Solitude Is Home Turf

Loneliness

A friend said to me, “I’m lonely everywhere. It’s fine.” 

I often feel lonely and I don’t like the feeling. Sometimes I feel homesick too, which is confusing because I haven’t had a “home” for over 10 years.

I spend most of my time alone. Often, I’ll spend a month in a new city and have only 2 or 3 social occasions during that time. I love being on my own. The days are long, my thoughts are clear and I can do exactly what I want, when I want.

But there is a point, after day 5 or 6, or maybe even day 10, when the bottom all of a sudden drops out and loneliness takes hold. It’s horrible. My mind, that up to now, had been a very pleasant place to spend time, sides against me. Quite quickly, I start to think it would be ok if I just died. In fact, it would be a relief. I lose all sense of objectivity and am riddled with doubts and insecurities. 

Loneliness has become so common to me that I wanted to try to break it down. 

I experience loneliness as a longing for reassurance. Reassurance that I’m acceptable, pretty, loveable or something. I imagine there is a spectrum—from people who experience loneliness acutely to people who have a far higher tolerance for solitude. Homesickness feels similar but more like a longing for a place guaranteed to give me that reassurance. The place I am least likely to feel judged.

I think our minds have a tendency to turn mean when we are alone “too long”. We seek reassurance from our peers that we’re not crazy because being alone is a vulnerable place to be. When I realise that that my mind is actually trying to protect me, usually I soften and can do something about it. I spend time with a friend. Sometimes a long phone call is enough. I am reassured that I am not completely flawed and unloveable and life starts to brighten up again. 

Now I am ok with loneliness because I understand that it is a healthy intuition that I need to change something.

H/T to @chriswillx for the title that I took from a conversation we had.

8 comments

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  • You are not completely alone – the irony is that your Yoga 15 provides serenity and peace to many people – so even if you aren’t always aware of it, remember that you’re valued and appreciated and have created something that’s helping to relieve pain in others, to make them healthier, which is a big step toward having a better life.

    Apart from this , it’s also ironic that – they say – loneliness is an epidemic now – so… somehow “we” are connected in our loneliness.

    The virtual worker /remote /nomad life is also inherently lonely and takes a concerted effort to overcome.

    I hope you can feel some of the peace that you’re transmitting to others.

    • Thank you. As you say, the freedom of a nomadic life does leave us vulnerable to loneliness. But you’re right. So many of us our lonely even though we think we’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing. I feel peace just reading that I am giving serenity to others. Thank you!

    • Thank you Maria. I will definitely listen to that episode. I haven’t heard of Emily but I love the way you describe her and the images on her site.

    • Lovely: “Loneliness isn’t just a negative state, to be vanquished or suppressed. There’s a magical aspect to it too.”

  • Please keep writing your articles when you have time. Your thoughts are
    inspiring and I believe that the discovery of Yoga15 is the highlight of
    the pandemic for me so far. It will be what sees me through. I am getting so
    strong that it seems like a miracle ! Thank you.