On the Subject of Loneliness

Photo posted by Horrifying on Tumblr.com

Learning how to be alone is the keystone to your peace. It can feel so daunting, going through moments alone when it would be easier with someone else beside you, sharing the same sentiments. Connection is euphoric, and why should anyone part ways from it momentarily? Nothing is as sweet as feeling loved and surrounded and heard. The same fact is true that it is liberating to find secureness within loneliness. Though it might not seem like the most appealing truth, you should know what it feels like to date yourself. 

Starting the Journey

Here are some simple ideas to start this journey!

  1. Eat breakfast alone. The morning is the perfect time to self reflect and begin the day with calamity.
  2. Go on a walk. Whether it’s on the treadmill or around campus, walking serves as a great way to reflect.
  3. Take up a new hobby. Work on those interests you have been ignoring and tell people you are working on. 

Remember this: what you are looking for is you. When you turn to other people, you are waiting for yourself, too. Loneliness is like a sphere and in that sphere is happiness. Loneliness tends to attach itself to a negative connotation, but it does not have to be that way. The opportunity invites you to explore new hobbies and interests, and it also allows you to become in touch with your intimacy, desires, fulfilments and ultimate worth. Unadulterated personal time means that there are no biases telling you are a son, daughter, student or lover – you are just a person worthy of self-love. 

With All That Said, You Are Not Alone

According to The Guardian, Australian psychologist Dr. Alison Mahoney explains the benefits of spending time alone and the ways people have wielded it for their personal growth.

“There’s a myth that there’s something inherently weak with feeling lonely, but in fact, it’s universal,” Mahoney says.

It feels like a contradiction to say that we all feel lonely when that feeling is in fact the absence of people, but maybe that will provide some comfort when navigating those emotions. It is a necessary thing for all to experience. 

“Reflective time alone – exploring hobbies, your passions, your values – can help you get in touch with yourself,” Mahoney says.

Maybe You Will Listen to Jo March

In the heartbreaking proclamation where Jo rejects Laurie’s proposal in Little Women and exclaims, “But I’m so lonely!” However, Jo does does not relent in her quest of exploring who she is in the absence of a relationship. Jo finds the ultimate comfort in herself, yet she still yearns for human connection, validation and company. That is completely valid, but she still stays true to herself and desires, instead of conforming to comfort. She becomes her biggest fan in the crowd.

Graphic Posted by @LittleWomen on giphy.com
Let College Be the Upmost Opportunity

Loneliness is an especially important topic entering college, when you are completely removed from familiar structures, people and emotions. Think of this transitional time instead as the gateway to finding solace in your own company. Have a dance party alone (how embarrassing!), eat at the dining hall alone (gasp!), visit the Palmer Art Museum alone (so scandalous!) or stay in when all of your friends go out (utterly unspeakable!) Do anything that brings you happiness, even when the thought of it makes you feel a little nauseous. It is not necessary to do these everyday or even every month, but practice being alone enough times that doing so is second nature. Make it a healthy escapade as if you are going on a beachside vacation and not as if you are sentencing yourself to a prison sentence. 

After all, you are both the jailor and the jailed. Self-love and self-care are embedded in almost every aspect of our lives. Think of loneliness as an old friend that you always find yourself reminiscing happily about and wish to see again soon. It will always be there, waiting. Just like us!

Tweet your favorite ways to spend time alone @VALLEYmag!


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