Guest Post: How Loneliness Changed Me For The Better
Loneliness is not the same thing as being alone. You can find yourself alone without feeling lonely just as easily as you can feel horribly secluded in the midst of many people. One of the best things that I have learned when I felt isolated from family and friends is that letting loneliness overwhelm me is a choice, and life is too short to let emotions like that overrule my happiness.
Let me preface this post by saying that I am beyond blessed by the amount of love that I am surrounded with. The periods of time that I struggled and felt alone were not because my loved ones abandoned me in any way; they were just necessary times for me to 'find myself' on my own. Unless these times of solitude were somewhat forced on me, I would have avoided them any way that I could (and still will). Despite how uncomfortable it was, I cannot deny that fighting loneliness has done so many good things for me. I have to be thankful for these periods of time because I came out of them changed.
I had to deal with my emotions.
I am the queen of pretending that I am fine when I am not, but burying emotional issues somewhere deep inside is much harder to do when you have a lot of time to talk to yourself. Things that I needed to deal with from my past surfaced when I spent most of my time in quiet, and I had no choice but to be honest with myself about why I was hurting, bitter, sad, or jealous.
Recurring fights with my parents, old grudges held on friendships, breakups, and more got brought into a new light in my mind. I began a process of sorting through each of them until I could finally make a choice to let go, ask for forgiveness, or start doing things differently. I started to see that even in circumstances that were out of my control, the hue in which my life was colored was still in my own hands. So if I found myself chronically unhappy I was the only one to blame.
I discovered more of who I am.
I also felt like the core of who I was became more solidified. I was making choices about where to go and how to spend my time without anyone else's input involved. I really enjoyed my time at the gym, reading, dancing around my living room, and going for long runs. I had to like hanging out with myself when that was my only option, so I began cultivating better things in my surroundings and in my heart.
I spent so much of my time in prayer, but a lot of that time was spent listening (not the easiest activity for me). These phases forced me to be stronger than I realized I was in order to get through to the other side. I felt so much peace come over me in times that I could have chosen to crumble or quit, but I can't take any of the credit for that. I know that I was running on a strength not my own, and that was an incredibly freeing experience.
I dealt with some insecurities.
Part of the reason that being alone bothers me is because I am insecure when everyone else has plans that don't include me. A mixture of feeling left out and of being caught without anything to do makes me want to formulate any plan to get myself out of the house and staying busy. I was forced to figure out where insecurities like these were coming from and face them head on.
Simply telling myself, 'not having anything to do does not mean that my value as a person has decreased in any way', was actually really healing. Being honest with myself about why a situation makes me grouchy can diffuse my emotions so quickly when I deal with the root of insecurity behind it.
I appreciate who I have even more.
I have an ever greater appreciation for the people that I love after spending time without them. I am so indescribably thankful for what they do for me on a daily basis. They pulled me through loneliness by standing beside me even when they physically couldn't be there. Those bonds will always be the most important things to me. I will sacrifice any amount of money or success for the people in my life, because my life really isn't worth much without them. No matter how far away my dreams take me, that kind of love makes distance irrelevant.
I am a 20-something, adventuring Colorado girl. My love of writing has recently been directed towards blogging. Please visit my blog site to check out more articles!