Emergency Kit: How to accept loneliness and let the pain go
I was wandering along the beach. Stones, rocks, autumn leaves and shells under my feet. The sun was shining on my naked arms and there was a wind blowing threw my hair and the long grass of the peninsula. There was a feeling of gratitude inside of me, a peaceful mind, zen*. I wasn't thinking too much, I just let it flow, I was.
But how comes that you can have this feeling, be happy when you are alone, actually enjoy loneliness?
I'm sure that everyone in this world has felt lonely at one point of his life or at many. Loneliness can be hard! It doesn't necessarily mean that you are alone - because you can also feel lonely when with people, even with friends and family. Loneliness can be both - a state of mind and physical. And both can be enjoyed or painfully suffered.
The truth is: It's mostly a choice how we ply loneliness. For making it bearable, first of all you need to learn to accept it. Every following step will be easier. But how can you accept it when you feel so lonely?
Here are some possibilities to let go of the pain when you feel lonely. Let's start with some short meditation.
When you feel unbearable lonely, lay or sit down or if not possible just stand still - and close your eyes or look at something inanimated if you're in public and want to keep your eyes open. Breathe slowly in and out through your nose and let your tension go. Imagine that with every breath out you feel lighter, released and with every breath in you feel stronger, at ease. Do it until you're ready and then tell yourself while continuing breathing: "I let everything go that's burdening me and open myself for what's good for me." Repeat it until you feel it.
This simple exercise helps you to let go and prepares you for what's coming next.
Open your eyes when you already feel a little bit lighter and got rid of some tensions. Now look around and continue your slow deep breath. What do you see? Everything seems quiet and far away - you got some distance from it to see clearer.
When you’re not at home, ask yourself: "Where am I? Who am I with? Who else is here? What am I doing here? Why am I here? How do I usually feel when I am here or with these people?"
Ask these questions without any emotions and answer them slowly to yourself. The answers in your head may be in words, images or both. You're already more quiet because you took your feelings away. And that's necessary in this case. You need to be emptied or composed to be open and see clear.
Now ask yourself: "What do I like about being here?"
If you really don't like that place or surrounding, tell yourself what you don't like about it. Is it just the place? Is it the situation? The very moment? Are it the people? Or is it that something or someone is missing? Explore it. It will lead you to your previous emotions, anxieties and thoughts that made you feel lonely.
If you found out why you do like it (maybe at least a little bit), go deeper into it. Look around again and put a smile on your lips. Tell yourself "I like it because ..." until you believe it.
If you found out why you don't like it, look around again. Tell yourself: "I don't like it because it reminds me of ... / because ... is missing / because I feel small next to these people / because I feel like a stranger / ..." And then add: "But I accept the reason why I am here and I accept my emotions and I'm gonna make the best out of it."
Therefore you should ask yourself: “What would make the situation better for me?” If you don’t feel involved at a party, take the initiative and talk to someone, dance, sing out loud to the music. And if you’re really at the wrong place: Don’t waste your time with people who do not appreciate you.
Maybe it’s you who is not made for that place, situation, people at that very moment, even if everything is totally fine. If you really don't feel well, say goodbye and leave. Just wander around without any certain direction. Maybe return after some while or go to a place where you feel calm and safe. Your happy-place. And then go through the reasons why you didn't feel well at that place or with these people. Just accept it and let go. Smile and be open and free.
If you're (alone) at home and feel anxious and deeply sad being or being alone, do the same breathing meditation and ask yourself the necessary questions. For example: “Why did I stay home today? What did happen throughout the day? What could be the trigger for my panic and my exuberant emotions? How do I usually feel when I’m alone at home? Can I put it in words, what or whom I’m missing at the moment? What are the things that make me usually happy? Which of them can I do alone?”
Ask these questions without any emotions and answer them without any regret or desire. Now go in front of the mirror and tell yourself: "I am strong and I can enjoy my own company." Repeat it until you start believing it.
Now look into the mirror again and make funny and crazy grimaces - they make the hidden feelings break out. You're gonna get angry or laugh or cry. Tell yourself: "It's okay. It's okay to have these feelings. It's okay being emotional. I'm gonna work on solving the reasons for my negative, even self-destructive thoughts and painful feelings. But now I need myself to get away from it, I need my head to be emptied. I'm gonna do something that I like and I'm gonna enjoy doing it by myself - alone! It will soothe me and make me feel good about myself." Say it out loud until you believe it and can do it. And then smile triumphantly like you rule it! Laugh it out loud.
And then do it, do something you didn't want to do before because you felt too lonely to do it. You will see that you'll be able to concentrate or to slowly relax while doing it. It can be reading a book, writing a letter or into your diary, painting in a colouring book, going on a walk / run / bike tour, listening to calm music, taking a bath or going asleep early - maybe with an audio meditation before. Whatever it is, it should be something you can do alone. Because you need to learn to enjoy being alone. No texting, no phoning, no TV, internet or radio.
If the day is not over yet, plan to do something later that day for that you didn’t feel motivated before. Maybe a meet-up, leaving the house, cleaning up, or a conversation or decision that you have postponed for a while.
The purpose of the exercise is to becoming aware of you own weakness and behaviour patterns as well as the triggers. Then you fortify yourself to being able to accept and even appreciate loneliness.
The next morning you will feel better. It’s a fresh start until you need the emergency kit again – to restore your inner
balance when you feel lonely.
Loneliness can hurt so much that it feels like it's inwardly tearing you apart. But this little meditation and question kit will help you to find your way out of the pain and be able to relax. It will help you to feel better being alone more and more wherever you are. But it's just the start.
For having the joy of loneliness when walking along the beach or being happy alone in a restaurant, a bar, at a concert, at home ... how I usually do – no matter if it was my choice to be alone or if I don’t know anybody at that place yet or if my friends didn’t have time to join – there is more you should learn. You need to go deeper to solve your inner blockades and fears. They're the reasons for that unbearable pain of loneliness. And you need to be willing to work on it. It takes time and needs patience. Plus: You need to be willing to go through deeply buried memories and forgotten pain – to process your traumas and overcome them. Not all at the same time for that it doesn’t overstrain you, but step by step with the right techniques.
Be ready for it – it's worth it!
For ways and tools to do so, please stay tuned for my next articles: One technique to remove stress is called tapping acupressure - click here to learn more about it.
*Zen: state of meditative contemplation