Are You Lonely Or A Loner?
It’s been a while that I have found a problem with people using terms like “loneliness” and “alone”. I mean not all of the people using them, but the majority of them. People often interchangeably use those two words, and often out of fashion. This not only creates confusion between the meanings of the two, but also dilutes their seriousness. So, let’s understand the fine line of distinction between the two and dive deep into these concepts.
What is Loneliness?
We consider loneliness as an emotional state of mind that arises from a perceived sense of isolation (mentally). Because it has a negative impact on us, people frequently see it unfavourably. The drawbacks include sensations of emptiness, exclusion, unwantedness, etc.
Who is a Loner?
A loner is somebody who is generally accompanied by oneself and doesn’t feel the need to get other’s company. They love to be by themselves. This state of being alone and enjoying one’s own company is synonymous with “solitude”.
Is there any link between the two?
The concepts of loneliness and being alone might sound similar but there’s a fine line between them. Although most people think being alone is a good thing, most people see loneliness as a negative effect. While depending upon the personality of a person, being alone can also be negative. The background studies show that there are multiple types of loner personality which can be positive or negative. While the types of loneliness suggest only negative feelings of isolation. Both loneliness and solitude are subjective concepts and can vary from person to person.
These two being contrasting concepts, leads to polarity among people. While solitude seekers take great pride in considering themselves as so, lonely people feel the exact opposite. Some even get confused between the two, and end up wrongly labeling themselves and others.
Introverts are often seen as loners. Extroverts are often seen to suffer from loneliness when they lack that social stimulation. But this doesn’t guarantee any rigidness of any personality type. An introvert can equally feel lonely at some point of time. Likewise, an extrovert can seek solitude according to their need.
Finding a Balance
Whether you’re lonely or a loner, extremes of either of them create problems. You can still feel lonely when you’re surrounded by a lot of people. On the other hand, you can still be a loner even after having loving relationships with others. We are sociable creatures and a minimum amount of social interaction is necessary in any case.
In fact, solitude often leads to creative thinking and more productivity which loneliness often doesn’t. And since none of these guarantee permanence, a loner can feel loneliness and a lonely person can become a loner.
The causes of loneliness can be varied and often roots back to factors like- culture, hereditary, society, gender, loss, etc. On the other hand, solitude is often considered as a choice and is often intentional. Over the ages, philosophers, sages, artists, researchers have remained in solitude to explore things and expand their freedom.
Link between mental illness and loneliness
Though loneliness is a negative outcome of feeling isolated, it’s totally wrong to generalize things based on it. For example, we often tend to link loneliness with mental illnesses. But being lonely doesn’t always guarantee a pathological outcome.
Yes, it might be true that certain depressive and personality disorders have loneliness as their symptoms. But the reverse isn’t always true, a lonely person doesn’t necessarily be mentally ill. It all depends upon what other symptoms that person has, how loneliness is linked to it, the extent of loneliness and how the clinician diagnoses it.
Types of Loner
Loners can be of majorly five types, as follows-
● Intentional positive loner- Somebody who chooses to be alone for positive intentions.
● Intentional negative loner- Somebody who chooses to be alone, either because it might look cool or might serve antisocial purposes.
● Unintentional loner- Somebody who wants to socialize but didn’t get enough scope of it, due to lack of social skills or negative habits.
● The short-term loner- Somebody who takes time off from others to enjoy solitude and rest for a short period of time.
● Chronic loner- When the state of short-term solitude persists and or gets worse, it can lead to chronic loneliness. Chronic loners had the desire to be around others. But being alone eventually became normal for them.
So, what kind of a loner are you?
Types of Loneliness
Loneliness can be of three major types, as follows-
● Emotional loneliness- Absence of or isolation from someone very close to the person.
● Social loneliness- Lack of social connectedness with friends, peers, relatives, workmates, etc.
● Existential loneliness- It’s the universal feeling of isolation of a person from others.
Can you connect yourself with any of these types?
Want to become a loner?
Well, for people who wants to be a loner, and is trying to explore ways to be one, here are some for you-
● Disconnect a bit from the digital world and focus on yourself.
● Spending some more time wandering in your mind.
● Go out on dates with yourself, to your favorite places and explore new places alone.
● Start investing time in workouts, meditation, and mindfulness.
● Start utilizing your leisure hours for hobbies.
● Spend more time with your plants and in nature.
● Journaling your thoughts as a form of talking to yourself and finding the best friend in you.
● Acknowledge your inner desires, flaws and try working on them.
Struggling with loneliness and needing a solution?
Well, yes you did hit the right spot, if you’re going through the same. Struggling with loneliness is a serious thing and should be taken care of! Let us know some effective ways to deal with it and get the best out of the situation-
● Connecting back with people whom you miss.
● Ask for help from your loved ones and try to communicate your feelings.
● Seek for some professional psychological help if nothing else works out.
● Get outside and try spending time at a different place outside your house.
● Interact with people going through the same.
● Spend time with animals or maybe adopt a pet animal too.
● Make some positive changes to your routine.
● Get your daily work done to feel the joy of accomplishment.
● Acknowledge your feelings and give yourself enough time to accept and deal with it.
So, after all these, what do you think you are?
Lonely or a loner?