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Some days, I feel utterly lonely.
A lonely that seeps into my bones, straight through to the marrow.
This loneliness has always been a part of me: an ache inside to belong, to be accepted, to be surrounded by…not necessarily people, but something. And also, a deep need to be completely solo, to feel space around me, to know that I can exist alone, to know that I belong—even if just to myself.
These feelings often coexist in my body and my mind. And when they all bubble up to the surface, it can be difficult to figure out what I need in that moment.
Do I need to call a friend?
Do I need to ask my partner for attention?
Do I need to put on some music and have a solo dance party?
Do I need to take a drive?
Do I need to plan a girls’ night?
Do I need a glass of wine and a Netflix binge?
Do I need to get on my mat and stretch?
Do I need a group FaceTime with my mom and sisters?
Do I need people…or do I just need myself?
The answer changes, depending on the day, but the one thing that helps is sitting inside the loneliness and asking these questions. Digging into the uncomfortable sensations and recognizing what my body and my heart are yearning for.
What is this version of lonely calling for?
Here are 13 quotes to soothe us when we’re struggling to sit with our loneliness and decide what it’s asking of us:
“I’m lonely. And I’m lonely in some horribly deep way and for a flash of an instant, I can see just how lonely, and how deep this feeling runs. And it scares the sh*t out of me to be this lonely because it seems catastrophic.” ~ Augusten Burroughs
“Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.” ~ Douglas Coupland
“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson
“I am a lover without a lover. I am lovely and lonely and I belong deeply to myself.” ~ Warsan Shire
“Art makes us less lonely because it always comes from the desperate center of the artist—and each of our centers is desperate. That’s why good art is such a relief.” ~ Glennon Doyle
“The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.” ~ Lorraine Hansberry
“No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don’t.” ~ Stephen King
“What would tomorrow bring? I wondered. Both hands on the wheel, I closed my eyes. I didn’t feel like I was in my own body; my body was just a lonely, temporary container I happened to be borrowing. What would become of me tomorrow I did not know.” ~ Haruki Murakami
“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” ~ bell hooks
“When we feel lonely, when we feel hopeless, what we want to do is to move to the right or the left. We don’t want to sit and feel what we feel. We don’t want to go through the detox. Yet the middle way encourages us to do just that. It encourages us to awaken the bravery that exists in everyone without exception, including you and me.” ~ Pema Chödrön
“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
“Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.” ~ Janet Fitch
“the irony of loneliness is we all feel it at the same time—together” ~ Rupi Kaur
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