Loneliness is one of the deepest sorrows – at its peak it feels like a quiet desperation, a yearning to melt completely with another, a slow suffocation that we can’t escape no matter what. And it was shocking to see how common it is. The media has begun to describe the spread of loneliness as an epidemic!
How can we escape it, what can we do? The most common response is a search for a companion, for a lover.
“If only I had someone,” we think, “everything will be all right.” Failing in this search, many begin to turn to alcohol, depression, or self-destructive behaviors.
But the search is flawed, self-defeating right from the start. Whatever we do might seem to work for a while, but we are running away from loneliness – and the more we run, the stronger it gets.
Relationships Rooted in Loneliness
Romance that stems from loneliness is fake, a rose made of plastic; all it does is cover up our yearning. This is how many relationships are – two lonely people who are mutually clinging and grasping on to each other. Regardless of what they say or do, each person is really thinking: please take care of my heart.
How do we take care of other hearts when we can’t even nourish our own?
In such relationships, the neediness is still there. Once the honeymoon period is over, the neediness and unhappiness begins to arise again. For no one – no matter how beautiful, handsome, sweet, attentive, and dashing – can fulfill your needs exactly the way you want them to. There’s always something else that will appear – something they haven’t done that you want them to, or they’ve done something you wish they hadn’t.
When that happens, the yearning arises again. In fact, it has always been there, just beneath the surface. But you think it is your partner’s fault, and you begin to blame them – “You were supposed to make me happy!” But how can they? No one can make you happy but you. All they can do is cover the yearning temporarily.
The Repugnance of Desperation
Being in the depths of loneliness makes it harder to find a partner. This neediness can only be hidden for so long, if one manages to hide it at all.
It is common knowledge that desperation is one of the most unattractive traits out there. The more you run after them, try to hang on to them, the more a quality partner will retreat. They have options, people who make them happy instead of wanting to rely on them – why stay with you?
Relax into your Loneliness
Trying to fill this yearning with a companion is the logical response; but it is a bottomless pit. Loneliness cannot be satisfied in such a manner.
It is a strange thing to say, but when you are lonely, the first step is not to run out and find someone. The first step is to stop running away from our aloneness.
I’ve heard a beautiful quote once: Aloneness is our nature. Loneliness is us running away from it.
What does that mean? You are alone; so just be alone. Loneliness – the despair – only comes when we begin to run away from it, when we tell ourselves our lives shouldn’t be this way.
The most important step is inner acceptance. Relax into your loneliness. Simple sit down and feel it, explore how it feels. Don’t think about it, just feel it through your body. Welcome it, let it be there without tensing up your body or feeding it with your thoughts, and you’ll find the sadness slowly begins to melt away.
Next, learn how to nourish your own heart. Make yourself happy. Think loving thoughts towards yourself. Play with love as energy; send it rolling up and down your body, letting it build. One day your heart will overflow with love. Only then can you be able to love – how can you give what you don’t have?
Delight in your aloneness
Celebrate your aloneness. Fill your free time with play and song. Let it be a genuine joy, one that comes from having melted away the sadness. For this is the strangest thing – when you no longer care about love, you are the most likely to find it.
Why? No longer are you needy; no longer are you desperate and lonely. You are happy, and people will begin to take notice. “What does he have, what is she doing to be so happy?” they will ask. And they will want some of that joy, and they will begin to come closer.
And when you are in a relationship, no longer will there be grasping or clinging. You are no longer looking for the other person to come along and make everything right. Only then can there be true romance. Only then can you love for the sake of loving, give for the sake of giving.
First learn to delight in being alone, to stop running away from your loneliness. Once you have learned to delight in yourself – that is when you can delight in the other. Only then can romance really start.