Loneliness and being alone are two very different things. Yet, can we ever truly be lonely? Loneliness implies a sense of boredom, separation and disconnection from our friends, family and peers. Yet this feeling only ever begins in the mind. We are responsible for our own sanity and well- being, and it is often a distortion in some fundamental belief system or perception which creates feelings of separation or disconnection. There are many people who thrive in solitude or introspective activities.
This is a key topic to this discussion- introspection. Loneliness stems from a feeling of disconnection as previously mentioned, but being alone is a state of being and not a state of mind or emotion. Why do we feel lonely when there is so much to feel joyous and blissful about? Have we stopped counting our blessings or remembering that, although we are social creatures who gravitate towards paths of community, family and society, we can still be content and comfortable in our own skin, and in our own space?
There is a great term often used to describe those who are comfortable in their own skin and by themselves. This expression is that of the “lone wolf.” Let’s look at the characteristics of the lone wolf in more detail.
“The Lone Wolf”- Someone alone but never truly lonely!
1. Comfortable in their own space and skin.
This is a key trait of someone who enjoys their own time and solitude. They are comfortable, content and happy and don’t rely on interactions with others. They can entertain themselves, always recognizing that they are alone but never feeling lonely in the process.
People who embody or resonate with the lone wolf archetype have found themselves and “know thyself.” They may be attuned to some artistic or creative gift or talent. Simultaneously, they may have found their personal joy and passions in life. Many introspective or introverted people recognize just how many different realities there are. The characteristics of an extroverted or largely social being (person) are not relied upon- lone wolves don’t need to be around people every day or be connected to a group or unity in order to feel happy or sustained. They can sustain themselves.
In this sense, those of us who are comfortable with a bit of “lone wolf” energy know the difference between being- being alone in a physical and energetic sense, and feeling lonely. They are two very different things! At the end of this article we look at the benefits of feeling content and comfortable alone.
2. Embodying the energetic associations of the wolf.
Many people nowadays are becoming more interested in and attuned to the world of spirit. Deeply connected to this is the reality of spirit animals. Spirit animals are the subtle or spiritual energy of a specific species of animal. A spirit animal is believed to be by your side and provide insight or guidance in times of need. You may be feeling low, confused or sad, or you may be pondering life’s questions or which course of action to next take… a spirit animal will then show itself to help you.
They may simply show themselves as signs, cues or subtle messages or symbols, or they may make themselves more known to you directly through meditation or other spiritual or healing activities. However, the fundamental point is always the same. The animal queen and kingdom can show us parts of ourselves we are missing, further helping us learn about our inner workings and true nature.
Now, in terms of the “lone wolf” and self- discovery of knowing the difference between being lonely or simply alone, looking to the energetic meaning of the wolf can help shed some light. Wolves are inherently social creatures with a deep connection to family. They are also highly independent, powerful and self- sovereign with a heightened intuition and sensitivity.
In this respect, wolves can teach us a lot about ourselves in relation to overcoming loneliness and feeling content and strong in our own skin. Connecting to our inner intuition, the part of self which knows which way to go or which path to choose, enables us to open to new avenues of healing, wisdom and divine guidance or inspiration. It can also lead to extraordinary creations or artistic and creative expressions. Furthermore, there is an energetic association of protection and being content in the unknown with the wolf. Wolves often travel deep into unknown territory, therefore bring the energy of fearlessness. They need to feel comfortable and fearless in their own abilities, otherwise they would not get to the places they need to go.
This is a beautiful lesson for we humans as the wolf can show us how to overcome fear and connect to our own inner wisdom and power to follow our true path. The message of the wolf is to face our deepest fears, whilst simultaneously connecting to our intuition. What better way to do this than to overcome our illusions and worries of loneliness?
Transcending the fears and constraints of feeling lonely and not being happy in our own aloneness is a deeply important factor contributing to our health, wellness and inner harmony and balance. We need to be able to be alone and find joy in our own spirit, gifts, abilities or solitude to truly thrive in all other areas of life. Silence (inner silence, a disconnection from all the external “noise”) can be the catalyst to the healthy and harmonious, and consciously creative and abundant lifestyle, we seek.
The wisdom and energy of the wolf can help teach us this!
Benefits of being alone (how to overcome loneliness)
This brings us onto being alone and the benefits. Intrinsically connected to this is how to overcome loneliness- the benefits of being alone can equally be used as tools and techniques to overcome any feelings of loneliness you still may be holding on to.
Let’s explore some of the key benefits and methods now.
Artistic, creative and imaginative self- expression. Being alone can lead to incredible insights or sparks in imaginative and creative expression. Solitude allows you to connect to both your subconscious and some source of higher or divine power. There is a reason why many creative genius’ or spiritual masters and teachers speak of a connection to a “higher power” or “the divine!” Solitude, introspection or conscious and mindful introversion open our neural pathways up to new avenues and channels of expression and insight. We are multi- dimensional beings and we live in a multi- dimensional reality. There is ultimately no such thing as “reality” as we all perceive, define and experience based on our own beliefs, perceptions and personal life experiences. Being alone and engaging in imaginative or artistic expression can help shift these perceptions into something more in harmony with your true creative self.
A connection to your true path and inner passions. As briefly expressed above, solitude helps steer us onto our true paths by re- centering us and re-connecting us with our true selves. In an often hectic and chaotic world and society it can be difficult to hear our own inner voice when there are so many external voices and noises. “Going within” or simply being alone to soul- search or introspect allows us to align with our true and higher self, the part of self responsible for knowing our soulful passions and following them. Also, you can never truly feel lonely when you are shining and listening to your true self.
Re- alignment, in so many aspects and expressions of life! The key word to be mindful of when taking time to be alone is alignment, or re- alignment. Distraction is paramount in western society, so how can you truly know what is in harmony with your best interests? Being alone whilst not feeling lonely helps us see where we may have gone off course or track. This can relate to so many aspects and areas of life- such as diet, health, a connection to spirit, work, passion projects, long term goals and dreams, personal aspirations, or the people and relationships we choose. We need to become centered to truly see and connect to our intuition and inner guidance. Centeredness is connection, alignment and unity with our true selves.
Being alone, yet “all- one,” on a retreat
A retreat is the ultimate expression of feeling alone whilst feeling all- one simultaneously. During a spiritual or healing retreat you are connected to a group, to a community and to a unity. You are part of a collective of conscious and like- minded people sharing the same goals and intentions. Yet, the intention of any retreat is for self- development, self- healing and self- love. There is a strong element of going within, and re- connecting to your own self and core being. This naturally included detachment and independence.
This is the key to this topic- loneliness vs being alone, or being “all- one.” During a retreat you learn the true meaning of being alone whilst never feeling lonely. Even when you are with others or engaged in the same shared activity, your sole purpose is to connect to your own center and your own mind, body, emotions and spirit. There is a sort of beautiful and blissful aloneness whilst being on a retreat, as you connect to your own independence, sovereignty and self.
Self- love is the result. With self- love comes a true and integrated understanding of what it is like to be alone and be lonely- or never feel lonely again! Being aware of this and setting intentions to integrate this understanding and reality can be a powerful way to receive the benefits of a retreat, and finally find contentment in your own aloneness.
We live in a beautiful and magical universe, here for those with eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to feel, and spirit to sense!
The importance of a spiritual or healing retreat: Scientific findings on aloneness and feeling lonely
Research which inspired us to write this article:
- A 55,000 people study conducted by the BBC found that nearly 40% of 16 to 24 year olds feel lonely often or very often. Soul shattering (“‘I’m surrounded by people – but I feel so lonely’”, 2019)
- Sincere and severe loneliness can have serious negative impacts on our health and well- being, as found by Harvard University. (“Loneliness: An Epidemic? – Science in the News”, 2019)
Many studies and findings published by Psychology Today support the same discoveries as Harvard: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/basics/loneliness.
- ‘I’m surrounded by people – but I feel so lonely’. (2019). Retrieved 25 September 2019, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-45561334
- Loneliness: An Epidemic? – Science in the News. (2019). Retrieved 25 September 2019, from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/loneliness-an-epidemic/