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Loneliness: Choice Versus Choices

Shauna writes about a variety of topics in various genres, governed by whatever motivates her muse.


I’m one of the fortunate few who have never experienced loneliness; therefore I waited until the enth hour to begin my composition. I am alone quite often and frankly, I’m perfectly comfortable with that – in fact I prefer being alone. That wasn’t true not so long ago, but bad choices in mates has rendered me accepting of what makes me comfortable, and I’ve discovered what or who makes me comfortable is me.

You may deem me selfish, but I beg to differ; I am realistic. Funny for an idealist to profess, but we must (I must) embrace every aspect of our personalities in order to be comfortable with life and claim happiness in this world. Having spent most of my life in need of others to validate me, I now, in the downside of life’s ‘hill’ need myself more than I need others. Perhaps this is due to my having not known that it is ‘me’ I need to become comfortable with more than the other way around. Again, you may call me selfish, which I was when young, but now I’m turning inside and working on becoming a better human in order to be there for others. If you still think I’m selfish, so be it.

There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone. Sometimes being alone is a conscious choice, as I have made for my current phase in life. Sometimes being alone is not a choice; someone makes it for you whether in death, separation or divorce. But what about those who separate themselves from the comfortable life they know in order to strive for a better world?

They're the lucky ones.

They're the lucky ones.

God Bless our Soldiers.

God Bless our Soldiers.

What About the Soldier?

What about the soldier?

Imagine yourself thousands of miles from home in a climate unlike that of the most arid parts of the US or any other familiar climate. Imagine yourself having to look over your shoulder with every breath you take. Imagine having to look forward and around as you look behind – all the time! Imagine not being able to shower and having to eat MRE’s instead of real food. Imagine yourself sleeping in a hole dug in the sand with artillery as your pillow. Imagine the monstrous spiders and other grotesque desert dwellers crawling all around you. Imagine never being able to fall fully asleep.

Imagine wanting to come home to a hug at the end of a hard day’s work and it being so far away you can almost taste the feeling but have no idea when – or worse - if you’ll ever again feel those warm arms around you. Imagine missing the birth of your child, an anniversary, a family reunion.

My imagination spells those situations as L-O-N-E-L-I-N-E-S-S. The yearning and longing and feeling of loss one becomes saturated with is what creates the sense of loneliness. At least that’s my interpretation. The word ‘loneliness’ has a definition in the dictionary, but I think loneliness is a feeling that is hard-pressed to be defined in words, therefore I won’t bother with what the dictionary says; it has no frigging clue!

Our brave soldiers gain a comradeship that can never be rivaled. They cling to those who have seen things most of will never see, in order to survive. They will never be alone, but are they lonely? Perhaps and probably. Perhaps they won’t let you in when you try to understand. After all, who can really understand unless you’ve lived and seen what the soldier has seen? Perhaps their military position and rank has forbidden them to talk about what they have seen and done, all in the endurance of our freedom. Our beloved soldiers can’t talk about what they have seen even if they so desire to relieve their hearts, memories and minds.

Soldiers sleeping on artillery stock in the Vietnam War.

Soldiers sleeping on artillery stock in the Vietnam War.

Check your back!

Check your back!

My point to Choice Versus Choices

So, back to the title “Choice vs. Choices”. What do I mean by that? Simply put, you can choose to be lonely by ostracizing all who want to share your life in the every day circumstances of we common folk. If you experience loneliness because of that, you have brought it upon yourself. Go inside, see it and fix it unless you want to wallow in your sorrow. Frankly, I have no time for that mindset.

On the other hand, our soldiers experience loneliness that unfortunately, is part of the job description. Love them, keep in contact as often as their position will allow, be proud of them and welcome them home if you are lucky enough to have that privilege. Take time to try to fathom what they have seen in their absence from life as they know it and realize it will take time to ‘come back home’. Support them. Love them. Leave them alone when they need to be alone and work to never have them feel lonely again.

Choice vs. choices. Sometimes loneliness is brought on and sometimes it’s a bi-product. Recognize the difference and govern yourself accordingly.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Shauna L Bowling


Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 05, 2013:

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Thank you for sharing, Sue. Being alone is one thing but I can't imagine how lonely the soldiers must feel. I'm fortunate to not have experienced that feeling.

Sueswan on March 04, 2013:

Hi Shauna,

Like you I have no problem being alone.

I cannot begin to imagine how lonely it must be for soldiers in a strange country, away from their family, friends and way of life.

Voted up and sharing

Have a great week. :)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 01, 2013:

So true, Nithya. Thanx for stopping by!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 01, 2013:

Great hub, soldiers do a lot for the country. They are the brave warriors in life. Great write. Voted up.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 27, 2013:

Thank you Anna. The soldier came to mind when I was trying to come up with my take on this theme. They have to be the loneliest and most unappreciated group of people in the world.

Anna Haven from Scotland on February 27, 2013:

I had never even thought about the loneliness aspect of a soldier's life before, very true. Great article, interesting, open and honest.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 23, 2013:

Pamela, I agree with you. Unless you are fulfilled being alone can morph into loneliness. I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub.

Have a great weekend!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 23, 2013:

I agree with you that we have a choice. I pray for the soldiers as I know many struggle to stay alive, and they are so far away from the comforts of home. I enjoy being alone at least some of the time. I think being alone can be healthy as long as you fill up your life with something that fulfills you. Awesome hub.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 21, 2013:

Hey, Leslie! There really is nothing wrong with being alone. That is my choice. Birds of a feather, huh? Thanx for the share.....


Karen Silverman on February 21, 2013:

Your insight and self-knowledge is...simply awesome, my friend..

You clinically point out the vast - and often self-imposed - differences between being alone - and true loneliness..

i too spend the majority of my time alone - by choice - and, i often wonder if standing apart is something that writers tend to share...

You've covered this months topic beautifully - bringing a 'perspective' that really opens ones eyes!

voting up and sharing onxx

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 21, 2013:

Good Morning, Eddy! Have a lovely day and thanx for the share.

I thought of you and your bird table this morning as I was having my coffee on the front porch. The birds are all singing their beautiful songs today. Spring is on its way!

Eiddwen from Wales on February 21, 2013:

Thank you so much for this great read Sauna. Loneliness can indeed be daunting and also one cna be very lonely even if surrounded by others. I vote up,across and share all around . Have a wonderful day.



Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 19, 2013:

Thank you so much, Spy. Have a wonderful day!

Life Under Construction from Neverland on February 19, 2013:

wow..this is really excellent. glad to share this to others.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 16, 2013:

Thank you so much for your comment and share, Faith. I appreciate it so much. I've racked my brain trying to think of when I've ever felt lonely and I just can't come up with anything. That doesn't necessarily mean I haven't been. My mom always says I have a selective memory! I call it self-preservation!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on February 16, 2013:

Thanks so much for sharing your perspective on loneliness. Although you state you have never experienced loneliness, your wisdom on the subject is evident. I appreciate, especially, your insight to the soldiers' plight and their loneliness . . . very profound. Yes, indeed, choice!

Excellent write. Voted up +++ and sharing

Hugs, Faith Reaper

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 16, 2013:

Thank you for stopping by, Rosemary!

Doc, thank you for your very kind words.

Martin, I'm honored for the share!

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on February 16, 2013:

Thank you for this. Rather than poorly expressing how good this is, I shared it. Thank you

Mohan Kumar from UK on February 15, 2013:

Shauna, an excellent offering from your wise viewpoint. I love the concept of choice vs choices and the way you've linked it to the plight of those soldiers who are out discharging their duty while hiding their loneliness among the battlefield's horrors. up/awesome, my friend.

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on February 15, 2013:

An excellent perspective, for sure our soldiers must be the lonliest people on earth.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 15, 2013:

Thank you for your comment, Mary. When I came up with the title, it just popped into my head. I knew what I meant but I wasn't sure I could convey what was in my head to the readers. Apparently, I succeeded.

And, yes, I don't know if our soldiers can ever overcome the loneliness they must feel in the field.

Mary Craig from New York on February 15, 2013:

At first I was skeptical about your title "Choice vs Choices" but when I started reading your hub the skepticism melted away. Seems we all agree comfort in your own skin is the first step to not being lonely. It has nothing to do with selfishness.

As I read your description of our soldiers, I was totally moved and close to tears. So many take for granted what these soldiers go through and often for a very long time. They are certainly a group who knows loneliness and often one of their biggest problems is trying to cope with it.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 15, 2013:

Linda, I like the way YOU think! We don't necessarily need others in order to feel complete, therefore loneliness should not be blamed on the lack of a companion or a constant barrage of friends. Most of us have people on whom we can depend and love us. Additionally, if you are comfortable with yourself you will never feel lonely. Shoot, all you have to do is start up a conversation and 'self' is sure to chime in!

I don't know if I can think of a lonelier group of folks than our troops. Even the homeless have their group of friends that they consider family, which is why I did not include them in this post.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on February 15, 2013:

I like the way you think! We do have the choice to be lonely or not. This is what I have taught my daughters and one learned very quickly. The other not so much. How could you ever be lonely or alone when you have yourself? This is my way of thinking:)

In regards to the soldiers...that makes me heart sad...I could imagine how lonely they must be for their families:(

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 15, 2013:

Martie, you just proved my point about identifying and correcting the cause of loneliness. Whereas our soldiers don't have a choice when in combat, the rest of us do have a choice. I can relate to the loneliness you felt with your ex-husband. I didn't feel lonely with either of mine, just like I didn't want to be in my own home. So I corrected that. I fired them both!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on February 15, 2013:

I agree with you, bravewarrior - Loneliness is a choice. But one has to identify the emotion before a choice could become an option.

Your hub pulled a specific memory of the first Christmas Eve in the company of my in-laws; I was so terribly lonely; I felt like the soldiers you've described in here. So far away from home and from my beloveds. While - and this is so weird - as a teenager in the company of my beloveds, I have missed people I've never met before!!!

Looking back, I was throughout my life the loneliest in the company of my (ex)husband. Loneliness is an emotion with many roots in many different sources, and perhaps in our genes.

I could have made the decision to die from loneliness, but I've chosen to focus on all the many opportunities to be happy in spite of the yawning emptiness (loneliness) in me.

Excellent perceptive on loneliness!

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on February 15, 2013:

not at all

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 15, 2013:

I'm glad you approve, Randi. I afraid I might have come off a little harsh...

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on February 15, 2013:

What a great hub with a beautiful and realistic example! As far as anyonre considering you selfish?....ridiculous...more like confident and comportable in your own skin! Thsank you for this greatr perspective!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 15, 2013:

Mickey, my link to your hub is not yet working. I'll have to fix it and come to your corner. I noticed your title reflects the heart of my take on loneliness. See you in a bit!

Maria, as always I had a hard time coming up with my reflection on the theme. Then our soldiers popped into my head and I felt they are probably the loneliest souls on this earth - not to mention completely under-appreciated!

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on February 15, 2013:


This may have been your hardest to relate to but it may just be my favorite of your perspectives.

There is nothing selfish about you. You have your priorities in check and you appreciate the power that we all have within ourselves in most situations.

You describe our soldiers who are true heroes, taken from those they love. That, in itself, may be the greatest perspective of this subject.

Powerful job...Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria

MickeySr from Hershey, Pa. on February 15, 2013:

When you say "I am alone quite often and frankly, I’m perfectly comfortable with that" you kind of reveal my whole 'Perspectives:' hub to be just a bit daffy. I think we all have touched on the idea that "There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone" - I just kind of went on and on, and on, about it.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 15, 2013:

Lovedoc, I'm afraid I was a little one sided in this effort, but I feel so strongly for our soldiers, that's where I ended up. Thank you for commenting!

Bill, that's exactly what I meant about choice vs. choices. I'm so glad you chose to be alive, my friend. Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this conversation!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 15, 2013:

I have chosen to be lonely in the past, and then I chose to be alive. It made all the difference in the world.

Well done, Sha, and right on!

lovedoctor926 on February 15, 2013:

A very good description of what loneliness really is. It must be hard for soldiers and their families to have little or no contact with their immediate families on top of all the stress they're already experiencing. voting up!

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