Don’t You Get Lonely?
There’s always a mixed tone of pity and unintentional criticism in the voice that asks me this. The topic doesn’t have to be relevant (being single, preferring to stay in over going out, having hobbies not requiring social interaction, etc.), but the follow up question always seems the same. In the past, I always would answer no because how I enjoy quiet time or the “lonely” hobby I engage in. It’s a very automatic and familiar without a second thought. However, I have recently tried to view it through a different perspective. My answer today, and moving forward, would be: yes, I do get lonely, and that’s okay.
I believe that there is personal value in solitude, if one wants to see it. What do I do when in a time of being lonely? I reflect. I reflect on myself, my life, choices, desires, relationships. Sometimes, in states of self reflection, I learn new things about myself. I develop new explanations for aspects of myself I don’t fully understand or problem solve an internal conflict. I guess the similar term for this in psychological circles would be “self actualization”.
Society doesn’t value loneliness enough. I’ve met so many people that are lost if they aren’t constantly occupied by something. They simply do not know what to do with empty time. Most others typically think of being lonely as negative or a weakness. They see it as unproductive or boring. It is if that’s what you make it. If a more positive concept for loneliness was promoted, or the idea of self actualization, then many people would find more to gain within rather than expecting it from outside them.
Everyone should learn how to be alone. It is my thought that those are the times we discover the most about ourselves. Knowing as much as possible about myself, my strengths, and my flaws, has helped me prevent past internal conflicts from occurring again. I learn ways of preventing decisions I know aren’t in the best interest of my emotional health, even though they are tempting. How do I achieve a better understanding of myself? I write things out. The most accessible way is keeping a journal. Keeping a routine journal makes it easier to track personal growth and actualization. It’s physical proof. It’s also harder to deny truth when it is staring back at me in written words.
Another way I communicate my reflections is in my poetry. I would guess people in general will be less likely to try poetry for lack of interest or the “I’m not creative” reason. I think poetry should remain subjective, that it doesn’t have to be considered good or bad. It just needs to be honest. I use my poetry to explain my world and self as I see them. In that sense, I see my writing as true. It also helps to use imagery and vocabulary that isn’t as dry and informative as a journal entry. Vivid description and word choice helps capture ideas for a larger audience to relate with upon sharing. That is simply how I go about my self actualization and I would urge readers to find their own ways if needed.
The concept for this post came about on a gloomy day where I was left with not much else but time and canceled plans. I spent the day doing little tasks, taking a few new photos, and mostly internalizing. During that time, I learned I did pretty well with time to myself after unexpected cancellations. I got the idea that I should compose a post that would portray loneliness in a positive light to counter the grand stigma that loneliness always has to be negative. I hope I’ve done justice to that goal, at the least. Even if you’re not convinced to pick up a pen and journal or actively self reflect, I hope this post has illuminated the idea of loneliness in a new, thought provoking way for you.