dealing with loneliness

at this point in my life, I have never been happier. I have my own apartment, a job that I love, and friends who are important to me. while I still deal with anxiety every day, I don’t feel controlled by it. I have hobbies, I go on adventures, and I definitely love myself.

robineylea lonely

interestingly, I would still tell you that I get lonely.

we are members of a social species. evolutionarily, we strived to fit in so that we would have additional protection by belonging to a herd. it was important for survival to fit in with the group, and though our predators have changed over time, humans still naturally long to fit in. we long for friendship, for partners, for family. these relationships bring us different benefits now than they used to: while my best friend probably could fight off a lion for me (she’s seriously a badass), the emotional support that friendship brings is a lot more relevant in today’s world. I think loneliness pushes us to connect with others: it’s evolutionarily advantageous. 

while I have incredible relationships, I would say there’s sometimes this thought in the back of my mind that I’m going to be missing out on being known. loneliness is this constant fear of being left behind, of not being well-loved, of not being accepted by my friends. from talking to others, it seems that these feelings are not uncommon: our society is in a state of loneliness.

the thing that I’ve realized about loneliness is that it doesn’t go away just by surrounding yourself with other people. 

loneliness tells me to ask for acceptance from others, but I’ve realized that I really just have to accept myself. it’s almost like the best time to be alone is when I’m lonely: it’s those moments where I need to get into my own head and remind myself that I am exceptional, delightful, and strong. as Liz Gilbert said, I am braver than my loneliness. 

so how do I deal with the lonely moments? if I’m with others, it comes down to making quality time. this means turning off the netflix and having real conversations, really connecting with people, and talking about real life. if I’m alone, I remind myself that I’m in good company. 

loneliness is the time in my life where I get to learn who I am and who I want to be. it’s really about cherishing the time I get with myself, and repeating the truth: I am enough. 

how do you deal with loneliness?