I’m a human who lives alone, and I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes it hurts. I love being alone, but sometimes alone can turn into lonely, and sometimes I curl up into a ball and cry because the pain is just too much to bear in any other position. So I get it out and, to keep myself from getting stuck in a fog of it, I keep moving. I have my cry and then I summon my strength and I do something about it. I see clearly that I could be a sad lonely person, or I could be someone who lives alone. And I won’t have anyone pitying me – especially not myself.
So the volta comes when you’re slumped on the floor or stuck in your bed and you realize what’s happening. Yes, you could watch Netflix all day just to hear other people’s voices or you could drown your sorrows in ice cream or booze – but none of that will make them go away. Those are temporary fixes, and really they only leave the true problem to fester, making you worse off than before. The longer you ignore an issue, the harder it becomes to handle. So, in this critical moment – what will you choose? Will you face your problem, or will you run away?
I’m not a coward, and I know you’re not, either. So we begin –
- By accepting that sometimes we feel lonely. It happens. And it’s okay – no need to feel ashamed about it. It hurts a bit, yes, but it’s a part of being human and there’s nothing inherently wrong with it.
- Have your feelings. Let your loneliness live and breathe. Crying is the most efficient way to move emotional energy out of the body, which is why, when I only have a few minutes or I can’t quite get myself out of bed for yoga or a workout, I find it to be most effective. But what works for you? Maybe you box or run or lift weights – movement of the body spreads to the emotions. I recommend Yoga With Adriene on Youtube – she has gentle hatha videos with titles like “Yoga for Anxiety” and “Yoga for When You’re in a Bad Mood.” Breathe it out.
- Do something with it. You’ve emptied yourself – after a good cry, you hit a refreshing point of clarity and self-awareness. A calm might wash over you as you see why you are lonely and maybe it becomes clear what you can do about it. Maybe you need to call a friend. Maybe the issue is that you have no friends to call, but don’t despair – pick up a pen or a keyboard or a guitar or a paintbrush; innovation and artistic achievement primarily happen alone. Be a friend to yourself. If you feel misunderstood in the world, the least you can do is strive to know yourself.
- Get comfortable with your alone – make peace with your loneliness. The pain will crop up now and then, but you can handle it. Once you figure out how to do that, it’s like leveling up in alone time. Once loneliness is no longer a looming specter on the horizon but, instead, an annoying friend whose visits you are prepared for, you clear out space for yourself, enabling levels of productivity and drive that you could have been muddling with Netflix or pizza.
When you feel deserted – don’t desert yourself. You have all the compassion and kindness and love inside that you need, all it takes is giving it to yourself. You give so much to other people – you’re just as worthwhile as they are. I think you’ll find the extra effort to be quite rewarding – I know I do.
How do you handle loneliness? What are little things that make it easier for you?
Love, calm, & care –