Being lonely is completely different from being alone. Being lonely constitutes an emotional state of mind while being alone is a physical reality. Just because there is someone around, in our vicinity, does not mean that we do not get the feeling of loneliness. Feelings and reality get meshed together often times when they have a common ground.
The feeling of loneliness is generally due to the lack of a support system, not necessarily due to the lack of presence from another person. We feel lonely most when we are in a situation that only others that are in the midst of, or recently out of, a similar situation can understand. The old saying that mentions understanding the struggle of another without walking in their shoes speaks to this idea. We cannot sympathize with someone that is going through a trying time in their life if we have not been there directly or indirectly. Loneliness is a characteristic of depression depending on the severity of the situation. More times than not we reach the state of loneliness after we have attempted to reach out to others for guidance or assistance to no avail.
Being alone is self-explanatory. The difference is that when we are alone, it is often by choice. We choose to be by ourselves to deal with our current situation. There can be people there that are interested in lending a helping hand, a listening ear, or a judgmental opinion. Whatever the case may be, when these options are presented, we choose if we want to deal with them. We choose when and whom we wish to share the details of our lives with. In doing so, we already know what to expect, for the most part, from those we involve.
For this reason, we must be careful of whom we include in the most intimate parts of our lives. We have to know who is there to help us and who is looking for a way to leave us. There are people that seek to take advantage of another person’s vulnerability. We have to constantly look to ourselves and assess situations and circumstances in our lives. We have to review the people that are in our circle and make well informed decisions about who we provide certain life details to. Everyone that is around is not around for our benefit. Some are merely there to watch us fall. Understanding the difference between being lonely and being alone will assist us in making better decisions about our lives and who we involve in them.