Spending time alone can be a beautiful thing. It often means focusing on yourself, doing exactly what you want to do, and having that all-important "me time." But if you feel lonely, none of that will sound appealing. Instead, you'll be faced with difficult emotions, and the desire to remedy the situation, ASAP.
"To understand why loneliness is such a painful emotion, it's important to understand how it's different from [being] 'alone,'" Jennifer Weaver-Breitenbecher MA, CAGS, LMHC, a psychotherapist and owner of Polaris Counseling & Consulting, tells Bustle. "We can physically be alone and not feel lonely, or worse, be around people while feeling lonely."
It's often more a state of mind than it is about actually being by yourself. "Feeling the emotion of [loneliness] signals to us that we aren't feeling particularly connected, heard, or understood by those around us," Weaver-Breitenbecher says. "It can feel painful because it sometimes affects our self-worth and how we view ourselves."
Loneliness can, however, be as simple as not having people around you, which might happen when you move to a new city, start a new job, work from home, drift away from a group of friends, etc. It's a common occurrence, Weaver-Breitenbecher says, and it happens to everyone. But rest assured there are plenty of ways to cope with it. If you've been feeling lonely, read on for a few tips from experts, that can help you feel more connected.