Loneliness brought me a great deal of pain many years ago. There were many reasons for this that I sorted out and remedied as the years have passed. I am fortunate to say loneliness has not visited me for a long time. Let me share what I learned and how I encourage others to engage when loneliness visits. Loneliness visits. I say that specifically for that reason. Emotions come and go. They are meant to inform and guide us about ourselves and humanity when put to their best use :) Once the emotion has been used to motivate our actions in the direction of organizing life to satisfy, it passes.
How can loneliness inform us? Asking things like this might be helpful,
* Who knows me? Who knows all of me? Who knows the depths of my heart and soul? * Do I know me? All of me? The depths of my heart and soul? * How much intimacy do I want in relationships? How many intimate relationships do I need to satisfy me? * How much socializing do I need and want? * What is the quality of socializing that most suits and satisfies me? * Do I have the intimacy I crave in my primary relationship(s)? * What am I doing to satisfy my needs of intimacy and socializing so that loneliness passes? * What are the meaningful and enriching experiences of my life and how do they satisfy me?
When we know ourselves well, heart and soul, loneliness already diminishes. When we don't know ourselves, the loneliness has an unconscious, chronic aspect to it that causes deep sadness. As we learn about ourselves, embracing our uniqueness, our needs, our wants, our strengths and vulnerabilities, embracing it all, we become our own best company. This is enormous comfort!
Knowing our socializing preferences, how we most enjoy connecting with others, we can choose the types of events and settings to meet these needs and wants. The cultural norm (for example drinking and dancing at a bar, often having superficial conversation) may not satisfy. That is fine, and does not mean something is wrong with you. It means you prefer other than this type of socializing. I consider myself an example of this. My preference is to have fewer more intimate connections with individuals. I enjoy intimate settings where it is conducive to sharing and simply being present with one another. What I enjoy and find pleasure and fulfillment in is knowing others deeply. Superficial connections are fine in passing and help us to feel part of a greater community, but also can leave an empty feeling. And I have learned to be cautious because engaging in deep and meaningful connections takes time and energy. It's important to honor our available energy, not to overtax it.
If loneliness visits, be kind and gentle with yourself. Offer yourself quality attention and loving kindness. Become more intimate with your needs and wants, what pleases and what enraptures you. Discover how to be your own satisfying company. Seek like-minded company through new experiences, finding new ways to experiment with connecting and relating.
Loneliness means we long for more. Ultimately our longing teaches us about our soul and spirit. These lessons are valuable, always.