How To Survive Being Lonely


There are times in life when you will have no choice but to be lonely.

You will be scrambling to bask in the muted lights of those who are but remotely connected to you. You will want to communicate constantly knowing full well that the most it can do is to drain away your energy faster than if you were by yourself. You will want to avoid your thoughts at all costs, fearing their depths and capacity to choke on your emotions till they resurface as hot tears rolling down your face.

In these moments, loneliness can take the form of many things that trick you into feeling terrible. You may feel nostalgia, emptiness, worthlessness, confusion, loss. You may feel trapped, suffocated, powerless, numb, unprotected. You may feel that this is the only thing you’ve ever known and ever will know. And you’re not sure how you got here or why. You tell yourself you don’t deserve this, and then you realize whether or not you deserve it no longer even matters.

You tell yourself you need to be strong, but you need to understand that strength comes from knowing how to be lonely, not the other way around. You must realize that you’re not really as powerless as you’ve perceived yourself to be — after all, being lonely was the price you knew you had to pay in order to de-clutter your life, to make progress happen, to let go of what was not working in order to make room for new opportunities. It is a part of the natural ebb and flow of life events that shape you into the amazing person you’re growing into. Being lonely does not mean failure or inadequacy; it is merely the kind of suffering we collectively must undergo in order to understand, experience, and recognize that greater capacity for love within us.

You also know that one day you won’t be so lonely, and when that day comes you’ll have gotten used to being by yourself that the sudden requirement for you to share your life with others will be uncomfortable. You’ll be hesitant and cautious, fearful of losing control at that very moment when you feel your life is finally in order.

And that is when you’ll look back onto the day when you could not be more lonely, and finally realize that loneliness and solitude are, in fact, two halves of the same thing. 

image – Basheer Tome