Last Updated on Friday, 14 October 2011 21:51
Loneliness...being alone...it has different meanings depending on our different experiences. I used to fear it...turn cartwheels to avoid it...plan and stay ridiculously busy to make sure I was never...lonely.
Why did I feel this way? Especially since I found myself craving alone time! It was such an internal contradiction.
As an only child, I was alone a lot. I craved the ability to run next door and play with a friend, but we lived in a very adult neighborhood. My parents travelled a lot as well...and when they were away it was particularly lonely for me. I missed them with a desperation that would overwhelm me.
And the most important part of this is that as a child I could do little about my circumstances. I was at my parents' "mercy" so to speak.
So as an adult, whenever I was placed in a position of being alone as a result of someone else's discrimination, I panicked. My unconscious mind remembered what had felt so overwhelming to me as a child, and I immediately became desperate once again.
Until one day when I found myself completely alone for the first time. My former husband decided he no longer wanted to be married, and he left without a word. My world crashed in and I did feel exactly like a child. In fact for a while, my adult children found themselves taking care of me.
I couldn't bear the empty place aside me in my bed. I couldn't eat breakfast because there was no chatter in the kitchen. I went for a swim in the pool and burst into tears and never went in it again. I did not know how to live...with myself.
Over the next year, I learned. And it was such a valuable and important lesson in my life. And for the first time in my life, I can truly say now that I enjoy my own company! It was definitely worth the journey. No longer do I fear lonliness. I now see it is one of the many signals my body, mind or soul sends me to let me know what I need. I am no longer helpless in answering the call. I can pick up the phone and call a friend...I can visit a neighbor...I can take a class.
When I feel lonely now, I take a few minutes and explore inside of me...what do I need...what do I truly need?
Do I need to have fun with a friend...do I need to notice the loneliness of another and extend the hand of companionship?
It changes...moment to moment. Life always does. The challenge is remembering that fact when our fears of the past reappear. If we can see the feelings of powerlessness as just that, perceptions from our childhood, then we have the comfort of knowing that in this moment, we have choices...lots and lots of choices. Including enjoying our alone time and being our best own companion...or calling a friend....or making a new one!
What are your feelings of loneliness trying to help you discover?