The word lonely undoubtedly has a negative connotation. Loneliness can be painful, existential, and scary. But being lonely can also be beautiful. You know when things are so ugly that they’re kind of a beautiful work of art? That’s loneliness.
The lonely experience has layers. The first layer is the surface. On the surface, you don’t even actually realize that you’re lonely. At this stage, you may be surrounding yourself with people who may as well not even be there. You could have a shitload of people around you who aren’t actually anything besides placeholders. They aren’t a substantial company; until you realize this, you may ponder why you feel so alone in rooms full of people. When you get past this stage, you can pull back a layer and come into the stage of realization.
The moment you realize that you’re lonely hurts. It triggers this gut-wrenching feeling. The heavy pain in your gut is your intuition speaking. It’s letting you know that you’re not being overly dramatic – your feelings and worries are very valid. You’re lonely, and the thing about it that’s confusing as fuck is how you got to this point in the first place. You may go person by person in your head and notice that most of your relationships haven’t made you a better person at all. They haven’t challenged your intellect, they haven’t offered you true comfort and support, and they haven’t provided a safe space. You may think about some of your closest people and notice that they never actually put coins in the friendship bucket. When you’re in the process of realizing, you think a lot; not overthink, just think. It’s not overthinking because, chances are, before you realized that you were lonely, you weren’t thinking about this stuff at all.
When you pull back the layer of realization, you don’t jump straight into acceptance. You probably go straight into a reactionary phase where you try to fill the gaps. You look for people to love you and care for you and show up in the way that the people who have been in your life could not. At this point, you may be trying to hang out with new groups of people, or you may be putting yourself on dating apps where you hope and pray that every single first date you go on turns into a fairytale relationship that heals your pain and trauma. You do everything in your power to fight off loneliness like it’s the villain, like it’s the monster... when in reality, the only way to move on and prevail is through acceptance.
When you finally get tired of worthless first dates and countless attempts at new friendships, you realize that you actually rather be alone than continue trying to combat loneliness. Funny, right? Now you just have an urge to sit your ass down in your apartment and talk to yourself. Now, you actually beat the fear of taking yourself out to dinner because you found something that it felt better than. This is acceptance. You haven’t sat all the way into being alone and accomplished solace, but you at least found something worse than loneliness: fighting it.
You spend a long period of time in acceptance. It feels like limbo. Every single day, you get better at accepting. You have good weeks, and you have bad weeks. During the good weeks, you may become obsessed with the little things like your morning coffee or solo walks. You may drive yourself to a nearby town listening to Sade or Tame Impala as happy as can be. For a minute there, being by yourself becomes your personality. But, then, there are the bad weeks. Ooooooooh, these weeks are a pain in the ass. A punch in the damn gut. The reminder that we’re lonely comes onto us like a bodyslam. But, eventually, you’ll notice that the period of acceptance is a rollercoaster of emotions, and it isn't easy, but it is extremely liberating.
Acceptance is liberating because you learn so much about yourself. When you spend time alone, you can actually hear yourself think. When you are constantly surrounded by the NPCs(non-player characters) in your life, your vision of what you want out of this life that you only get one chance to live gets extremely blurry. But when you spend time alone, you can actually interpret your feelings and listen to your intuition. You realize in this phase that your intuition is your best friend. You find happiness in daydreaming and getting to know yourself. This is where things start to get beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing to truly know yourself. Most people don’t even scratch the surface of this. This type of introspection is a lovely demonstration of high emotional intelligence.
I’m not sure what comes after this, because this is where I am. I reside in the stage of acceptance. However, I am at the part of acceptance where I realize the beauty of loneliness and sometimes find solace in it. I pride myself in knowing who I am. I love that I don’t compare myself to other people or desperately need company. However, I’m still fighting day by day to feel love. I’m currently working on discipline because I heard it’s the greatest demonstration of self-love there is. Maybe that’ll take me to the next level? I don’t know what’s in store. But I do know that I can now see my life for what it is and manifest things that truly align with what I stand for and live for. I’ll keep you guys updated on what comes next.