When do you feel less lonely – when you are alone or when you are in a room full of people?
Being alone and being lonely are two entirely different feelings. When you are alone, you get to spend quality time with yourself. You have the chance to reconnect with yourself, indulge in self-care rituals, do the things you love without the fear of being judged. When you are lonely, you feel lost. Even if you are surrounded by people, you feel a suffocating emptiness inside of you.
However, sometimes the crowd can trick your mind into thinking you are not lonely. How can you be lonely with so many friends who constantly shower you with attention, right?
When your mind is occupied, you can’t really reflect on the way you genuinely feel. This keeps you distracted from your own emotional state. Eventually, you find yourself intentionally decreasing your alone time because you don’t really know how to be alone. You watch random videos before bed, you check your social media feeds as soon as you wake up in the morning, you scroll through your phone on the way to work. It’s all because you are afraid to be alone with your own thoughts.
Imagine being left by yourself with not a single distraction. No phones, no laptops, no work, no social media. What happens then?
Who are you when nothing draws your attention away from your thoughts?
If you are any like most of us, then you are petrified to just be alone. The awakening that you are terrified to be on your own hits you like a ton of bricks. You suddenly understand your excessive urge to always keep yourself busy. What’s worse, you realize that you feel lonely. Somewhere down the line, you have lost the connection with yourself, which is why you fear being left alone even for a second.
But how can you rebuild the most important relationship in your life – the one with yourself? What can you do to become less lonely? In theory, it is actually quite simple. The American cosmetic surgeon and author of the self-help book “Psycho-Cybernetics”, Maxwell Maltz, said it best:
“If you make friends with yourself, you will never be alone.”
Become your best friend. This way being alone will never feel lonely.
Make some time for yourself just like you make time to see your friends. But do it old school – no blue light screens, just you and your thoughts.
Smartphones are the 21st century’s way of connecting with the world. However, they often hold you back from being truly connected to yourself. They have turned into one of the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of your relationship with yourself. If you manage to control your screen time, just like you would do for your child, you will surely get a step closer to reconnecting with yourself. Life happens outside of your smartphone, so don’t let it slip away while spending hours staring at the blue screen.
Instead of scrolling through your feed as soon as you open your eyes in the morning, use this time to go for a walk or make yourself a nice cup of coffee that will help you start your day with a feeling of bliss. You can’t deny that the first sip of coffee in the morning hits differently, just like some cold fresh air in the early hours of the day.
And while doing so, stop and smell the flowers, or appreciate the aroma of the coffee beans. Breathe in, breathe out, and become aware of where you are at this particular moment. Acknowledge your feelings, the thoughts that go through your mind, the emotions they trigger.
Meditation is another efficient way of reconnecting with yourself. A simple 5-minute break a day, in which you get to reflect on your feelings by focusing on the present moment, can do wonders. And if you think meditation won’t work, take some time to do the little things you enjoy. Read, write, paint, sing, dance, do whatever it is that helps you relax your mind and unwind.
Loneliness is the absence of connection, not company.
When you learn how to be on your own without feeling lonely, you will be able to overcome the feeling of emptiness. The time and energy you will use to rebuild the relationship with yourself will be the best investment you will ever make. After all, you can’t have wholesome connections with other people if the bond you have with yourself is falling apart.