We aren’t afraid to be alone; we are afraid of feeling lonely.
In the age of digital everything, on-demand dating and online shopping, it’s easy to end up feeling isolated and without optimal social interaction. I want to validate that isolation is a huge problem within our society, however, I want to focus on another issue that is discussed less often.
That issue is self-abandonment, and I can speak on it from clinical experience and from the direct experience of “leaving myself” quite frequently. Self-abandonment is what I define as true loneliness. I believe that this is what we fear when we approach being alone, or being without stimulation & distraction from the external world.
We have a tendency to disconnect from the parts of ourselves that need the most love and attention. We discount our intuition, our feeling self-the self that has been developed intimately, based on all the life experiences we’ve accumulated. Our true north. The inner compass is invaluable, our greatest resource, and we turn on it because it’s inconvenient. We turn away from the truth inside of ourselves. Instead of staying with our sadness, learning from it and nurturing it, we drink, we drug, we fuck. We leave ourselves, we abandon our inner world that’s begging for our care and acknowledgement. We eat, we move really fast, we make plans 7 nights a week in attempt to run from the intimacy with ourselves that will heal that very sadness we’re running from. We leave our sorrow all alone like a crying child, and who’s going to take care of it? Will it be Joe from Tinder?
We leave ourselves for other people, we discount our wants and needs to keep others happy, we ignore ourselves and our hurts to avoid being honest and assertive, to avoid loss and change, to avoid our light and our potential. We don’t take responsibility for ourselves, so we give it to an outside thing. We give it to our partners, we want them to take care of us more than we are willing to take care of ourselves. We put ourselves on the backburner, we allow our boundaries to get leaky, we overwork when our bodies need rest, we perpetually disconnect from our emotions.
And that is true loneliness, leaving ourselves and forgetting how to get back to home base (ourselves). It always goes back to that core question of whether or not we can really take care of ourselves. This is something we come up against so often, but it slides right under our conscious awareness. As adults, can we care for ourselves? Can we be there for ourselves? Do we feel deserving of our own tender care and attention?
When the stimulus dissolves, and the night gets quiet- when we find ourselves alone, when we reach a point where “the outside stuff” isn’t working anymore. When we’ve tried to fill our cups with spiritual texts, with yoga, with “healthy coping skills” and we STILL feel inner disconnect, we know that what we need to do is stop and attend to our feelings. We have to turn towards ourselves.
We’ve hit an edge. It’s time to connect with ourselves. We NEED ourselves. Society needs us to take better care of ourselves emotionally. How can a true healing happen if we are plugged into everything BUT our own hearts?
When you’re alone with someone who you know will support you when you’re down, someone who will listen to you no matter what, someone who sees you, hears you and cherishes you on all levels, then you can relax and recognize your inherent wholeness, your worthiness.
The person you’re alone with is always you.
We can be that person for ourselves. We are what we’ve been looking for on the outside. We can provide the love, the listening and the space for our inner world to be fully felt and taken care of. This alleviates the loneliness that we’ve come to fear. We are saying, “I’m here for you, no matter what” and we are saying it to ourselves.
What can possibly bring more peace?
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