Sometimes we confuse alone with lonely. Have you ever been in a crowd of people and felt very lonely, yet been on your own and not felt lonely? For many dog parents, with your special companion gone, you are probably feeling loneliness as well as feeling alone.
Loneliness has to do with a lack of meaningful connections. Alone has to do with being by yourself. Both can be a challenge but an opportunity for learning and growth.A tip for combating loneliness is to take steps to connect with others.
It doesn’t have to be big steps – simply smiling at the cashier in the store or someone you pass on the street can make someone’s day. Thinking about activities you enjoy, might there be a group in your community that connects like minded people? Is there anything you wanted to learn that might increase meaning in your life? Could you volunteer your time and skills to someone who needs it? These tend to be guides to help build resilience to loneliness.
As for being alone; once we separate loneliness from being alone, the latter doesn’t tend to feel so bad. It’s just a state of being. Getting used to doing things on your own – a walk, patterns or rituals in your home – takes some practice, and there might be times when you’d rather be back with your dog or with someone else. This is completely fine. Just acknowledge that desire and you’ll notice that with practice, you’ll find more areas in your life that you can be, and begin to enjoy being, alone.
Any thoughts on loneliness or being alone?