Loneliness is a part of the human condition. Whether we are single or in a relationship, there are moments when we feel completely alone.
We have been culturally conditioned to avoid loneliness because it brings with itself uncomfortable emotions like pain, grief, anxiety, powerlessness or helplessness.
But what we have not been taught is that all these painful feelings constitute a part of the entire range of human emotional spectrum and are a completely natural part of human condition.
When we do not face our dark emotions, they do not go away; instead, they hide in our subconscious mind and become our shadow side.
It is only when we embrace all these painful emotions and face our shadow side, can we develop into a well rounded and evolved human being.
It is only when we embrace loneliness, can we turn it into a beautiful experience of solitude.
Here are 5 truths about loneliness and how we can deal with it:
1) Loneliness is a part of the human condition and we are alone, essentially in the things that are most important and intimate to us.
We all crave social connections. It is how we are wired. That’s why we have to develop skills to be interdependent and live in harmony with others.
But the paradox of human condition is that no matter how many connections we have, we still are an individual with our own boundaries and others are individuals with their own boundaries. We all have different tastes, preferences, belief systems and we are at different stages of evolution.
We cannot completely mesh or merge with the other.
There come times in our lives, like some sort of crisis, loss, transitions, or self-discovery journey, when we have to experience the fact that each one of us is alone on this journey, especially in the things that are most important and intimate to us.
These are areas where we have to walk alone and no one can walk these paths for us.
The feeling of loneliness in such situations can bring about uncomfortable emotions like pain, grief or anger but understanding the fact that we are on our own in these areas, we will be able to move through these painful emotions with resilience.
“We are unutterably alone, essentially, especially in the things most intimate and most important to us.” – Letters to a young poet, Rainer Maria Rilke.
2) Loneliness can turn into a vicious circle if you keep avoiding it
When loneliness hits us, it can bring with itself intense emotions of pain, anxiety, helplessness, and anger, and our first instinct is to avoid or numb our pain with distractions or addictions.
But avoiding loneliness through addictions or distractions is only like a band-aid that we put on our wound and it just locks us into a vicious circle.
Whenever the bout of loneliness hits us, our first instinct is to grab a drink or call a friend but we do not sit to face and feel the emotion. We think that the pain will be too much to bear and the negative emotions will stay forever.