What happens when you stop abandoning your own loneliness.
When I was 10 years old, I moved schools for the first time and found myself sitting on a bench by myself during recess, watching the other kids play.
This went on for a few heavy days, the feeling of loneliness sinking deep into my bones, a silent will for someone to come and talk to me growing in my belly.
But no one came. I’ve been running from my loneliness ever since.
Loneliness Runs Deep
My anger is just a way for me to fight back against my loneliness. To prove that I am not nothing, I am something, and I deserve love and connection.
My sadness and grief are a response to the feeling of abandonment; my heart’s cry to go back to the love and connection I once felt but knowing all the while that there is no going back.
My fear is ultimately rooted in loneliness. I’m afraid to be abandoned. I’m afraid to feel pain because our experience of pain is inherently ours — nobody can share the same experience. I’m afraid of death because perhaps death is really just life itself abandoning me.
I’m afraid to meet my ten-year-old self still living inside me, sitting alone on the bench, loneliness growing in her precious bones, her desire for love and connection growing ever desperate.
Even my shame is born from my resistance to meeting the lonely girl inside of me. After all, shame is nothing but a misguided older sibling, reminding us that we aren’t inherently entitled to love or connection, and warning us that we better do this and better not do that else we will be abandoned by love; else loneliness will pay us a forever visit; else we will be forever stuck as the lonely children we really are deep down.
The roots of loneliness travel the deepest, deep into the hollow of our spirit, deep into the limiting belief that we were born alone and we must fight to matter and perform to be seen.
Everything is a Defence Against Loneliness
Humans do crazy things to avoid loneliness. But our efforts to avoid our loneliness are really just us abandoning ourselves.
When we avoid our loneliness, we abandon the Lonely One inside of us all — the innocent child sitting alone on the bench desperate for love and connection. As long as we avoid our own loneliness, the Lonely One inside of us all will only get more desperate and more controlling of others in an attempt to secure the love we crave, but the harder we cling to love, the more fleeting it becomes.
Making Peace With the Lonely Child Within
Imagine what would happen if we sat down on the bench next to the Lonely One, let go of our attempts to control reality and instead placed our hand in theirs saying,
“Hello my lovely. You do not have to be lonely alone. I am here now. I will not abandon you.”
Imagine if we felt our loneliness with eyes wide open; the sinking in our chest, the heavy weight of our limbs, the racing of our mind trying to escape our body. Imagine if we felt this hand-in-hand with the Lonely One; meeting them in their deepest darkest place, and showing them that, “Yes, love, even here you are loved. Even here you are worthy. Even here you are not alone.”
Perhaps then we will become our own best friend. Perhaps then we will get off the bench and push ourselves on the swing set or down the slide.
And perhaps people will join us, and we will laugh together but we will laugh together in a different way because now we are free to fully appreciate the joy of having another soul to laugh with. We gave this freedom to ourselves the moment we stopped being afraid of laughing alone.
Loneliness is One of Life’s Greatest Gifts
We are set free to live fully the moment we hold our own hand and surrender to all that we’ve been running from.
This is what I mean when I say all you are really looking for is yourself. You can have everything else, but only you have the power to meet yourself on that lonely bench inside of you, to hold your own hand in your deepest darkest place, and to listen together to the whispers inside of you that say,
“Even here you are loved. Even here you are worthy. Even here you are not alone.”
These whispers dissolve the limiting belief that you are alone alone, and open you up to the reality that you are merely alone with all that is. Everyone is alone with all that is, and through the loneliness that lives inside of us all, we are all connected.
Suddenly the grass becomes greener, the rain becomes a miracle, the stranger becomes a friend.
Loneliness is one of life’s greatest gifts because it reminds us of how connected we all are. It is the greatest opportunity to meet ourselves, to hold our own hand, and to bring love into the place inside of us that craves it the most.
The Lonely One inside of you has been waiting for you a very long time. Will you be brave and kind enough to meet them now?