How To Embrace Loneliness

First things first put down your phone. Well, not at this moment since you’re most likely reading this on your phone. Perhaps to fill the lonely spaces you don’t want to confront in your daily life. Passing time, are you?! Time is your friend, each second matters so don’t wish for it pass too quickly. Before you follow the above recommendation, read this first then try the above. By the end of this post, it will all make sense.

It’s so easy to spend hours just scrolling through your phone, isn’t it?!. I appreciate you…those who frequently check the site for a dose of what I like to call life’s whatever’s. Life’s whatever’s as in whatever may be happening in your life or what currently inspires you whether it’s a life lesson or something simple like what jeans should I be wearing this fall or the next recipe to try.

One thing’s for sure, you will never escape that lonely feeling. Particularly if you are trying to escape it. It will become the shadow that has no purpose. It will become a fear that doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t matter if you have a robust social circle or if you have only one friend, loneliness is a state of mind. This is where it exists and this is where it will forever remain for the rest of your life. The truth is we are supposed to be ‘lonely’. We are supposed to experience one on one time, just me myself and I. Let’s not call it loneliness for a minute. Let’s call it idleness. Moments of nothingness are essential. Moments where you still your mind and take your time. Sit by the window and sip a cup of tea alone. These moments recharge the mind and body. Moments like this give your body a moment of rest, something you need so you can function well both mentally and physically. This is an essential part of your overall health. We accept sleep, as an essential part of our lives, we NEED sleep, and yet this is the idlest time in our entire lives. We sleep half of our lives away. I can’t complain the dream world is magical. I love waking up from a good dream. Don’t you?! We understand the benefits of sleep. We know that lack of sleep doesn’t just impact our health but it also impairs our brain function and alters our mood. People seriously aren’t sleeping enough anymore. Guess what? Sleep, it doesn’t cost you anything. It’s the best anti-aging product on the market. If you want to add years to your life and take years off your face, get some sleep. You will notice the difference if you practice good sleep habits in a just a few weeks.


 

WHY ALONE TIME IS ESSENTIAL

Our dreams aren’t the only place where the magic happens, we can experience that magic in our wake state. Which is why I encourage you to put your phone down, stop looking for something to stimulate you and allow your imagination to do what it’s there for. Imagine far off places, imagine the impossible even if it may never be a reality. Find a space in your home, lay in bed a little longer on a Sunday and allow your mind to drift and let your imagination go wild. Remember back when you were young and you would spend summer days looking at the clouds creating shapes and thinking of the universe. When you would colour like it was your part-time job and meticulously pick the right colours. When your parents would ask you what you were thinking and you would say nothing because you were really thinking of nothing, just being.  Along the way, I am not sure when someone taught you/us/me that this state of being wasn’t a good thing. That boredom should be avoided and the loner was a weirdo. That if you enjoy these simple moments alone, a nice long walk, sitting on the porch staring out into the abyss there was something wrong with you. So the cycle began, you began to run away from a very natural state. So much so that something so natural has become unnatural and it scares you. It’s a consumerist world and I suppose if you’re not thinking you’re feeling free with the simplicity of your own company then you’re most likely not worried about what’s on the net or what’s on sale or the latest something you need to buy or the latest propaganda streamed over and over in the news. If you don’t have a jammed pack social life, always on the go, always busy then you’re not living life to the fullest. I know people who can’t bear to spend an hour alone. I have had friends tell me “I just can’t be alone, not ever”. Not ever?! How sad it is to require from others what we can give ourselves, emotional balance and fulfillment. What flawed thinking is this?!

A month or two ago, I talked about being zen. Well, this idea also helps you understand that the void is abundant and needed. It reminds you that we mustn’t fear loneliness….or being alone. If the word loneliness leads to anxiety perhaps think of it as a zen state or a time of self-reflection and meditation. For the fearful perhaps practicing meditation may be a step in the right direction. You can start with 5 minutes and work your way up. The beauty of ‘being zen’ is that there are many ways to achieve this (You can find out more HERE).  It’s important that we confront ourselves in order to accept ourselves. Hold hands with ourselves in order to build and nourish ourselves. A time when we can say….am I okay? Or there you are I have forgotten you. Or there you are I am sorry I forgive you. Whatever is needed in the moment, whatever it is that you NEED will reveal itself during those times. This is something you have to go at alone. You can take the guidance and advice from others to help you comfortably step into this natural state again, but this is about you and only you. The real self-evaluation and self-awakening will take place during these moments. You might come to the realization that you’re running yourself ragged, you’re living an uninspired life or you’re simply covering up an internal misery that is killing you slowly. There is nothing to be afraid of. You will, trust me on this, find the peace you are looking for the more you spend time alone and get reacquainted with YOU. It will become a time you value and look forward to at the end of a long week. Perhaps some music and a long hot bath is in order? Or you can finally read that book you keep putting on hold.

If you’re coupled you may be thinking, how can I do this? My advice to you and your significant other is that it’s important that you both understand the importance of alone time and finding joy while doing so. Not only does this improve your relationships it will allow you to release the idea that someone else is responsible for your happiness, your feelings and essentially your healing. People can help you, but they can’t fix you.  Even a doctor will tell you this. They can mend the wound but it’s what you do after the procedure that will determine how well you recover. Your mind, your will and resilience will determine this. The same goes with love, marriage, and partnership. I am sure those with kids understand this more so than ever, those moments alone, quiet time for you; it’s needed.

Bring to the table what you want to receive. Work on yourself continuously, become self-aware. This will help you in all relationships and increase overall satisfaction. People can contribute to your happiness in beautiful ways but you have to be the engine that keeps this moving abundantly in your life. If you want to get into the right space, you can’t avoid that much-needed alone time. I am sure we can all think of a time in our lives where we tried to fill that void with something or a person and in the end we suffered and in turn hurt someone. The escapist always feels trapped until they unlock those mental shackles.

 

ISOLATION AND LONELINESS ARE NOT MARRIED

I wanted to clear this one up because I can understand where one could view isolation and loneliness as interchangeable. Firstly, connecting with other beings is essential. We are physical and emotional beings. From the moment you are born, you are nurtured by your mother/father and loved ones. Physical presence and touch provide you with the emotional building blocks that not only nourish you but it’s integral to your growth. Babies need this for development and adults need this because it’s the foundation from which you grew from. So it’s true, we NEED each other in many ways as much as we NEED ourselves. So isolating yourself from others, keeping love at an arm’s length isn’t the same thing as being alone for a certain period of time. I am an artist and I explore many artistic medians. During this time I am alone and during this time I only need myself and what moves me in that moment to create. Sure, I create with others, but a lot of artists will tell you there’s a reason why they go off into the woods to a remote cabin to create.

It is when we are alone that we see ourselves, hear ourselves and can freely connect and express what’s within. This doesn’t mean that it’s all about isolation. The connection and experiences, the love and even the hardships of human interaction is important. It is also a driving force to how we learn about ourselves, through the experiences and exchanges with the other. I may create alone, but I know that there are multitudes of forces in my life, this includes people where I have drawn inspiration from or where I have been forced to do some self-reflection. If you are someone who prefers solace and to be alone, this is okay. Some may see it in a negative way. Some people choose to live a simple life that isolates them from the outside world. Here they find contentment and this is the path life has led them on. But remember they can still draw from their previous interactions and connections during their childhood.

In most cases, this is case dependent, isolation is a choice. I am not talking about those in situations that have left them alone and abandoned. I am talking to you, the individual who spends all their time alone because they have concluded this is how it will be. You have concluded that A, B, and C are terrible, so I will just hide away. Or you’re simply work-obsessed, I get it, but to what end? You have decided, I will close my heart to love because who needs it anyway. Maybe you had your heart-broken once or twice and you’re jaded? Bitter? Loneliness is a state of mind, you can be just as lonely in a room full of people as you can sitting alone in the park. Isolation, if by choice, that’s a decision you made. Loneliness and isolation are not spouses who happily co-exist. In my opinion, they hate each other. Loneliness seeks solution and solace where self-imposed isolation is built off of anger and disillusionment. Loneliness will make you ask those tough questions. Where isolation at times will make you ignore everything and everyone even your dear friend loneliness.

 

HOW TO EMBRACE LONELINESS

You will have to learn to accept it before you can embrace it. Before you can see it in a positive light, you have to stop running from it and filling time. Time needs you to stop, breathe, sit and listen. Time needs you to reserve more time to feel those feelings patiently and compassionately. Loneliness...alone time, will then become your solace, as you seek answers within. You will meditate with time as you explore the depths of your being quietly, just you by yourself. No distractions, just you and whatever takes you to a place of stillness. It’s time to change they way we look at being alone. It’s time for us to not be attached to the idea that there must be something wrong if you like to spend an evening alone or even doing an activity alone. However it is, how you spend your one on one time, your me, myself and I time it’s a good thing and it’s needed.

I am not being judgy here, a few weeks back I had a conversation with someone about kids. They talked about how they planned the day with their niece. I remember thinking, when does she get time to just explore her imagination or find creative ways to explore her environment with all the constant stimulation. I remember thinking, this is the new modern way and it’s pretty sad. Here is the IPAD, here is the circus, are you entertained? What’s an imagination? Dreams? This is great when you’re young but as you get older you will realize that there will be no one but you to fill the spaces in-between. You will find it exhausting, the need to fill in the gaps in fear that you just might have to do nothing for an hour. Or self-evaluate or delve into your creativity in order to discover your purpose or activate it for that matter.

My hope is that you remember, that this is needed. It’s okay to turn down the noise for a bit. Slow down little. Open your heart and your arms to stillness. Fully embrace it and when you do this life will speak to you in ways you never imagine. That idea of “I feel alone” won’t haunt you, rather you will start to say “I am not alone”…”I am here” …”I feel you”…”I see you”.  Ask yourself this question: If you don’t like your own company then who will?

 

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Hanifa Sekandi

Founder & Editor-in-Chief Follow Me on Instagram @thethingsiwishiknew

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