November 14, 2017

Can being Alone save us from Feeling Lonely?

Being filled full, to being fulfilled.

We all have had moments of enjoying our solitude, feeling complete and fulfilled in our own presence. We all have also probably had those moments of feeling lonely and fragmented despite being surrounded by people.

Even with all the apps promising to help me stay connected (and consuming my phone battery), I was feeling lonelier day by day. I became less interested in things I used to enjoy before, and started getting bored sooner. This manifested in my relationships in the form of constant blame, arguments, and fights.

I noticed it is not the number of friends we have or the number of parties we attend, that determine how wholesome or fragmented we feel, but the extent to which we are able to connect to one another.

I was missing real, raw, and intimate conversations, I realised—the ones in which we have the freedom to pour our hearts out without the worry of being judged. The ones in which vulnerability is honoured and seen as a symbol of courage, rather than as a weakness to be fixed. The ones in which the speaker and listener merge in silence, dropping the masks that hold us apart.

With the growing need to succeed and move faster than life itself, it has become hard to find people who have the time and space to accommodate someone’s vulnerability. Many of us, by default, direct our need to be heard and accepted toward our romantic partners—but our partner’s role is not to fulfill our unmet needs. They are here to support us as we take our inner journey, not to walk the path for us.

I didn’t want to live the rest of my life feeling lonely and disconnected; I was determined to do something about it. Instead of seeking listeners, I decided to become one—after all, it was something I had always enjoyed. I started with listening to my own thoughts and feelings, which I hadn’t paid enough attention before. I dedicated 30 minutes of my everyday routine to sitting in silence, giving space to any thoughts or feelings to arise, and listening to them with love—no judgement, no fixing involved.

It did wonders in my life. I began to nurture a more intimate relationship with myself and the ones around me. I became more comfortable being alone in my silence, and for longer hours. I felt my need to be understood by my partner diminish, and had more time and space to offer her instead.

We can all learn to take better care of ourselves by listening to our feelings, being curious about our emotional triggers, being willing to travel underneath our fears, and offering kindness to ourselves. The more we feel connected to our body, mind, and soul, the more we discover our own wholeness. And by extension, this practice creates the space within us to listen to and hold others.

Interesting as it may sound, being alone might save us from feeling lonely. It just might be the key to transforming from being filled full, to being fulfilled.

Slow Down.

“Slow down my friend, slow down.
That’s the least we can do when we find ourselves off track.

Increasing speed is not always the answer to becoming faster.
Sometimes we need to relax and let things be.

We need to take a break and to be with ourselves.
Be silent, listen to our voice, feel our feelings,
and dance to our tune, before it’s too late.

At times we need to slow down to become faster.
At times we need to slow down to become safer.

In our silence, we will discover our inner voice.
In our slowing, we will discover life’s speed.
In our aloneness, we will discover our wholeness.”



Author: Arjun Som
Image: @elephantjournal/Instagram
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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Arjun Som