If you have ever felt genuine, prolonged loneliness, then you will know how painful it can be. Human beings are social creatures and we have evolved to thrive on interaction.
Yes, even the most introverted among us. We all need to talk to other people and to be acknowledged. In fact, psychological studies have shown a strong correlation between feeling invisible to others and the onset of psychosis. This is often found in the homeless population, who are ignored on a daily basis.
Even I can get too much alone time
I love my own company. I can happily go all day only talking to myself. In fact, my love of alone time is what led me to being a writer. But with that said, even I can get too much alone time. However, although it is painful to be alone with our own thoughts for too long, there are always lessons to be learned in the experience.
It was a restorative experience
Two years ago I left a five-year relationship and moved from the city to the coast. I had always craved being by the sea, and it was my dream to live somewhere quiet with a beach. I dreamt of the sea air, the wide-open space, and yes, the alone time!
For the most part of my time there was a restorative experience. I got a lot of fresh air and plenty of writing done. But I did start to get lonely. Just in little waves at first. And then it grew the longer I isolated myself for. I am grateful for this experience because, although it was painful, this forced period of introspection gave me a better understanding of myself than my previous two years of therapy.
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Being right in the middle of my loneliness made me understand its power
The desire to not be all alone in the world, for me at least, had been the driving force to get into my last relationship. And indeed, all the relationships before that one. I had always sort of ‘ended up’ unhappy. I say it that way, because we like to pretend these things just happen to us. I think the truth is that we make these things happen, perhaps not consciously, but we are in the driving seat.
Whenever I had found myself in a casual relationship, I would always let things progress to become more serious. I never used to stop and ask myself if this person was really good for me, or if a future with this person was really the future I would choose for myself, rather than one that I would just accept because it was better than being alone.
It was something of a mental detox
That period of time alone by the sea was something of a mental detox and gave me a huge sense of perspective. Instead of reacting to my loneliness after the breakup by simply jumping into the next relationship, the physical space around me forced me to be alone with my own mind.
For the first time in my life I listened to my inner voice properly, and I understood where I had been going wrong. When I did start a new relationship I made a conscious choice to do so. Instead of just letting life ‘happen to me,’ I went after the guy I wanted and I am very happy to report that things worked out great.
I think we are all afraid to listen to our own inner voice just because we can hear something we don’t want to hear. This is probably why we are all constantly numbing ourselves with distractions such as TV and keeping so busy all the time. When you do stop and listen to your inner voice, do not be afraid of it. It actually wants the best for you. Try to listen.