Loneliness is a painful state of seeking that which you so crave, that which you so think you need that would put an end to your excruciating existence….
Only loneliness goes unfulfilled by those cravings. External sources may temporarily soothe the distress of loneliness, but they don’t cure loneliness.
Loneliness is the need to be present to ourselves.
I am writing about “loneliness & the cure,” with the awareness and clarity that come from personal experience with this subject and from healing it at its root.
For anyone who has never felt loneliness, one word describes it quite well:
Loneliness feels like emotional torture.
Torture conjures images of suffering. If loneliness lasts too long it does turn into suffering as it is excruciatingly painful way of feeling. It isn’t proportional to how many persons are in our life. Even when others care for us, when we feel lonely it is as if they are ghosts.
Loneliness is not about being socially isolated. We are never alone although we may be cut-off from others. But, others being around us is not the cure to our feelings of loneliness.
Loneliness is more a state of being although it can appear to also be a mindset. Since we can always reach out to others, often to others it can seem like we make a choice to be lonely. But, loneliness is more than an attitude or mental-emotional disposition. It is a false notion of separation.
Loneliness is needing our own company.
My existence was filled with backdrop pain. I felt unhappy and didn’t realize how powerless I felt.
I knew I needed peace. But, I thought peace was attached to my circumstances. I tried to change others but of course that didn’t work. Changing myself didn’t seem to come fast enough to relieve the pain. That’s how bad or how much pain I felt. I wanted relief immediately because the pain seemed eternal.
The pain of loneliness felt like I was in a pitch dark room even when there was daylight. And when night did come loneliness disturbed my sleep. Tears unexpectedly streamed down my face but crying never relieved my aching feelings.
I wanted to escape loneliness but any path seemed hopelessly endless. Loneliness didn’t seem optional, but felt like a prominent consuming emptiness. On better days there were moments I just felt dull rather than numb. I couldn’t shake off the almost debilitating feelings.
Loneliness felt like a profound absence.
Being alone can seem like the worst thing when you feel lonely. The idea of embracing loneliness seems to lack compassion. The sincere truth is that embracing our loneliness is the most compassionate thing we can do for ourselves.
The cure can be found in being alone. Only there are some criteria that need to be clear as we set out to spend time alone. I didn’t know it then, but I can see it with sheer clarity now.
I needed to listen, be nurturing, gently supportive of myself and to touch myself in every sense.
I needed TLC.
The T standing for tenderness from myself. The L, for listening to myself. And C, for caressing myself.
Often we seek that TLC from others, however, it cannot cure what has to come from us. I’ve come to learn that before we can really love or care for others we have to do it very genuinely for ourselves. Sometimes it is very challenging because of our upbringing. We may seek validation from the outside rather than from the inside and so we contradict the very need that uproots loneliness.
The TLC I needed was me being a very loving mother to myself. Being tender and gentle to invite myself to be present so I could listen to myself. Listen without evaluating myself. Being present and tender to suspend judgment of myself. Listening deeply and fully not to fix or change anything, but just to understand. Listening with empathy to be tender with my pain. Being tenderly present to be self-empathic.
What arose through tender presence and empathic listening was my heart’s natural instinct to caress myself like a mother caresses her child. At first, I wanted that touch to come from another. Once I had the courage to fully feel my deep pain, I caressed myself from the inside out and fell asleep. When I awoke, I was lighter and didn’t feel lonely.
I was alone but there was freedom in my alone.
When I could be alone or with others and didn’t feel alone. When I knew I could be there for myself. When I began to enjoy time alone.
The freedom of alone is priceless. Being alone but not feeling lonely is freeing and priceless. Alone I explored my reality and tested the boundaries of life.
The cure is in reconnecting to self as loneliness is about the attention and love that only we can give ourselves. The root of loneliness is our own absence from our life. The pain points us to the need to be present to ourselves.
While there are reasons for checking out, fundamentally it is about paying attention to what we’ve neglected to hear. For me it was about the unsettling turmoil that had me pining peace and affection onto others. Initially, I couldn't find peace because I’d buried my pain so deeply. Later, I felt so lost because I was so disconnected that I needed solitude to reflect and remember.
I needed loneliness to remember that I am never separate from Source. I needed my own attention and time. Not just time to heal or discover myself but to embrace life.
I turned to myself.
I needed loneliness to rebirth my loving self. Loneliness was the catalyst that shattered the false notion of separation.
Having experienced loneliness I’ve come to appreciate the invaluable love of self and others. I’m more willing to fully give of myself and take no one and nothing for granted. Thanks to my once lonely heart I understand the preciousness of moments alone and together.
I am never really alone. None of us is ever alone. There may be days when we can feel lonely and alone yet we can choose to remember the truth. The universal human experience of loneliness is a temporary condition that serves to rehumanize us.
Once in awhile you and I can remind each other that we are not alone.
We can always reach out, but we must always reach in!
During distressful moments, inside there is peace. We don’t have to battle loneliness. We just have to be brave and give ourselves attention to feel what is underlying the incessant pain.
When we do find the bravery to be with loneliness what emerges and remains is the serenity of being.
Have you caressed your soul by embracing your lonely heart?