You Don’t Need Friends to Overcome Loneliness

The simplest way to overcome loneliness is not merely tolerating it but relishing in it.

We are wired for social connection. As since this is the case, being okay with solitude isn’t a substitute for social connection. A life of pure solitude robs us of the human experience.

So what does “being okay” with solitude look and feel like?

  1. Not letting others dictate your mood.
  2. Disengaging from socializing as a coping mechanism or distraction.
  3. Relishing the ecstasy of being at home in your mind and body.

The social connection becomes much more authentic when we are okay with being alone. Using someone’s company as an escape, distraction, or for something we want becomes a band-aid to temporarily alleviate the loneliness.

We have access to the world’s citizens through social media, yet, loneliness is on the rise.

73% of us millennials report feeling lonely.

The cause has to be the lack of authentic connection. After all, authentic connection is the opposite of loneliness. Ironically, authentic connection comes not from chasing it, but by being okay with never receiving it.

Letting go of loneliness in favour of being okay with aloneness is the way to overcome it.

Life is full of paradoxes. Let’s tackle this one by unpacking those three points of what “being okay” with solitude is like.

Being Okay with Solitude

1. Self-Esteem vs. Other-Esteem

Other people have no business dictating the way you feel about yourself.

This mindset shift took some time for me to adapt. The reason is that you literally need to mature and age to fully realize this. Kids and teenagers are prone to giving credence to other people’s opinions. We can’t simply tell them to stop doing this cause it’s ingrained in human biology. It’s how we become socialized.

We can, however, inform them of whose opinions matter.

  • Family
  • Mentors
  • Close Friends that we trust

As a kid, I gained my self-worth when these people gave me even an ounce of praise.

Unfortunately, it also extended to those I didn’t value.

It’s rare to find a teenager who is completely devoid of other esteem. Even rarer to find a socially integrated adult devoid of self-esteem.

Valuing self-esteem instead of other esteem is explained by this mainstream quote:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

You cannot control other-esteem just like how you can’t force authentic connection. If your emotional state is at the whim of what you can’t control, good fricken’ luck trying to steer your ship. You can, however, control it by 100% acceptance of being alone.

It’s okay to temporarily be one cool, calm, and collected loner.

That’s attractive cause people will sense that you don’t NEED them to feel good.

2. Disengage from Socializing as a Distraction/Coping Mechanism

You miss out on presence in a state of constant distraction.

The monks have been onto something for millennia. They know that the world is full of meaningless distractions. Some ascetics go to the extreme and rid themselves of all of it, including people.

I’m not advocating for you to be a hermit.

All I’m saying is that we’d all benefit from a break from the distraction of the world.

One of these distractions is the social game of life.

FOMO (fear of missing out) epitomizes our culture’s priority to have fun with the people we love. The problem lies when FOMO becomes chronic – Now, the constant stimulation of blah, blah, blahing with people is a dire need.

Again, this circles back to not letting people dictate your mood…

We don’t need to chase our way out of loneliness.

We need to realize that we are never truly lonely…

3. Relishing the ecstasy of being at home in your mind and body.

It’s popular to hear the phrase, “You are God.”

This is a rabbit hole waiting for me to burrow through. But I’d rather not chase that rabbit. I don’t need to, scratch that, we all don’t need to.

Intellectualizing God takes you away from him – Another paradox of the mind we use to make sense of the spiritual.

Thinking is the quirk of the human mind. You cannot think your way to God. Instead, we can realize that we are part of God, and just “be.”

I’ve been writing about “being” a lot recently. However, I get stumped each time I try to convey it with words. Maybe it’s cause I’m writing non-fiction and not poetry. But equally plausible is the fact that the state of “being” is devoid of language and thinking.

A return to “being” is a return to your mind and body – a unique home where only you know where all the light switches are.

It’s a tragedy to offset this state with our need to be distracted. The pull of socializing can be one of these distractions if we have chronic FOMO. The need for distraction has never left me, but it has gotten weaker thanks to the mystic known as Sadhguru. His 5-minute explanation of what acceptance of the present moment means made paying $200 for his inner engineering course all worth it.

I wish I could describe “being” like this to you in this post.

I guess you’ll just have to pay him $200…

You’re welcome Sadhguru,

#sparkperception

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