Sounds familiar?: that you feel alone..., lonely. And that that has nothing to do with being alone. Being alone, in the sense of: without social contacts. On the contrary, you live with people, you meet colleagues at work, you visit family, friends..., and so on..., enough people around you, enough social exchanges..., and yet... you feel alone, lonely. 

What is that? From where do we feel alone..., lonely..., even when we are in company or on ourselves? Any idea? For years I have felt alone in the sence of 'lonely'. Actually, for a long time I didn't feel at home on planet earth and I didn't understand it. Enough people around me, I lacked nothing... and yet I felt lonely. For years I fled for those feelings by distraction. Too painful to really let in the feeling of loneliness. Recognizable? Do you recognize the escape routes that you use to avoid feelings of loneliness? Forms of distractions such as: a lot of food, alcohol/drugs, festivals, TV/series, get out every night, lots of acquaintances and friends, hard work, courses, training and therapy to work on yourself (in the hope that the feeling of being unhappy disappears). 

In short: we fill our time. We fill our time in with all kinds of distraction..., in order not to feel the void in us ..., to avoid the emptiness..., the emptiness that we all carry within us. It is not easy to enter into those feelings of loneliness when the power and insight are lacking that loneliness has nothing to do with outer circumstances, but with an inner quality: we are not at home in our-Selves, we are not at home in our Heart. And if we are not at home in our-Selves, then we look for 'it' (connection, contact, love) outside of us: then we need the other person. The other person must take away our feelings of loneliness, alienation and not being understood. The other person must approve us and makes us happy (which is impossible). And because of this conviction (that loneliness can only be solved by another), we feel dependent on others. We are not dependent, that is not our reality (we can take care of ourselves), but we have made ourselves dependent: we are convinced that we need the other person for our sense of well-being. And the assumption that we can't be happy without the other person, makes us dependent on the love and approval of the other. And then there is only one way to recieve the love we need: adapatation. So we constantly ask ourselves how we come across to others: how should I behave, what can I say/do and what is not desirable to say/do, what does the group expect of me (colleagues, friends, sports club, political party), what is not done, what is appropriate, what is expedient behavior to be accepted, to belong? 

In other words, we show the outside world a mask. We don't show what really matters to us, because when we show our true face, people reject us (we think). What we don't realize is that the rejection lives in ourselves (the critic in us): we reject ourselves, from which we are afraid that the other person will also reject us. And to avoid rejection, we do differently (cheerful, friendly, helpful, interested etc.) than what is going on in us at that moment, because yes..., we have made ourselves dependent on the confirmation and approval by others. Consequence: we give up our individuality, our-Self (a process that occurs from an early age). We follow, we become imitators, manipulators, otherwise we will not get what we need, we will be left alone. 

We become part of the crowd, in the adjustment..., in exchange for ...? Yes, for what? What does attention of the other mean if we have to give up our individuality? What does acceptance mean if we behave differently, if we don't dare to be ourselves? Yes, but it is like that..., we need the other person? Nobody wants to be alone? Nobody wants to stay behind, right? Oh, is that really true? Is happiness in life dependent on someone else? Or do we think this, because we don't know otherwise, because we live from the adjustment and we have lost our individuality. Do we think this because we have not yet started the confrontation with the emptiness? Because we avoid painful feelings of loneliness? As soon as the loneliness presents itself, we will take flight again. 

How do we know what is on the other side if we have never met the emptiness, the loneliness? Without the other, we are thrown back on ourselves. If we are thrown back on ourselves (quarrel, removal, relationship goes out, partner dies, friendship ends), feelings of loneliness will knock on our door. Stay with it, even if it causes fear and you want to run back to the other or to a flight route that is familiar to you. Enter the loneliness... Yes, it feels like an abyss of deep lack and emptiness, I know all about it. Deep lack and emptiness to what? To connect with our-Self, to connect with our essence: the Heart. And yes, courage is needed and insight to stay with the pain, but when we actually meet the emptiness, the loss and the loneliness, a melting process takes place. Slowly we come home to our Heart, we discover who we really are (apart from others), feelings of alienation dissolve, our individual Self rises, the adjustment and neediness (I need the other) disappears: you are and you experience that you have a good time with your Self. Your sense of well-being no longer depends on approval, confirmation, acceptance, appreciation, being seen or understood by the other person. Loneliness transforms into being-alone (being all-one: you are One). You are happy, without any reason, you don't need the other person. Not that you don't want to be with others... On the contrary: you are able to be with others and live together because you are yourself. I conclude with a paragraph of Osho (Zen tarot, card 9, aloneness) about loneliness versus being alone. 'Loneliness is a negative condition. You long for the presence of the other person, you long for real contact and connection, but the other person is absent and you are also absent, not present in the heart. 

Being alone, which is something other than loneliness, is the presence of yourself. Being alone means fulfillment, abundance, you don't need anyone, nice when there are others, but you don't need them to feel happy or fulfilled.

'Until you get comfortable with being alone, you will never know if you are choosing someone out of love or loneliness'. (Mandy Hale)
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes