Being alone has become one of the hardest things for people to do. In fact, one’s entire sense of self-worth can easily be defined by the people and things around them. Loneliness can be further exacerbated when surrounded by others who are having the time of their lives with their others. For example, we all know that heart-wrenching feeling of being surrounded by happy couples after going through a difficult break-up. Frequently, we proactively try to avoid feeling alone by busying ourselves with various distractions (i.e. technological devices, social media, etc.) to prevent ourselves from feeling the weight that is the loneliness and nothingness of life. As Louie C.K., a famous comedian, said in the following youtube clip in reference to text messaging while driving: “You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away is the ability to just sit there … that’s being a person.”
Like Louie, I believe that there is great utility in avoiding easy distractions by simply being with the emotions that come with loneliness. While these feelings are not always pretty, convenient, or fun, they are nonetheless real, true, and meaningful to our lives. We as people have developed an intolerance to any negative feelings as though we are for whatever reason not supposed to feel them. However, life, while at times beautiful, is in itself painful, as well. It is so easy to forget that there is meaning in the pain and avoiding it means that we are avoiding a piece of ourselves that is trying to speak to us. This avoidance manifests in our projecting so many of our own psycho-emotional needs onto other people and things, which we use them to avoid certain aspects of ourselves.
I was initially planning on writing a longer blog post with tips on how to be alone in a therapeutically beneficial way, but then remembered a video clip that articulated just about everything I had to say on the matter. I highly recommend you watch the following clip to its entirety and then think of some creative ways that you can implement some of the ideas in your own life. You might be surprised from what you find in the loneliness.
“Society is afraid of alone, though
Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements
Like people must have problems if after a while nobody is dating them.
But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless
And lonely is healing if you make it.”