One can be alone, in their own company, and feel entirely connected and at peace with the world, just as one can be in a crowd and feel miserably lonely — Epictetus
There’s probably not a more desperate feeling than being in a room full of people and feeling completely alone.
I feel this way all the time. A wallflower. Observer, great listener, but hardly existing in anyone else’s world. I feel like this at home, out and about, wherever and with whomever. Always on the outside looking in.
I feel it a lot, and you might too if you’re reading this, for various reasons. We’re still living in a pandemic and if you have children, the feeling of loneliness may be intensified because you keep them safe by staying home and they are all you have to talk to and they need snacks like you need human interaction. Ah, the “new normal,” yay.
It also probably doesn’t help that we’re all “burned out” and every article you scroll by is another article confirming that we are all, in fact, “burned out”, but at least we’re all in it together.
If I’m honest, I was burned out well before the pandemic. I live rurally, moved after having my first child to this place in the woods without knowing hardly a soul. It’s hard making friends as an adult, which I did not know — and it’s harder when you have kids to juggle. I left a seriously busy social life in Nashville and moved to the mountains — what was I thinking? (Another story for another time.)
I’ve chalked up my feelings of being lonely into feeling bad for myself. “No friends, what’s wrong with me?” Between having four children and living where I live, then going head first into a pandemic, there really hasn’t been a lot of time for me to make friends, and then, I’m not great a being social in teh first place, so inserting myself is rather tough. And then, who has time anyway?
I’ve come to terms that I have a lot of children, suffer from anxiety and depression, and recently, I’m embracing the fact that I deserve to be and feel alone.
You’re probably thinking, “that’s weird and she must be on her way to starting another pity party (I did just admit to that above) and I should probably close out this window and quit wasting my time”
Touche, or I could be starting a new cult that manipulates others who also feel lonely.
But, I’m not. You can trust me.
Actually, I hope you’re reading this because you feel a similar feeling, so I’m going to tell you why you deserve to feel this way and what you can gain from it.
Loneliness brings out the best in you. Seriously.
What if, in this moment, you take a step back and instead of grasping at just anything (especially your TikTok apparatus,) you grasp at what you truly want? What if you stop doubting yourself, your abilities, your positive bits, and just moved on and did something great for yourself?
What if you turned off the “what’s wrong with me?” worry brain and turned it into, “I can use this time and make something happen — that could bring me true joy.”?
What if this time of loneliness is time that you can give yourself to read all the books, watch all the movies, write a love story, create art with your hands, run wild and not give fuck? What if the Universe (God, Source, etc.) is saying “Here, this is for you, you are free to slow down and not keep up, lose yourself and create! I love you. This is a gift, not a hindrance.”
What if loneliness is exactly what you need?
Is this blowing your mind right now?
I began writing this as a thought about how you need friends and my resolution was to “put myself out there” but then I started reading Brianna Weist who’s way with words always makes me feel extremely comfortable about where I am.
“Loneliness isn’t the physical absence of other people — it’s the sense that you’re not sharing anything that matters with anyone else.” — Johann Hari (From the book, Lost Connections.)
This isn’t to say that during a pandemic lifestyle or a stay-at-home parent lifestyle, that it doesn’t bring out the monotony of everyday life that can make you feel helpless, alone, and dull, but now, you and I can break through that with a simple mindset shift, that we need to feel this.
And you can get through it.
More Reasons Why Loneliness is Beneficial:
- Creates Empathy
- Practice Resilience & Patience
- Develop self-compassion
- Prioritize Creativity
- Learn New Skills
- Pursue Passions
- Try New Hobbies
- Become a Better Human
- Write, Create, Share
- Volunteer or join a group — provide a service that gives back to your community
Chances are, if you are feeling lonely and can project those feelings into a positive experience by shifting your reasoning around why you’re lonely, all the things you could do with this gift of time will eventually lead you to a place where you no longer feel lonely. Or you come to appreciate being lonely.
Learning, creating, and sharing will inevitably create some sense of belonging, which we are hard-wired to be (belonging and connecting.)
Let me part you with this final thought: There’s only one letter difference between lovely and lonely.