When was the last time you were alone, but didn’t feel lonely? There’s a difference between the two, you know: Loneliness is an emotion triggered by the gut feeling that something about you doesn’t quite fit someone else’s puzzle. Being alone, on the other hand, is a choice you make for yourself to be separate from others — family, friends, even strangers. But even though there’s a kind of stigma around the idea of hanging solo and taking a step back from being social, I think we could all benefit from learning how to change loneliness to solitude, especially if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable with being on your own more often than not. The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with spending time with yourself, and yourself alone. After all, if you can’t be friends with yourself, how can you honestly expect someone else to navigate that sort of relationship?
Having said that, it’s worth noting that I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that you have to love yourself unconditionally in order for someone to love you (and that's just my opinion, guys). However, I still think it's important to develop some level of friendship with yourself. For example, when I started working from home, I felt incredibly lonely, incredibly quickly. Not being in a crowded office space, and not having those face-to-face interactions with co-workers and my boss, was relieving for my introverted side, at least at first. The extroverted part, though, she missed the chatter and the company. But, continuing my career from the homestead was my decision — one of the best I’ve ever made for myself — so I knew I needed to learn how to be OK with being alone.
The bottom line is this: Being alone doesn’t have to feel so lonely; it can actually be pretty awesome and rewarding in terms of self-discovery. Plus, and not to sound too much like a preschool teacher, but sometimes, all it really takes is turning that frown upside down to change your perspective on things. Here’s how you can start looking at the negatives of loneliness as positives, and as things that will truly benefit your well-being.