“The essential reason for my loneliness is
that I don’t even know
where I belong.”
~ Orhan Pamuk
Many people are not comfortable being alone. And many more people are made uncomfortable by those who seem to enjoy it. Once again, we begin with the definitions to understand what word really mean, and that gives us the firm foundation of discovering the truth of what we think and how we feel; especially as it relates to our own lives and our own inner journey and dialog.
Why do I start these with dictionary definitions? We live in a time when it makes most of us feel really important to appear knowledgeable and smart in front of others. So, often, we simply mimic the use of words without ever truly understanding them. The definitions are not to help us correct our friends and acquaintances, but to correct our own thinking, misunderstandings and misaligned perspectives. Now, you can go around correcting your few remaining friends if you like, but they will not appreciate it if you do it too often.
Let us start with definitions
Definition of lonely: 1. sad because one has no friends or company, 2. without companions; solitary, 3. (of a place) unfrequented and remote.
Definition of solitary: 1. done or existing alone, 2. (of a place) secluded or isolated, 3. a recluse or hermit.
Definition of alone: 1. having no one else present; on one’s own, 2. indicating that something is confined to the specified subject or recipient.
Today’s focus is on being lonely. If you look at the word and the definition, it comes with an emotional component. It has sadness in its very definition. And, for most of us, the sadness comes because it is not a state or condition we wish to be in at that moment. Even for the most solitary of us, there are pangs of sadness.
Being lonely is wishing that things were different than they currently are. Perhaps away from family, friends, significant others. It is however, not meant to be a permanent condition. If we are experiencing true loneliness, then there are a couple of things we can and should do about it.
First, grieve for the loss. Something has changed in your life, that is a loss. We are dealing with a temporary condition. We sometimes struggle with letting our temporary, impermanent condition push us toward life-altering decisions, we would not other make. Grieving doesn’t come and go in a straight line. Allow yourself the time to deal with your feelings. See: 31 Days of Personhood: Day 3: Endings and Beginnings.
Grieve, then get up, and get on with life. What does that mean? It means that after our pity party, we think about the next step forward. Eventually, we want to fill that void with something or someone.
What is the way forward?
1. Know your own needs.
We have just left something behind, and learned valuable lessons from the whole experience, the bitter and the sweet. We have also learned a little bit more about who we are. The next thing we need to do is clarify our own wants and needs. After all, if we do not really know what we want, how will we ever recognize it when you find it?
Know thyself: Know who you are, what you want out of life, and what you absolutely do not want.
When you are able to figure out your own desires and know who you truly are, then you are much more likely to find someone or something to fulfills those desires.
2. Know your value and stick to them.
It is vital that you stand up for the values you find important. It is not impossible to have friendships and bonds with people who disagree with us, but, the foundational values that we hold dear should be shared. This may include your religious or political values, or whatever else is important to you. What are good personal values? The Importance of Personal Values and How to Find Them.
3. Know your goals.
What are your goals? Where do you plan to be in five or ten years? Hanging out with, or building strong relationships where people have very different goals will be difficult.
It is important that you have people in your life with similar goals so everyone is heading in the same general direction.
4. Be true to yourself.
It rarely works out in the longterm for friendships, or even romantic relationships, if you begin by presenting yourself as someone you are not. Eventually you will want to, or need to, drop the mask, and become your true self. So, why not make it easy on everyone, including yourself, by starting out that way.
Loneliness is not a desired, longterm state. It is a temporary condition, which can be worked at, if not immediately corrected. Loneliness is sadness for something lacking.
And, most importantly…
2 and 3: Doc