I was skimming through Instagram recently when I spied a quote which stopped me dead in my tracks (an overused phrase, certainly, yet captures my reaction exactly).
We’ll get to the quote in a moment, but first let me back up.
Have I mentioned that lately?
Lonely. Lonely. Lonely.
I’ve got that lonely in a crowd, lonely because I think “Crap, People, does no one get what I’m feeling?!”, lonely because I’m actually alone all encompassing lonely feeling.
And yes, Friends fans, it is indeed like tartlet.
I’ve thought LONELY and said LONELY to myself with such regularity the word has lost all meaning.
- I wake early to work (I’m lonely).
- I volunteer at Child’s school (still feels brand spanking new. I’m lonely.).
- I race home after a.m. drop-off and workworkwork (oh the dichotomy of social media. I’m lonely).
- I walk to pick up Child from school & make stilted small talk with other moms (I’m lonely)
- I supervise homework with Child, launch nighttime routine and care for four-legged companion (I’m lonely).
I’ve had friends (I know—the weirdness of the lonely. I do have friends.) plainly inform me loneliness is a choice.
Comments which led me to Dr. Google where I repeatedly found this turn of phrase:
Loneliness can be defined as a lack of rewarding social interactions.
That’s not me, I’ve thought. It feels bigger than that…like lack of time for rewarding social interactions.
I’ve made the choice to sit with my feelings of lonely and here’s what I’ve learned (stuffs which Dr. Google may disagree with):
- Loneliness is feeling not fact. When I stop myself from ruminating I’m able to step back and remember I do have people I can turn to. Feeling not fact is, indeed, a fab mantra of sorts as well.
- Loneliness may indicate false priorities I shared with a friend the fact I felt unproductive. Upon examining my days I saw I was highly productive just not with stuff which really matters to me. I’ve considered the notion my loneliness is a clear-cut as living the wrong priorities.
- Loneliness feels needy. Admitting to being lonely seems like a pretty easy way to ensure I stay that way. I know it’s not true. I also know we (the royal) like to surround ourselves with positive, upbeat, non-lonelies.
- Loneliness is *not* like boredom. This was a crucial realization for me as I’m willing to sit with any feeling–no matter how hard–if there’s a needed or productive end result. There isn’t here. Loneliness doesn’t give birth to creativity even when embraced and explored.
It was after going through the process above I spied an image and lyric-snippet posted on instagram.
Jenny Lewis’ song lyrics resonated with me that day in a way they’d never before:
Loneliness as habit.
Had I swung so far from glorification of BUSY I’d gone 180 degrees the other diection?
Had I drawn my Sharpie-boundaries too clearly and indelibly?
Quite frankly at this point I don’t yet know.
All I know is this:
The loneliness one?
It’s not even good and it’s high time to shed…
- Have you struggled with loneliness? Have you ever discovered it’s become a habit?