If we open the box of loneliness and look inside, it may look different for individuals and at other times in life.
Open the Box of Loneliness
This past week I looked into my current box of loneliness. It was an exercise I felt strong enough to carry out with the help of a life coach. Each of us must decide when and how we will take a step toward healing. My goal in this article is to help you see whether this is something you want to tackle.
A Little Background
I have experienced many challenging relationships, starting with my mother. Yet, I’ve made significant progress with the help of therapy, holistic healers, meditation, and journaling. Each time I peeled back the layers of emotion to find the source of my pain, there were supportive friends, family, or professionals.
My journey was arduous at times, but as long as I took small steps with someone nearby to help me up when I stumbled, I made it through to the other side.
What is Loneliness?
Don’t we all know what loneliness is? Since it is an emotion, it can be experienced differently by each of us.
For instance, isolation from a pandemic may be a terrible punishment for an extrovert. But on the other hand, some introverts may have breathed a sigh of relief after getting over the initial shock of this experience.
Psychologist Nick Wignall offers a psychological definition:
Loneliness is an emotion characterized by the feeling of pain caused by a perceived lack of intimacy with other people or ourselves.
This definition seems to cover it.
Loneliness Inside a Relationship
Specifically, I’m referring to a romantic relationship. However, one event leaped to the forefront as I reflected on the loneliest moments in my life.
I was driving on an interstate highway, preparing to exit onto another busy divided four-lane road. Although I had been attempting to get my husband to participate in a conversation, the loneliness hit me in my gut at that moment. Then, finally, the words erupted from my mouth.
“I’ve never felt this lonely in my entire life.”
My husband suddenly looked up.
“What do you mean?”
I explained how lonely I felt when he chose to read his Kindle rather than talk to me. Yet, he told me how much he enjoyed my company. The reality was my loneliness would continue due to the differences between us. By this time, I knew I was powerless to change others. Instead, I explored more avenues of self-care.
Loneliness from Grief
When someone has left our lives, this loneliness may be unavoidable. For me, I’m physically alone. My close relatives and friends are far away because I decided to move to a new location before the recent losses of my husband and mother.
A voice inside knew this was my time to deal with grief from eight years ago. At that time, I avoided loneliness by keeping busy at work and hiring someone to replace my deck. Now I have no distractions. My choice is certainly not for everyone. But I knew the only way I would open the box of loneliness was here, where nature comes to visit and my dog, Sugar, comforts me.
Emotions Don’t Have to be Scary.
Dealing with our emotions can be unsettling, especially if we have avoided them in the past. However, taking small steps toward feeling less lonely may be as simple as understanding ourselves better.
While writing this article, I came across Nick Wignall’s articles on mental health. One of my favorite blogs is about self-awareness. Furthermore, finding Nick’s simple website engaging tells me something about myself. His clean, organized, and thorough website epitomizes my need for order. And the smile on my face tells me how much I enjoy helping you with my writing. Thank you for reading.