Alone versus Lonely

“You will find it’s fine to be a alone once you embrace it.”

This is such a true line in  the short video by filmaker, Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis. In the rest of the poem she reminds us all that it is normal to be alone sometimes in places like the bathroom and the library.  Then she dares us to be comfortable in lonely moments that might seem awkward. For instance she dares us to go to a nice restaurant alone, or go out dancing by ourselves. I love the line in which she says, “resist the urge to hang out with your cellphone.”  This is because more often than not, I have fidgeted around with my cellphone trying to minimize the awkward moments between arriving at a gathering and waiting for familiar faces to show up.

Even though I am not yet brave enough to go to the cinema alone , I find everything she says to be true to a certain extent. Many people in our society fear being alone, yet moments of solitude can be useful for positive self reflection and renewal.

I wish that she had made more of distinction between the state of being alone and being lonely. There is  a big difference. You can be alone and know that there are people who value you just a phone call away. In this case, moments of being alone can be used to recharge your inner battery and sort out your thoughts. However, I don’t think we were originally created to be lonely. This is not something I would like to embrace and accept.   A person can feel lonely even when they are surrounded by a large group of people. Loneliness makes us feel rejected and and isolated. Moments of loneliness can bring negative thoughts that make us feel insignificant.

We will all face moments of loneliness and times when we are alone. Cherish the latter and use them to build your inner self. However, when bouts of loneliness envelope us, we should remember our positive qualities and celebrate them. Go out purposely seek the company of people.

In order to respond to this video, my professor Amy Hauber asked the following questions, my answers are included-

Generally speaking, can we be alone? for any extended period of time?
without media? without intoxicants?

Yes we can be alone  for extended periods of time. However there are so many distractions like our phones, computers and fellow residents. It also depends on how you define an extended period of time. If we are talking about being alone for a couple of hours that is fine. But if it’s over 6 hours I think most people have a hard time being alone. Perhaps people think that everyone else is busy having a good time and they are missing out on it. I also think that some people have a subconscious deep hatred for themselves and when they are alone negative thoughts haunt them. As a result they avoid being alone and sober. Some people are extroverts and they recharge themselves by being surrounded by other people. Hence being alone causes them to feel deflated.  Personally, I have found  that when I was spending all day painting by myself over the summer on campus; and  did not see my friends for over three hours, loneliness began to kick in. So I would go out of my way to see them during lunch time and in the evenings.

or am I just really getting old??

No you are not getting old 🙂


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