Today’s guest blog is from bestselling author L. Marie Adeline, who shares her thoughts about loneliness, and the different paths one can take to feel more comfortable being with themselves. I found it very honest and insightful!
I wish someone had told me a long time ago that there was a difference between being lonely and being alone. Being alone is just a fact. It’s the math of life. If you are by yourself you are alone, you are solitary, you are in the state of solitude. But being alone, and feeling alone, are quite distinct states. When you feel alone, despite having friends and family who care about you, you are experiencing loneliness. And it can be an awful feeling, especially when you don’t want to be alone, or when you resist that aloneness. What’s worse is feeling alone in a roomful of people. You are surrounded by fellowship and yet you might as well be stuck in a dark, windowless room.
One of the side effects of healing oneself, whether by body, mind or soul, is that you begin to enjoy your own company again. You don’t even notice the times when you’re alone, because you don’t feel lonely. You simply “are”. I’ll break it down:
1) Loneliness is not a bad thing. It’s telling you change is necessary.
2) Loneliness can only be tackled one step at a time. You can’t run from it, you can’t ignore it, and you can’t overcome it overnight.
3) You can’t resist loneliness. You have to feel it, understand it and even, dare I say, make friends with it. Try meditation. I swear it works.
4) Loneliness is telling you to cultivate some kind of connection to a higher power, whether you call it God, Goddess, Nature, Universal Connectivity, the Divine Other, or Joey. It has to mean something to you and it has to feel real. You can do this through prayer, quiet contemplation, the aforementioned meditation practice, taking in a natural setting, or sipping coffee in a window. People can only help so much.
5) Reach out. But not by telling people how lonely you are. People can’t fix your loneliness, they can only tell you how they’ve overcome it. So ask. Ask the most vivacious person you know about how they deal with those awful empty feelings. Because everyone’s felt them. That’s the only kind of reaching out that’s truly healing. Ask, then listen. Listen to what it feels like for other people to feel lonely. Ask them what caused it, what they did to try to fix it. Then keeping listening. The act of listening is best way to beat back those feelings of emptiness and disconnection. Why? Because the best way to help yourself is to help others.