The Empowerment of Loneliness
I read something the other day that sent me down a rabbit hole of ponderings.
I don’t ever think much about, or feel lonely, but I have in the past in a huge way. As I’ve gotten older I’ve felt more comfortable in my skin and I always have 50,000 things I’m interested in, so I never get bored or lost for what to do.
I think there’s a lot of shame and stigma around loneliness, there’s the societal belief that if you’re lonely then you’re socially defective, besides no one wants to admit to being lonely.
It scares us.
I’ve read about how there was a study done in a town in Italy how there was a much lower rates of illness among their population because Italians like to eat together, and that socialness contributes to their health and wellness.
We are social animals, we survive in tribes, the nuclear family all in our little houses probably contributed more to health issues than ever before.
Even though technology connects us we are lonelier than ever.
Our nervous systems need each other to help regulate our emotions. It’s much harder to self-regulate.
We need connection.
It’s healthy to want to be connected.
Our Relationship With Loneliness
Everything is about relationship, and how we relate to loneliness is key. We can feel lonely in a marriage or we can feel connected to the whole world on our own.
Not liking being alone contributes to that feeling of loneliness.
Being in solitude and being alone and liking it contributes to feeling connected.
A lot of us, me included, do things to avoid feeling what we are feeling. To avoid feeling alone. Like watching a lot of TV, workaholism, drinking, spending lots of time with people, reading self help books. It can look like busyness and industriousness.
So What Did I Read?
I read that by avoiding being alone for fear of being lonely, and always seeking external guidance and direction and connectedness, we are in fact avoiding becoming our own leader.
We have to face ourselves.
We have to listen to ourselves.
We are terrified of going within and facing the lostness about what to do next and who we are.
This hit me like a ton of bricks.
I think its healthy to seek support and guidance. I think its healthy to run things by others.
But, if you can’t move forward at all without running everything by others and only knowing what you think and feel compared to others then you are contributing to that feeling of loneliness and emptiness because you’re only trying to fill up your cup from the outside.
You don’t ever get to make decisions on your own and learn to listen and trust yourself
You don’t ever start a relationship of really becoming your own best friend. Being your own advocate. Being your own disciple.
The problem comes when you are all or nothing. Either too self reliant or relying on others too much. Both are fear based.
I’m probably tending toward co-dependency, where I dismiss my own needs in favour of other’s needs. Which is why this concept really hit me hard.
I look outside of myself for direction far more than I look inside myself. Which is a pattern I learned in childhood. And being empathic it’s very easy for me to be swayed by energy outside of me.
So I suppose this describes my age old question of Can you be an individual in a group?
Will you abandon yourself to stay connected to others?
Can You Step Up And Be Your Own Leader?