To transform the emptiness of loneliness, to the fullness of aloneness. Ah, that is the secret of life.Sunita Khosla
I have known loneliness for most of my life.
For so many years, it consumed me like a wild fire. The more I reached out to others to quench my loneliness, the more intensely it burned. I didn't fit in. My words never came out quite right. My gestures went misunderstood. And love, for me, was always a confusing and unfulfilling thing.
Throughout my 20's I explored spirituality, subculture and relationships in an attempt to find that magic connection — the kind of connection that would make me complete. And yet my loneliness persisted in the midst of all of it.
It wasn't until I stopped pushing my loneliness away and sat with it that I began to understand its purpose, and began a different kind of journey.
I've found that loneliness is not something to be avoided or covered up, even though this is typically how we humans try to deal with it. Once you understand that loneliness is a teacher, pointing you inward where you are accustomed to looking outward, it becomes possible to transform it into something altogether different and beautiful.
The only solution for transforming that uncomfortable loneliness into fulfilling aloneness is self-love. There's just no other way around it. Without self-love, you look to others for validation and approval. You externalize your power. You wait for outside signals to let you know that it's OK to accept yourself, to love yourself, to be yourself.
You could say that this is loving yourself vicariously through someone or something else — whether it's a relationship, an ideology or a dogma that isn't in alignment with your truth. And the nature of this sort of artificial self-love is that it can never fulfill you. At most, it can only satisfy you momentarily. Loneliness will always be present where self-love is absent — sometimes murmuring quietly in the background, and sometimes weighing heavily upon you.
This loneliness is not your enemy. It is a compass, showing you that you've been looking in the wrong direction. And it's always pointing inward, because that's the only place in the Universe where you'll ever find the acceptance you're looking for.
Of course, we need the company of others. This is a natural human drive. But how much more fulfilling our relationships can be, when we approach them from a state of wholeness and self-acceptance! Already complete, already loved from within!
This is a worthwhile journey that you can begin today. Start by saying it out loud: No one in this world can ever give me more than I can give myself. Take hold of that understanding and let it empower you. Begin turning your focus inward — accepting yourself, loving yourself, validating yourself.
My journey in the transformation of loneliness has been both fulfilling and challenging. There's nothing easy about learning to stand strong in your own self-love. I still experience moments of intense loneliness, and I sit with it. I let it show me where I have room to grow in my self-love.
Once you begin this process in earnest, you'll find that when approval and validation do come to you from others, it feels beautifully complementary rather than vitally necessary. In time you'll discover that the burning loneliness that once consumed you is becoming a lush, fulfilling aloneness.
And, perhaps for the first time, you'll find yourself enjoying the breath-taking view from the top of that mountain, where you once only saw distance and emptiness.