Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Alone versus Lonely

Growing up an only child in what felt like a very unloving family, I was quite lonely. I longed for a brother or sister. Lacking that, I latched onto friends and spent as much time with their families as I could, wishing I belonged somewhere, anywhere.

I was a latchkey kid, so from second grade on, I came home to an empty house. Friends were always part of my life, but a great deal of time was spent alone. I became adept at amusing myself.

But it wasn't until I became an adult, that I understood the difference between loneliness and being alone. One can be alone and not feel lonely. It comes from being comfortable inside your own skin, happy with your own thoughts and feelings. But lonely--that's a whole other story. Lonely means not being fulfilled, not feeling connected, feeling empty inside and wanting something to fill that void. Lonely is the place I used to gorge myself with food from. Lonely is the longing I tried to fill with choosing friends and partners who didn't love me.

I rarely feel lonely anymore. And when I do, it is a spiritual connection I'm needing to make, not a human one. I cherish my alone time. My hubby is gone on a business trip till Thursday nite and yes, I miss him. But it's also nice not to have to cook or talk if I don't want to.

Lonely is a place I lived and breathed for most of my life, even when I was surrounded by people. Now I find balance between being alone and sharing my life with loved ones. If loneliness sears its way into my psyche, it is through being alone with Spirit that it gets released.



Tabitha Bird said...

Love this Karen. Yes, lonely and alone are indeed very different. I have actually always really enjoyed my own company. But I enjoy it so much more now because I have amazing people around me to connect with when I am done being by myself. It is those connections that make alone time precious and those connections that stop alone time from being lonely. I am increasingly more comfortable inside my skin since realizing that what is inside 'my skin' God put there for a reason:) Great post, as always :)

By the way, did my email get through to your inbox today?

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

This is a wonderful post. I love being alone, but only because I know there are people that are happy to spend time with me if I wanted to be with others. It's so nice to have a choice.

Second grade is so young to come home alone! That made me hurt for you...


Karen Walker said...

Yes, Tabitha, your email came through and I have responded.
Thanks, Elizabeth. Yes, second grade is way too young to fend for oneself. Your little ones are so lucky to have you for a mom.

Anonymous said...

I'm alone but I'm never alone. That's my motto. Well, when I'm all alone, that is.

Stephen Tremp

The Old Silly said...

Excellent distinction, Karen, and glad you've moved away from the feeling "lonely" when alone. Big difference, and I agree being alone does not need to feel lonesome. When I'm by myself I take time to look at the beauty and majesty of nature, and I feel the closeness of my maker and I'm thank you very kindly satisfied. :)

Marvin D Wilson

Jody Hedlund said...

What a great definition of both, Karen. We can be alone and totally content and at peace. Or we can be alone and completely miserable. But I think if we're confident in who we are and our purpose in life, then hopefully we can have meaningful relationships as well as meaningful alone time.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We have a scary amount of things in common, Karen...

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I have an older sister, but she was gone by the time I was about 7 or 8. So, did a lot of growing up alone. I didn’t mind it, learned how to do a lot of tasks for myself that I continue to do today, so, independence and self-reliance were by products. On the other hand, I can be pretty shy in a crowd. Maybe there’s a connection.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Jennifer Major said...

Karen - you are so right! Being content with yourself allows you to enjoy being alone. I personally love to be with me! I'm lucky. I was taught how to be that way by my parents. But, I know many folks who may never find that peace and I'm glad you have! That is a very good theme/idea for a story!

Patricia Stoltey said...

It's so true that being alone is much more attractive when you know you have options, when you know you have loved ones who'll gladly connect with you anytime.

I don't get a chance to feel lonely very often these days, so I cherish my alone time when I get it.

Bob Sanchez said...

And I've been able to feel lonely in a crowd, surrounded by people I have no interest in or who have none in me.

But being by myself for more than a day would be hard, I think. It would be a big adjustment.

Bob Sanchez

Beth said...

Beautifully put. I cherish my solitude, and always have. As the old saying goes, if you can't enjoy your own company, who else will enjoy it?

N A Sharpe said...

This is such a wonderful perspective. There is definitely a huge difference between being alone and lonely. Often the alone time is by choice, when we feel lonely... I like your thoughts of making a spiritual connection rather than a human one particularly at that point in time.

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

What an important point you made between alone and lonely and you expressed the difference beautifully.