Loneliness is a hollow kind of pain, a cyclone of strange, static energy that resembles a less active, more fetid version of dread. It can overwhelm many of us with so much desolation and fear that we are unwilling to even begin to acknowledge it. We subconsciously believe that it proves we're not worthy of love, and that allowing it will give it license to stay forever. Loneliness triggers very real terror that is buried deep in our DNA, rooted in ancestral lessons of rejection and abandonment.
It is also profoundly misunderstood.
Loneliness, when examined and allowed, becomes benevolent inspiration. It is the alarm system that takes stock of how much we love ourselves. It is a re-calibration of our personal well-being that tells us whether we are giving ourselves enough support and care. Loneliness is not an enemy; loneliness is a friend. It is a tap on the shoulder, a reminder that we are enough. It takes the opportunity presented by solitude to say to us, “Here you are! Aren’t you perfect?” It asks that we memorize this knowledge, and keep it close by.
When we don't welcome it, when we distract ourselves from it with hobbies, people, work, substances, etc., it does not disappear. It may seem to, but in fact it has simply gone quiet, creating a chasm of repressed sadness while it searches for another opportunity to present itself. It continues to eat away at us, and, in its desperate attempts at release, it leads us all, at some level, to try to prove to everyone we meet that they might as well just leave us alone, since that's what we deserve. Eventually, they usually do, which explains the transience of most personal relationships. When the smoke clears, loneliness is always there waiting, hoping to show us who we are.
When we welcome it, when we sit still with it, breathe, and allow it to make itself heard, its voice softens to a whisper of self-love and forgiveness, and the hollow space it created at its onset fills with solidity and direction. When we are willing to look, it shows us how very special we are. It reveals to us our true potential by introducing us to the parts of ourselves that heretofore have been hidden from view by distraction, avoidance, and denial. It teaches us to find companionship with ourselves. In turn, it shows us how valuable our own companionship really is.
It is frightening beyond words to embrace loneliness; it is an act of bravery to do so. When we find the courage to listen to it, though, we come closer to finding equanimity and balance in our lives. In turn, we no longer believe that the lack of someone or something is the cause of the pain of loneliness. We learn that our loneliness has been with us all along, begging to be healed. We learn to love it, ourselves, and one another, unconditionally.