Loneliness is a really complex emotion. It can effect so many people but it’s suffering is mostly a silent one. The vulnerability it evokes is enough to shut ourselves out even further from people, perpetuating the loneliness. Why is it so difficult for us to firstly acknowledge loneliness but secondly, to have such low self worth that it doesn’t feel there is a way out of loneliness sometimes?
We are not great communicators us humans. We struggle to find the courage to be very real about our feelings and express them to others. Sometimes the difficulty can be the inability to understand the emotions even within ourselves. This is a very scary reality as it can take you to some pretty dark places.
We have an in-built filtering system that pretty much every thought, experience and conversation with another will pass through the very complex fabric of this system resulting in a translation that not many people can even begin to decipher. We can never know the true struggles or thoughts of another person. The old saying, never judge someone unless you walk a mile in their shoes couldn’t be closer to the truth.
I have felt very lonely in years gone by. So lonely that sometimes my decisions weren’t entirely rational. I have been to some incredibly dark places and in those places, it’s very tough to see a greater meaning, if any meaning at all playing out. Sometimes the pain in my heart was so big that I couldn’t see beyond 5 minutes let alone a lifetime.
I remember one day that I was so exhausted by the loneliness that I knew something needed to be done. I decided to allow myself to feel so damn lonely and take myself to a place that would put my previous loneliness to shame. It was perfection. The pain was so intense and the aching was mind blowing but I kept deepening. At every level of loneliness, I kept reminding myself that I was still here and I I was not going anywhere. Eventually, the pain I felt started to feel strangely blissful. It didn’t hurt anymore, in fact, it felt quite lovely. I went into a very peaceful place within myself, my eyes forced shut and I sat there for a really long time just feeling peaceful.
I realised through that experience that I could never be truly lonely, because I had myself. As long as I was here, I was not alone. That was a strange enough concept because that really means there is no such thing as loneliness. From this day, I have never felt that loneliness again. I have actually changed the word loneliness to lonefullness. When I spend time with myself, I can be as selfish as I like. I can think whatever I want, do whatever I want, say, not say, sing, dance, lie on the floor and look at the ceiling for all I care. The key to this is having no judgment on yourself.
I remember years ago being told time and time again, I needed to learn to love myself. This used to annoy me to no end. I honestly would think, how boring, what is there to love. I feel so sad thinking about how my self worth was so low that the notion of loving myself was a waste of time. But I’m not alone here (pardon the pun). So many people feel this way. So many people in relationships, with families or seeming to “have it all” are some of the loneliest people in the world. We judge the smiles as having it all but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Valentine’s Day this year, I was so excited. I was going to spend the night with myself, pouring love and validation into my cup that would most definitely have a dash of Pinot Noir to mix with it. I couldn’t wait to listen to music, read, think and just ceremoniously be with myself. And then I heard the news, a young woman’s body was found in my apartment block. She had been there for about two weeks before anybody found her. The only thing that alerted to anyone that this woman was not ok, was the smell that flooded 3 floors of the apartment complex.
The saddest thing for me is the fact that most people do not believe that they are in control of their own life. They do not feel the strength in the moments that count to let the feeling pass. Because it does, it passes. Like the tides in the ocean, the weather, the moon rise and the sunset. Like the pulse of life, it all changes. It’s our attachment to expectations or outcomes that keep us in suffering. When we feel no hope in our future, which is an illusion, we attach ourselves to an experience of our past which is also an illusion. No longer in existence and only purposeful when it was in the present which is also no longer in existence.
If our life is riddled with problems, it can be really hard to accept our present moment. The trick here is, to realise that the problems we have are magnified with a projection of how it is going to feel in the future or how it wasn’t around in the past! All past and future related which is where the suffering lies. The present moment, if you simply accept it for what it is, you will find, doesn’t have the capacity to hold on to pain. If you pull yourself into presence, it eliminates the suffering. Just like darkness can not exist in light. When you are present, the pain will dissolve. It may take a couple of minutes and you may find that habitually your mind will take you to your thoughts and you will let that direct you to past or present, more suffering. But just keep practicing. It get’s better with time.
If you find this is too hard to do, go for a walk. Get some fresh air, go get something fabulous to eat, treat yourself. Go see a movie, watch something inspiring on YouTube, listen to your favourite song. But just change it up. Do something different and watch the energy shift.
This too shall pass.