“There is no loneliness if one is satisfied with oneself.” ~ Hans-Ulrich Rieker, The Yoga of Light: Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika …
Loneliness is an affliction manifested from our inability to lovingly accept ourselves and be satisfied with who we are. This means that our ability to give and receive love begins internally–with a strong and healthy self-love. Therefore, if we cannot love ourselves, we will also be unable to love others; and because of our lack of understanding of what we need in terms of love, or perhaps even from the walls we may have put up from the absence of love, others cannot love us, which leads to loneliness and dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives.
There was a period in my life–sometime in my early twenties–in which I spent a lot of time feeling lonely. I had convinced myself that I was perhaps a bit unlovable in the romantic sense, and I felt like I needed someone around to give me the validation that would make me feel better about myself and where my life was going. Unfortunately, it took me several years to realize just how unhealthy and damaging such a perspective was, however, when I finally did become comfortable with being alone, the feeling of loneliness was gone.
Of course, we cannot expect to feel satisfied with ourselves completely, or all of the time, for we will be faced with difficulties and obstacles, and we will have lapses and make mistakes from time to time, and we will be forced to cope with grief and sadness, and we will experience frustration and disappointment with ourselves now and then. And the higher we set the standards for ourselves on self-acceptance and self-love, the more we will feel lost and alone; and the more we base our happiness and worth on things outside of ourselves, the more incomplete we become do to our perceived lack of things that elevate and complete us. But we have to be cautious not to let our frustrations, difficulties, sadness, and mistakes lead us to an overall dissatisfaction, or we may invite other negative feelings such as loneliness and depression into our lives. These feelings can be much more destructive as they tend to hurl us into harmful situations, people, and things that often perpetuate the negative emotions and affect us, and those who care about us.
Loneliness is not necessarily the result of being alone–solitude can be one of the most important, valuable, and fulfilling times of our days. And if we focus on the positive aspects of being alone–discernment and insight, growth and development, understanding and acceptance, peace and serenity, renewal and relaxation–then those moments become nourishment to our souls, and we discover that self-satisfaction is available to us even when we are alone.
Take a moment to reflect upon possibilities in those moments you find yourself alone today.
Questions to consider:
How do you define loneliness? Why is it such a difficult feeling for so many people to deal with?
What are some of the most important elements of being satisfied with ourselves?
Why do so many of us have difficulties being by ourselves?
For further thought:
“When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death–ourselves.” ~ Eda LeShan