“So even if the hot loneliness is there, and for 1.6 seconds we sit with that restlessness when yesterday we couldn’t sit for even one, that’s the journey of the warrior.” ~ Pema Chodron
Maybe Feeling Lonely is More Normal than Not Feeling Lonely.
Sometimes I think we have all watched too many Friends episode. That somehow normal has become having a die-hard group of friends that is always there for us, unconditionally, no matter what, making life a funny adventure through all of our ups and downs.
And if we don’t have this, somehow we are a social pariah.
But in fact, I don’t know anyone who lives with this type of communal support.
Everyone I know is just getting by.
Everyone I know often feels alone and often feels like the pressures of their own journey are pushing them under.
That is why I think accepting loneliness as a very normal part of the human journey can help us along. By accepting loneliness as a normal condition, we free ourselves up to have more self-compassion, humor and love for our innate way of being in the world.
Often we interpret loneliness as a sign that we are inadequate. If only we were prettier, more handsome, richer, smarter, funnier or a more interesting person everyone would be beating down the doors to be with us, and then we wouldn’t feel so alone.
However, I think we all know that just because we are with or around other people does not mean we won’t feel alone.
We learn all the time that so many of the famous people whom many of us adore are the most addicted, lonely people around.
There is really no cure for loneliness.
And maybe we need to stop looking so hard for one.
What if instead we just accepted loneliness as a normal condition of our human existence and welcomed it in? We could choose to relax our resistance against loneliness—make our lives easier instead of harder.
When we fight with loneliness, we are striving for things to be different. We are looking everywhere for solutions. I do this often. I wonder, What if I were to join a choir or call more friends for lunch or become more outgoing by going to the bar at night? I blame myself for my own loneliness. I call myself an outsider and think I am causing my own pain. I add the pain of blame on top of the already present pain of loneliness.
But recently I have started to wonder, Why wouldn’t I be lonely? I am alone. I am on a solo soul journey through the infinite land of time, with no clue where I am going or why. In this light, feeling lonely actually seems like the only sane reaction to my ultimate state of reality.
Perhaps feeling lonely is a sign of sanity.
A sign that we understand the reality of our own affairs and are choosing not to hide behind neurosis or the artificial fillers of the consumeristic culture we live in, but instead to actually embrace how it feels to be human.
Of course, there are so many people we love and so many people who love us, and in truth many people who would jump at the chance to offer us support and love when needed. But in the end, all of our choices are our own, and by becoming real with loneliness—in a true experiential manner—we’ll find our choices will also become more real.
Loneliness is here to stay.
No new job, new family, new sport or new hobby is suddenly going to shatter loneliness into a billion pieces and dissolve it forever.
That is why, in my opinion, the only choice for working with loneliness is complete acceptance. Accepting it for the opportunity it is—a chance to see reality more clearly.
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Toby Israel