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The Truth About Loneliness

Loneliness: When You Feel Isolated and Separated

by Michael Gusack

When you feel lonely, you feel isolated and separate. It seems that no one understands, and often no one even cares to understand. And if you feel isolated, you may even feel invisible…how could they even bother to care, if they don’t even see you?

The pain is physical. It hurts in your gut, you can feel the weight on you shoulders and your chest. It’s hard to breathe and hard to swallow and maybe the fullness of emotion bubbles out of you in a tear…or a stream of tears.

But are you REALLY alone? Love says no. You feel apart and separate, but you forget there is also the thread that binds you to all there is…to life itself.  The thread that is your sight that allows you to touch this world and it to touch you in response. The thread that is your breath that literally brings the outside in and then shifts it out again. Inspiration (the word for breathing in) as spirit comes in. The thread that  is the moment of care or tenderness that you have forgotten…tenderness that you gave and also received.

Love does not tell you it is wrong to feel sorrow and loneliness, but it encourages you to embrace it as part of your life. Yes, you are separate, but you are ALSO connected, one, unified. Some say separation is an illusion…that you are “essentially” a part of life and cannot be otherwise. That even your loneliness is a bitterness that can be sweet if you embrace your humanity and your capacity to feel. It certainly feels real and unavoidable in the moment, even if you could accept that it is not necessarily essential.

You are at times alone, but you need not feel SOOO lonely (even if there are times when it is unavoidable). Loneliness can be eased as you just let it be, without trying to escape it with distractions or activity and entertainments. YOU can  choose to love yourself in the moments of being in need, of feeling less, of feeling isolated. Maybe you let yourself be human…and ride it out.

Ever listen to a sad song and find that this eases your sadness rather than aggravating it? You were able to accept it and in appreciation it got quiet and calmed down.

What if YOU love yourself when you feel unlovable? What if you are already and have always been lovable? Even when (and perhaps especially when) you feel unlovable. What if you treat your loneliness like a mother comforts a crying child…with reassurance and an embrace. Yes, I know, ice cream works too, but the more strategies, the better.

Rumi encourages:

“….Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice. meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. ”

I know this doesn’t really “solve” the problem…unless “having no problem and letting everything be as it is” is the solution. I think maybe this is the path that love points to. You love your loneliness enough to accept it as it is. Haven’t we all longed for that level of acceptance from our friends, parents, family?

As they say in AA…”Take what you need and leave the rest”. Sort through the contradictions and paradoxes above and I hope you find something to “take”.

I’d love to address your comments.

Be Well and at Peace,