal and professional worlds. It does however seem more prevalent in our personal lives.
Is there a difference between being alone and feeling lonely, and how do you know which one you’re feeling? Can you feel both at the same time?
“Being alone in life can be a practical reality for someone as they navigate through different spaces. It can also be a feeling they have about the how they find themselves showing up as they navigate those spaces. The former does not necessarily result in the latter,” says Personal Development Coach Thina Ngcingwana.
Ngcingwana shares that while a person can be alone in physical spaces, it doesn’t mean they are lonely. They can however experience feelings of loneliness when despite being around others; they are emotionally disconnected from them and therefore feel alone.
You should understand what is causing your loneliness. Have you recently been through a terrible breakup? Have you lost someone who was special to you? Have you been so focused on one area of your life like climbing the corporate ladder that you’ve lost touch with others?
It’s great if you like to be alone, but what happens if you don’t?
Here some options to consider to connect with others:
- Having a relationship with self and connecting with yourself before you try and connect with others is very important. Discover and reconnect with yourself again, identify some of the things that used to bring you joy, or things that you’ve wanted to always try but haven’t been able to do.
- Apart from connecting with yourself, connect with other people that you care about. Family or friends are our support structures and provide us with a sense of belonging, being loved and valued. This plays a pivotal role in connecting.
- Try something new; a hobby or something you will enjoy that occupies your time. By putting yourself out there, you open yourself up to opportunities to meet like-minded people.
It can be scary to try and bring people into your space when you had no people in your space before, it might be daunting however these minor steps may help you connect with people again
The important thing to remember is that being alone and lonely is a choice, and that you’re only as alone or lonely as you let yourself be. It’s great if you like to be alone, but what happens if you don’t? Let people into your world, don’t shut them out. It’s okay to be alone for short periods of time, but when it becomes an every day thing, it’s not good for your mental and emotional well being. Be mindful that you don’t disregard the very important relationship one must have with themselves.