The difference between being lonely vs being alone.

A lot of people stay in relationships past their used-by date because of the fear of being alone.

Fear is what stops us from moving forward.

Fear can dictate our lives if we let it.

And the fear of being lonely is one of the most common human fears, right up there with death, public speaking and spiders (especially the latter for me!)

The fear of being lonely should not dictate whether or not you stay in a relationship. Why? Simply because it’s better to be alone and happy than in a relationship and unhappy.

Recently I had a session with a girl who was begging for advice on how to break up with her boyfriend who she had only been with for about 3 months. She knew deep down in her heart that he wasn’t “the one” and that he didn’t treat her the way she ought to be treated, but she kept making excuses for him. In our conversation, she kept jumping from the present moment, how one minute he is hot and one minute he is cold, to the future, saying things like: What if there is no one else there for me? What if I die alone, an old crazy cat woman? But I love being in a relationship…I have been searching for this and waiting for ‘someone’ for years…I have never broken up with anyone before… you get my drift.

Breaking up with this guy was bringing up her worst fear, the fear of being alone. She wasn’t just scared of how he would react; she was scared of her own destiny. She loved the idea of being in a relationship, more than she loved her partner, which is not the right reason to stay in a relationship! She said to me, ‘I just love being loved by someone’. To which I replied, ‘The most important person to be loved by is you. You won’t find the one until you truly start loving yourself.’

A wonderful life master, Anthony Robbins once shared with me a simple truth: If your intimate relationship is bad; your whole life is bad. And it’s true. Have you ever been in an unhappy relationship and been happy with your own life? I would assume not, it’s virtually impossible. Your relationships with people bring energy to your life; some relationships are like balloons and lift you up bringing positivity into your life, others are like stones that weigh you down and bring out the worst in you. I don’t know one person who hasn’t stayed in a relationship after its gone sour, solely because it’s comfortable and they’re scared of being alone again, scared of the unknown. It’s human nature to stay in the comfort zone, even if it is destructive to our being.

So many women are petrified of being single. Even the word ‘single’ has such a negative stigma around it, like you should be ashamed of it or there is something wrong with you if you aren’t in a relationship. While I am terribly happy for people in loved-up relationships who get to snuggle every night and canoodle on the couch, I just can’t help but think that half of them out there are not 100% in love in their relationship and are just with their partner because they’re comfy and simply scared that if they leave them, there might not be someone else out there for them. They feel that if they’re too fussy and they cut the cord with their current partner who despite knowing they aren’t ‘the one’, they’re going to end up a spinster, otherwise known as a ‘Brigette Jones’…an alone, older, childless woman with about 23 cats, like the girl I mentioned above. They’re scared the grass might not be greener, so they’re best to stay in the safety/comfort zone of who and what they know.

“Unless its mad, passionate, extraordinary love it’s a waste of your time. There are way too many mediocre things in your life…LOVE shouldn’t be one of them. ”

– Dream for an Insomniac

Being in these half-assed relationships makes it difficult to see the light and realise that with being single comes with so much empowerment, freedom, love and liberation…more than any other human being can ever offer you. It is usually known that men need these elements of ‘freedom’ and ‘liberation’ in their life (think Braveheart) but with the shift in masculinity and femininity in society these days, it is just as important for women to take grasp these notions as well.

For anyone going through a break up or considering it, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely. One being far better than the other!

For a large proportion of my early childhood I was brought up on a farm where I learnt quickly how to entertain myself. Living on a property 45 minutes outside of a main town in Western Queensland I was rarely allowed to have friends over to play, and likewise I was rarely allowed to go to friend’s sleep-over’s or birthday parties in town. I had a sister four years older than me who had very different interests and never wanted to play Barbies, so it was up to me to make my own fun. I was alone, but I wasn’t lonely. Although I would have much rather a friend to play with, there wasn’t the option, so I accepted that and moved on. I had no computer, no video games, no I-Pod, no internet, no phone, no nothing. Most of these gadgets didn’t exist anyway, but more to the point I wasn’t even allowed to watch The Simpsons…I was only alllowed a half an hour at night to watch Home & Away or Friends! Instead, my toys, jumping on the trampoline, riding my bike, making cubby houses, herding the sheep, driving trucks/utes, water-skiing, feeding the baby calves & lambs and watching/helping my step-father shear the sheep (and sometimes kill the sheep for dinner) were my saviour.

I believe all that time I spent by myself as a youngster instilled an innate independence within me, which I still have to this day. This brings me back to my original case. Being alone is technically just being by yourself, being alone in your presence with no one else around. Being lonely, however, are those feeling attached or associated with being alone, such as sadness, emptiness or depression. In fact, one can still feel lonely even in a crowd of people. It’s all a mind-set.

To be happy in a relationship with another person, one needs to feel OK about being alone, without the distraction of other people or things to keep you company. You need to be able to embrace the feelings of aloneness or loneliness because at the end of the day all you have is you. YOU have to be comfortable in your own skin, YOU need to be able to listen to your mind chatter all day long, YOU need to enjoy your own company, YOU need to love yourself first before you can love anyone else. So put down your I-phone, go off Facebook for a day and disconnect from the world. Instead In-store pickup. Wembley, WA an old book you’ve been meaning to read, meditate somewhere quiet, go on a walk without music blaring in your ears….

One has to face the fear of being lonely and face the fear fully or it will keep cropping up in your life, no matter how many relationships you have.

And if you are in a relationship where you are unhappy, like my friend, but you’re finding any excuse not to leave, especially the lonely excuse…stop!

Face the fear.

Take the plunge.

Do what feels right for you.

Embrace being you!

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