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What Strength is Your Loneliness?

Loneliness is a world-wide phenomenon. Everyone at some point or the other in their lives has experienced loneliness. Some deal with it better, others pretend to manage it and then some ignore it completely. In one way or another, loneliness speaks to us of an innate need to connect to others. When left unattended, it can even lead to depression, anxiety, panic, anti-social disorders and more. It has become one of the major health concerns, especially in developed countries. These concerns have been included in the list of global responsibilities towards the United Nations Sustainable Development 2030 Agenda (to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being). However, is there a possibility that we have misunderstood or misidentified what loneliness truly is? Can loneliness be a strength? Here is a dip-stick understanding of loneliness that cured several of my clients.

Loneliness is seen as a form of a failure to create and sustain connections with others. Loneliness doesn’t necessarily mean you are alone. You could be among a crowd and still feel lonely; and you could be all by yourself and not feel lonely. Our inherent fear of being rejected, unacknowledged and unsupported gives way to loneliness. Loneliness is also interconnected to the sense of belonging. We tend to feel lonely when we feel we do not belong to a place or a person. An alienation, of sorts.

Mostly, loneliness manifests from a belief we form in our childhood. It can either be a defence mechanism to safeguard from unknown threats or an accident. A child left alone for longer hours may decide that he is all by himself in this world. Another one may hide from authority figures in the family to avoid punishment and conclude that it is safe to hide and be alone. A child not included in games by his/her siblings may judge himself to be a reject and an unfit, leading to aloofness. Feeling of loneliness can also stem from being constantly misunderstood by others, looking different from others, and being ignored by others. In all, loneliness is a feeling that is developed by a conclusion made in childhood either due to an experience or an accident (one of the most prominent reasons). One of the lesser known reasons is also self-punishment. Sometimes, we feel our thoughts are so horrendous and malicious that if ever exposed to the world, we would be judged to the end of the world and thrown out of the family or society. In order to protect the others from our destructive capacities, we go into seclusion. It feels much more difficult to pretend to be normal and nice to others than to just be with ourselves. 

What does it take to depart from such a past, which manifests as social isolation or loneliness in adulthood? More often than not, any effort to fix the loneliness becomes counterproductive or has a high risk of relapsing. Why is that? When we start on the premise that loneliness is ‘wrong’, it cannot show up as any strength or anything else that can be a contribution. There is nothing to fix, only a different possibility to explore. Going into the wrongness of loneliness only diminishes your power and choice that created it in the first place. If you choose to be lonely to survive or deal with your situation, then you can also choose to uncreate it. Judging it to be bad or abnormal hides the strength and contribution that it can be to our lives.

So if you feel lonely, ask yourself, what strength is this that I am not recognizing? What can I do with it? How can I create a greater possibility with this for my life?

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Navita

    Thought provoking blog with a twist….turning lonliness into a strength .
    Its a thought process you have initialised for most of us to start recognizing our hidden strengths.Thank you.

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