Ok so how do we deal with it? It is painful, awful and I want to run from it. When I decided to write about loneliness, my old ever helpful, maybe not healthy, protective survival skills surfaced trying to keep me away from the pain. That is that systems job in me – to keep me away from the feelings so I can keep going. BUT I came to a place where I couldn’t keep going.
My fears surfaced! I was going to do what? Face my loneliness in a way that reveals it to the world? No way! But yes, that is what I am doing because I want to help you heal and grow and not be afraid of your feelings. I want you to know, like me, you can feel them, and release the pain that is in you and heal. Feelings are here to help us, all of them, even loneliness and have much to teach us.
Preparing to write often takes days, sometimes weeks. I don’t’ usually just sit down and wow it is there! As Clark Moustakas said, we have an incubation time where we immerse ourselves in the experience. So I had to and needed to feel the pain of my loneliness. It came up like a vengeance. I hurt in a way I didn’t think was possible. I was intensely lonely and terrified. I isolated. I silently judged and was critical of everything and anyone. I was edgy and nervous. I forced myself to smile at people, but was a fake. The pain and loneliness colored everything and not in a good way.
Deep inside, where I really lived, I was desperate for someone to help me, to reach out to say something like – How are you really doing? Someone to just come and give me a hug, a “just because you need it hug”, hug. A few did, but they did not come close to touching where I was living in all my pain. But it was a lifeline. But truthfully and sadly, nothing really would have helped, because I really didn’t know what I needed. How like loneliness. We can’t be reached because we have walled ourselves off so we won’t be hurt. But we have to let people in to not hurt and be reached. There is no winning in this, except to feel the feeling fully until they aren’t anymore.
What do we do with it?
We have to embrace loneliness and make it our friend or be destroyed by it. We can make it go away by being busy, pretending, addictions, etc., but at some point it will surface. When we embrace it, we learn, grow and heal at a deeper level. My loneliness taught me and helped me heal at a deep level I didn’t know existed. Thank God for being with me each step of the way!
Sometimes we think we have felt enough, but it just isn’t going away. At those times, we may judge us and think “I must be doing something wrong or I would not be feeling all this pain.” “I goofed.” “I am the bad, terrible person.” “I didn’t work hard enough or I would be out of this pain.” Something is still so wrong so very wrong with me because I can’t heal.” Here was mine: “Here I am supposed to teach others about healing and I am still in horrible pain. Yes I get! I need to feel and learn about it to help others, but enough is enough!” None of these are usually true. If we keep on the healing journey, we will heal.
Allow yourself to gain an understanding and compassion for and about you. We get this as we feel and go through the pain. I needed to face the pain of my decades of loneliness and gain its gifts. This writing is one of those gifts for me.