The 2010 Year in Review: Y-L-E-N-O-L

I've noticed that many people aren't able to differentiate "alone" from "lonely" and by extension the emotions and actions that tend to stem from being in each state. It is crucial to understand that these words, though similar in pronunciation are worlds apart in meaning.

Websters defines "alone" as being apart from anyone or anything, to simply, just being by yourself. It could be temporarily or long-term, but I's just you separating yourself from folks. Conversely, "lonely" is defined as dejected by the awareness of being alone. In other words, being alone has caused some emotional response in you. It's a thin line between being alone and feeling lonely, that many people navigate daily, but handle differently.

When you're alone the solitude can prove useful, as that time is spent deconstructing yourself or busying yourself with the pursuit of long-term goals and ultimately improving your present state of mind and conditions. Being alone can be productive if you're using the time wisely to prepare to be a better companion, mate, friend, whatever.

However, when you ruminate on being alone, it is easy to slip into the state of its evil twin, loneliness. When you're lonely that deconstruction becomes nitpicking and everything you've ever felt you didn't like about yourself becomes paramount to your life. People are at their absolute worst when lonely, the self-loathing seeps into the interactions with folks and almost makes them a pariah because the negative energy they give off.

Being lonely causes folks to think they're the cause of everything bad in the universe, believe that happiness will never come their way, text me at 12:30am (after you've sworn me off for the 13th time) or rears its ugly head in the form of depression. Depression. No one ever wants to speak that word, but that's what it is when you're lonely, your spirits have sunk so low that your body reacts to what your mind is telling it. Tired, melancholy, angry, sad, dejected, gloomy, grim or any synonym you want to use for it, that's what it is.

I'm alone much of the time, but not lonely, maybe during the holiday season, but I will never categorize myself as lonely. If you haven't noticed, I'm working on some things that will ultimately make me better, will ultimately make my relationships (romantic and otherwise) more fulfilling.

Now for all of you lonely chicks that have become bitter and decide to lash out at your baby daddy or me, you may want to spend the time you have with yourself trying to figure out just why you're ALONE. That anger ain't cute boo-boo and neither is calling me to complain while Kobe & Co. are trying to go back-to-back. Get a journal, read a real book, watch Dr. Phil or something; just leave me be, I'm busy working on me these days and trust me, I won't holla when I'm done.

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