“The season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings.” ~Mandy Hale
I feel so alone right now. how crawling out of my skin i will do anything to not feel like this alone.
I haven’t felt like this in a long time. Thank goodness I have the tools take care of yourself. Let me explain.
My first childhood memory is my mother’s empty bed. The sheets are white, unmade and dirty. The duvet cover is loose and half hanging from the floor. The room is quiet, mom is nowhere to be seen, and I am completely alone.
That’s when I met loneliness for the first time. When I was three and a half years old and my mom had just died.
Loneliness hit me before I could understand what was happening. It hit me when I was vulnerable and exposed, when I was vulnerable and in need, and pierced me to the core.
As I got older, loneliness made me feel unworthy and different – like I was the only person in the world who felt this way. It made me feel flawed and flawed, and it liked to catch me off guard.
Being in that space was so intense and overwhelming that I would do anything I could to make it go away. I was binge watching TV, emotional eating, playing video games, and watching porn (yes, I just admitted it).
I didn’t have the emotional tools to deal with the discomfort of feeling alone, so I felt better the only way I knew how, by numbing myself.
When I had a hard day at work, I would come home and “save” my feelings with the help of TV. If a girl I was interested in wasn’t interested in me, I would watch porn so I wouldn’t have to deal with my fear of abandonment and loneliness.
At first glance, the solution seemed simple: learn to feel comfortable being alone. Ha! It’s like telling a person who wants to lose weight, “Just eat less and move more.”
If it were so easy to let go of our patterns, none of us would be hurt. This is why healing and intimacy are not for the faint of heart.
It’s called an inside job for a reason. I pulled away.
I discovered that my escape “scheme” was actually a coping mechanism. I tried to help myself, although not in a very healthy way.
My fear of being alone was too great to face, so instead I used television, food, video games, and porn to deal with it. To suppress inside restlessness happening inside me.
And it was not even realized. I didn’t wake up every day thinking, “I’m going to watch porn today to get rid of the feeling of loneliness.”
In fact, it was the other way around. Every night I went to bed saying I was done with the behavior only to repeat the pattern the next day.
It was default programming that worked itself out until I slowed down to be with what started it. Once I bravely did this, my patterns shifted.
With the help of a teacher, I have developed a practice where I connect with loneliness rather than running away from it. After all, loneliness is part of the characters that live in each of us.
Whenever I feel this way, I come up with a list of five to ten questions, such as: Why are you here? What are you teaching me here? Will I be okay if I just sit in the discomfort of what’s coming? Then I invite loneliness to pull up a chair and interview my greatest fear. I work on relationships, not run away from them.
When I sit with my solitude, I remember that I am whole and complete, just as I am. I often think of my mom at this time and I went back there as a little boy to let her know he was okay and to remind her that her mother loved her very much.
At first I shed a lot of tears, but after a while I was no longer tormented by the constant feeling of longing. In fact, I began to enjoy being alone. Go figure it out!
This got me thinking, what if our patterns of watching TV, checking social media, watching porn, etc. are well-intentioned? What if they are here for us?
We humans play this game all the time. We try to manage our feelings through busyness, distraction, overwork, food, alcohol, pornography, work, etc. We use something outside of us to feel better inside.
I realized that leadership is protection – a defender trying to help. It’s innocent and wonderful in its own way. However, real help only comes when we go within and meet what is happening within us.
Loneliness does not pass. It’s part of who we are.
It’s a normal human emotion, and it can teach us a lot about ourselves. It can teach us patience and the importance of self-love.
Building a relationship with this part of you takes time. It’s a process.
So, the next time you feel that feeling of loneliness creeping up on you, don’t try to run away from it. Rather, rely on it and see how your life will change for the better.
Loneliness made me want to suppress my emotions. Learning to be comfortable being alone built my self-respect.
It’s your choice. Self-pity or self-love.
Today, I am intentionally changing that relationship. Take, for example, the beginning of this article.
My wife is on a business trip for the next twelve days and I feel isolated and alone. Instead of hopelessly watching TV or escaping through porn, I’m going to reconnect with loneliness just by sitting with her and seeing what she has to teach me.
Where do you manage your fears and feelings? And how can you meet them instead?
About Zachary Goodson
Zachary is a writer, coach and entrepreneur at heart who loves to help others. His writings focus on his experiences around holistic health, inner child work, addiction, recovery, spirituality and parenting. His teaching is dedicated to helping people experience deep fulfillment in their relationships, careers, and lives. You can contact him at zacharygoodson.com.