Why are so many of us lonely? How can this be in a world so full of people? We can be lonely not just when we are on our own but also in crowds of people and even when we are with people we love dearly. Yet others are quiet happy living in isolation and do not feel this loneliness content being on their own.
The answer is I believe connectedness, we become lonely when we lose connection with the world we inhabit, some of us can lose it from an early age, can always struggle and other’s lose it through losing someone or something. When a loved one dies or leaves they leave a hole that is difficult to fill and the connection they created is gone. So what is this connection we crave? For me it is a sense of being part of the world, a meeting with a participating in the world I inhabit, it give a sense of value and meaning to my existence. So how can people who live in and enjoy solitude feel connected? Because we can connect to the world in any way we desire. It is not what we do but also what we appreciate that is important it is about opening ourselves to experiencing the world, we can connect through standing on a stormy beach with the wind howling around us, reading a novel that touches us, watching a film, even soap’s we connect with characters and their lives,getting involved with something that really interests us creates connection and in these time’s we are not lonely. Of course there is one person that is always with us that we can always connect with if we choose to. That is ourselves. We are often the person we are most estranged from the person we try to avoid most of all. Our society is an outward looking one looking for solutions externally chasing the panacea to our problems when the solutions lie within. The number of people I’ve heard say “I don’t deserve to be happy” or “ I’m not a good person” saddens me, we measure ourselves against the perceived expectations of society and inevitably fail. We cringe and shut the door on what Jung termed our shadow side not wanting to look at the parts of us that shame us hoping to stamp them down so they will never see the light of day. But without those parts of us we will never be whole.
The problem with an external solution to loneliness is it will always be temporary the book will be finished, the programme end. The people you care about leave. And then the connection goes. But a connection with yourself is permanent, it will be with you how ever your circumstances change. Learning to appreciate who you truly are, accepting yourself warts and all. Learning to understand that shadow side and accept it as part of who you are. We shut ourselves down for fear of rejection but how can we find acceptance else where when we can’t accept ourselves? How can we allow others to love us if we believe we are worth loving? Every relationship requires two people and for that relationship to be successful it has to work for both parties both are equally important, you are always an equal partner in any relationship in fact for you you are the most important part of the relationship. Loving ourselves is not selfish, selfishness comes from not loving ourselves, from a desperation to hold onto things to make us feel better about ourselves. Being an introvert is often said to be self indulgent we should always look to others but when it comes to our bodies we are expected to look after ourselves keep fit and healthy, Why not our minds? A person that can accept themselves as they are faults and all, has no need to worry what others think, they will go their own path and being connected to themselves will connect to the world around them. Being connected with yourself means never being lonely.