Perhaps you just had a heart-wrenching breakup, or suffered the devastation of losing a loved one. Or maybe an inexplicable sense of abandonment or neglect has been your lifelong companion and true to your heart, you absolutely hate being alone.
With adages such as “no man is an island” and the all-too-familiar “you’ll never walk alone”, society has instilled in us an innate phobia–or stigma–of being alone. Indeed, man was most possibly created to be a social creature, but does the receding silhouette of a lone ranger necessarily negate the image of a person being alone with himself or herself?
I grew up spending time mostly alone due to compromising circumstances. I was undeniably lonely and I longed for an intimate companionship to feed the starved soul of my deprived person. One day I thought I’d found the companion I never had–my bosom buddy; my soul mate; my husband-to-be (or so I thought). I thrived on the affections afforded by this company and fondly bade goodbye to a distasteful life of loneliness.
Unfortunately, life isn’t Disney and my prince walked out on me, leaving behind his footsteps a broken and battered mess of tears and emotional bruises. Reality reared its ugly head in my face and plunged me back into a life of loneliness all over again. I felt as though my life had hit the end of the road for it had come full circle back to square one.
I cried buckets.
But as I drowned myself in those tears of sorrow and grief with my head ten feet underwater, the whole experience slowly became sensibly sobering. It dawned on me that loneliness is but a social construct in essence, indoctrinated into our heads since those years of running among other kids in the nursery playground. We are conditioned to pride social interaction and integration, but why shouldn’t we be taught to prize independence and individualism?
Now that I have to learn to live life on my own again, I want to be able to enjoy being alone with myself and embrace the intricate affections that only I can pamper myself with. For all the pains and weariness endured, I want to say to myself, “I understand your unhappiness full well.” For all the joys and successes enjoyed, I want to say to myself, “I know how much this means to you and I want to celebrate with you.” For who else can claim to understand our feelings better than ourselves?
Such is the solace that can be sought only in solitude. And such solitude is not lonely.
It will most certainly take time for one to be able to fully grasp this discourse of solitude. It will most probably cost some tears and agony. But with the measure of tears that you shed, by that same count will you grow in strength of the self. And in the silence of your pain and loneliness, know that you are not alone in being alone.
Lastly, always remember to give yourself credit for simply being you with yourself.
Thank you, you.
This article is written by Elizabeth.