The Sacred Art of Loneliness

We all have moments when we feel alone. Whether we’re surrounded by a heaving mass of humanity, in a new place or in an unfamiliar situation – part of the human condition is being all about the self.  And, in turn, this almost always leads to moments of feeling lonely.
Recently I went through a rough patch. I was giving a part of my life that deserved 10% of my attention 90% and vice versa. I was focusing on the wrong people and putting too much weight on outcomes that truly didn’t matter.

I allowed myself to open up – to new people, to happiness and to hurt. Needless to say, when the hurt came I retreated. And I got lonely. Good news though, not one to rest on my laurels long, I took a step back, talked to the people I love most, reassessed and began to smile again.

If ever you find you’ve hit a low point or need to refocus your energy and thoughts on the positive in life – here are a few handy hints to get you through most situations the world may throw at you.

  1. Embrace solitude
    When you’re lonely, just sit back and take stock. Actively acknowledge the people who truly love you, the friends & family who are always there. Smile in solitude knowing you’re never truly alone.
  2.  Find the source of your emotion
    Once you decide that you, and you alone, own your feelings and the interpretations of your own emotions, you can make the choice to feel blessed. When you’re in a frame of mind that reasserts just how lucky you are, it’s harder to feel lonely or sad.
  3. Ask for help
    This one can be really difficult because from the time we start interacting with others we’re taught to stand tall, be strong and never let the cracks in our perfect facades show. I’ll go out on a limb and call bullshit on that line of thinking. Crying is okay. Venting is okay. Showing weakness is okay, and so is asking for help. Whether friend or professional shrink – make sure you talk about how you’re feeling. Believe me, we’ve all been there before.
  4. Surround yourself with people you can truly count on
    It’s simple, really. Go find happy people. Be with the people you care most about. And, if you can’t be with them, pick up the phone, Skype, FaceTime – anything. Just get out of the situation that’s weighing you down.
  5. Move on
    Moving on (truly moving on, that is) is a hard thing to do, but it’s worth it.  Any one of us can decide to be happy at any point in time.  We own our feelings, our reactions to others and our understanding of the world. Keep your rose-coloured glasses nearby. Don them when the world looks grey.
  6. When all else fails – smile
    You’ve heard the old saying “Fake it ‘til you make it” – well that goes for happiness too. We can’t all be “on” all of the time, but we can always be smiling. And, since studies show that even forcing a smile can make you happier…then faking it might just be the way to go until that smile becomes a real one.

So there you have it, a few home-remedies I use whenever I feel overwhelmed and a little bit lonely or homesick. Being half a world away from family and childhood friends (the people who love you warts-and-all) is hard. Hell, sometimes being just down the road can be tough. But we can all make the decision to choose happiness.  And today, it’s what I’m choosing.

What will you choose to be?

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