• Necole Renee Sharnell

Alone but not Lonely.

When alone isn't lonely, it's called alonement. Alonement is a word coined by journalist Francesca Specter. Francesca came up with ‘alonement’ after realizing that, while there were a lot of negative words to describe the state of being alone (like loneliness, isolation, rejection ) there weren’t any positive ones.

I remember days when I felt LONELY. I realized that I felt that way whenever I had expectations of other people and when those expectations were not met, boom, loneliness came into my life. Honestly felt lonely because, I was in the wrong environments,in the wrong relationships and with the wrong people, who could not really understand my thoughts and dreams. When they did not support me, boom, loneliness would come knocking on my door and I opened it.

I later learned that the main reason why I felt lonely, was that I did not love myself enough. I was waiting for others to give me the love I had to give to myself. I was waiting for others to appreciate me when I did not appreciate myself. I was waiting for others to support me when I did not support myself. Sadly, I was waiting on those words of affirmation that we all love to hear, but when they were not given, I felt the loneliness again.

The day I came to grips with what was going on, my life changed. I no longer wait for others to love me, appreciate me or support me, even though I respect the ones who

did so. I learned to be my own supporter. To love myself and to remember that JESUS loves me even more and His love for me will never change. This was when being alone was no longer lonely for me, rather I embraced alonement.

Now I want you to know that alonement has nothing to do with your romantic status. I do believe that singleness is an excellent time to discover what you value most. It‘s a great time to discover who you are, what is your passion, what things interest you and what things totally disgust you. It is a perfect time to learn you!

But if you are presently in a relationship, practicing alonement can be a great way to develop independence and a great way to avoid toxic behaviors like interdependence and total reliance. Sometimes alone time is best in a relationship. I believe in the saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ In fact alonement is somewhat necessary in keeping attitudes from boiling over during heated discussions.

Choosing yourself can sometimes place you in the category of seeming selfish. But choosing your happiness over the happiness of others, may be just what you need, even though society makes you feel like the odd one. How dare you choose to end a 3 year relationship and start again. Or choose to miss out on a social gathering with all of your friends because you’re physically and emotionally not up to it.

Alonement is a practice, that doesn’t always come easy. While growing up, we were taught social skills not solitude skills. Therefore, learning to value time alone, whether that’s an hour alone or weeks in self-isolation is a transformative process that can help you live your most fulfilled independent life.

So are you saying that alonement is beneficial for me? I sure am! Anyone practicing alonement will get to know themselves a little bit better. They will be less ‘needy’, and more giving to others. They will be more confident about who they are. They will be more passionate about following their ambitions. By practicing alonement you will have healthier relationships and live a more purposeful life.

So being alone is not bad after all, especially after discovering that you are really not alone. You are surround by a love that is beyond anything or anyone in this world can give. You are surrounded by God's love; He promises never to leave you alone. He is always with you and he fills the voids that you may experience on your journey. What a great assurance we have. He walks with us, He talks with us and let us know that we are never truly alone.

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