embracing loneliness

I’m an introvert, a Taurus, an empath, and someone who craves her solitude. Last week, I went on a business trip for four days, came back to my apartment for one night, and then headed out the next day for another four days with my father’s family for a weekend getaway. All-in-all, I was not alone for eight days. I was constantly surrounded by co-workers, then family.

For someone who has lived on her own for two years, and spends her time predominately alone, by Friday I was panicking that I didn’t have enough time to recharge. When was I going to have time to meditate, in complete silence except for my guided meditation tracks playing? When was I going to have my quiet time making coffee and breakfast in the morning, with my podcasts playing as the sunlight peeks in through the blinds? As my sister and I packed our suitcases into the car for the second trip of my week with my family, I was not in a good headspace. I was convinced my weekend would be better if I stayed home and had my alone time, which I so desperately craved after being on my business trip all week.

I was wrong. The trip was great, I had no qualms about being around my family, and it was the most relaxing weekend I’ve had in ages.

And when I arrived home late Monday, said goodbye to my family, and started to prepare for the work week in my quiet apartment–I began to panic, again. But this time it wasn’t because I was craving my solitude. I wasn’t sure I even wanted solitude. I was not used to being alone. I missed hearing my sister’s laughter in the other room, hearing my sister and Dad up and making coffee early, hearing my dad’s dog’s paws clacking against the hardwood. And now here I was, in the position I wanted to be in that past Friday (alone! recharge time!), and I felt like my seventeen-year-old self again–terrified of being alone, unsure of what to do with all that time, and so anxious I wanted to cry. What the hell?

It was almost like going back to basics. I had to remind myself that I love being alone. I love taking my time to take care of myself, doing face masks, meditating, watching YouTube videos, reading, working out, cleaning. I love this. So why is solitude suddenly triggering so much fear within me? I had to take a hard look at myself – didn’t I repair my relationship with Loneliness? Hadn’t I utilized this time to get to know myself and heal? Didn’t I say goodbye to this trigger?

Why do I feel bad? What can truly make me feel better?

I think the important thing here is to remind myself (and remind yourself, if you’re struggling with feeling lonely), that loneliness is a natural thing. We are social beings. It is okay to feel lonely. It is okay to embrace this feeling, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it’s strange.

The hardest part about loneliness is resisting loneliness itself. Don’t resist loneliness. It’s actually your friend. You’ll find the moment you embrace it–okay, I am alone, this is what it is–a weight will be lifted from you. Loneliness isn’t pain. It doesn’t want to hurt you. It just is.

Remind yourself that loneliness is a regular human emotion.

Remind yourself you won’t be alone forever.

Look at it as a treat–remind yourself what you like to do for you, and then do that.

If you’re like me, and transitioning back into alone time is hard, have a transitional routine that helps you (I need to build mine) if these reminders aren’t strong enough to shake the negative panic that can sometimes come from loneliness.

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