I sat with her, listening to her story of being alone and feeling overwhelmed by her loneliness. It had been years of marriage, then the divorce but still some child was around. All the children eventually leave home and choose to go away to college. Funny how they choose not to go near the dad nor stay near the mom. They moved to their spheres. After years of a on again off again relationship the relationship finally came to end. The end coincided with the empty nest. Friendship were for not.
She found herself alone and drowning in her loneliness. Was it the impact of being alone? Was it the loneliness? Was it the break up? Was it the empty nests? She went to work Monday through Friday. Attempted to fill her time so as not to sink into her loneliness. One would think that attending events, happy hours, activities would fill her loneliness; yet, she found herself returning home after the events with tears not understanding the waterfall from her eyes.
Curiosity took her to research being alone. Chains unloosened as she gleaned a new perspective to being alone:
- Being alone is okay. Sometimes, no most of the time okay is good enough.
- Being alone helps one look at life with curiosity- nothing is mundane. Listening skills are sharpened. One’s eyes see with renewed perspectives. Like a small child first experiencing a butterfly with wonder life becomes awe filled.
- Silence is indeed golden. Being alone rewires our brain toward an increased peaceful state to experience life’s present wonders in the now.
- Being alone would not last forever. After all we are made for relationships.
Now loneliness is another animal. Loneliness carries a psychological impact that is subjective based on how one feels in connection with others. Loneliness often has the person feeling isolated which makes them isolative. Chronic loneliness has links to struggling with Bipolar disorder, anxiety, stress, and depression. Perceived or reality loneliness is real.
She became friends with Alone. No longer did she begrudge her time by herself. Being alone became a time of self renewal as she took time to know herself and love herself. With loneliness she found balance. She dared to go to Meetups, happy hours, or community events and talk to others. She even dabbled in on line dating and was confident in herself to not get involved in relationship that were not beneficial to her soul. She took time to become involved in causes she cared about but prior for reasons was not able to roll up her sleeves and get involved.
Who is she? She is you. She is me. She is the freshman college student that went away to college. She is the partner that feels distant from her partner. She is the one that feels alone in the crowd. She just moved to a new state or a new job where everything is new and strange. She realized that being alone was part of a transition to know herself and better herself for connections in relationships.
She is daring. She is life to behold.
Please note that chronic being alone or the chronic feeling of loneliness requires some help. No man is an island unto himself. So please, if you find yourself in extended feelings of desolation, withdrawn, melancholy, or gloom reach out – there is someone that care.