Loneliness has value
It’s a paradox. Loneliness is one of the most painful emotions human being can endure. People often go to great lengths to avoid loneliness. Sometimes these great lengths that people go to end up inflicting more pain than the loneliness ever would have. People choose bad relationships or stay in bad relationships because they feel, at some level, a bad relationship is better than none. They’re wrong. People choose destructive ways to distract themselves from their feelings of loneliness: alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, overeating, over shopping, over indulging in every way imaginable just to not have to face loneliness. And our world seems to reinforce the idea that loneliness must be avoided at every turn – we live in a very extroverted culture.
Entertain this thought: Loneliness has value. Learn to sit with loneliness and experience it. Many of us are so out of touch with ourselves that we don’t know who we are or what we really want. We live on the surface of life because we won’t take a chance on being alone with ourselves and experiencing loneliness. But there is great value in doing so –
Clark E Moustakas writes in his book Loneliness:
“Loneliness has a quality of immediacy and depth, it is a significant experience – one of the few in modern life – in which man communes with himself. And in such communion man comes to grips with his own being. He discovers life, who he is, what he really wants, the meaning of his existence, the true nature of his relations with others. He sees and realizes for the first time truths which have been obscured for a long time. His distortions suddenly become naked and transparent. He perceives himself and others with a clearer, more valid vision and understanding.”
Next time you find loneliness looming up in your life and that anxious feeling you must do anything to escape it – try being still for just a little while and see if you can endure loneliness. It might teach you something about yourself.