Maybe you are one who comes home to an empty house and sits alone at a dining room table, or on a couch (because why not?), with your dinner for one.
Maybe you often go for walks by yourself and see the other families, groups of friends or couples enjoying each other and feel just a little bit like something is dying inside of you—that feeling of lack and longing that can only be compared to a sense of grief for what is not.
Maybe when people ask you what your plans are for certain holidays, you are tempted to make something up so that you can feel like you have people, like it seems everyone else does.
You may come home to a spouse and family with x number of kids and feel this exact same way.
You may have people around you all of the time, yet you feel as if you are not only the only person in the room but the only person on this planet.
I have been in both situations, and I know these feelings intimately.
I know how it feels to wake up alone. I know how it feels to spend holidays by myself, scrolling through social media and seeing the depictions of community and family that others have. I know how it feels to push my two little girls in their cute little side-by-side stroller past a beach and see other parents each holding children in the water—something that I can not yet do by myself.
I also know how it feels to be sitting around a large table of friends, having small talk, and not feeling as if any of us are really connecting. I know what it is like to be in a marriage, yet feel like I am alone.
I also know how it felt years ago when I saw two women from my yoga community who were very close friends look at each other as if they were not only the sisters in this life, but had known each other intimately for thousands of years.
I want that, I thought.
I wanted that badly. I wanted someone not only to spend time with and frolic through life with, but someone who actually wanted to see deeply inside of me, who would allow for me to see deeply inside of them.
I reached a point in my life where I needed to feel true connection about as much as I needed water to drink or air to breathe.
It was being exposed to this that was the first step for me. I saw that this existed, and whether I had been exposed to this before and just had not seen it, I will never know, but that is irrelevant.
I saw it when I needed to see it, and felt a burn inside of me to experience this myself.
It did not come right away from me, oh no. Most things do not, and this is okay.
The key to what happened next was really an internal shift for me.
I chose to decide to be alone, but decided to not feel lonely.
I chose to rid myself of that feeling—feeling like a victim, feeling self-pity, feeling that vague sense of loss or grief. It all had to go.
You see, I was so spun out with all of these negative emotions most of the time, along with my fiery personality that back then generally manifested itself as anger or judgment, that I was quite literally repelling certain people, and the people I did have in my life I was not connecting with very well. I chose to be accountable.
I did not like myself very much and at that time, I was even repelling myself. I was afraid to look at “me” and what I was doing and how I was reacting not only to certain life circumstances, but to life in general.
So, I softened. I was only judging others because I was judging myself. I was only angry at others because I was angry with myself. I perceived my life as being that of lack and grief, so that is what I felt, and all of this needed to shift.
And, it did. After a year or two of making peace with myself and embracing a true essence of gratitude for all that I had, not a lot of the circumstances changed in my life, but I changed.
Suddenly, I had an influx of people into my life that I now look at as being somewhat of a soul family. These are people who have led similar lives, and came to some of the same realizations on their own. These people know what I am feeling and thinking practically when I am not even verbalizing any of it. These are people who I can fully open up to, whether I am scared, anxious, elated, or inspired—and they do the same to me.
We are not “needy” in a codependent way, rather we are honest and authentic and independent in a way that is so firmly connected that we do not even need to speak often.
We are in this together—and we all are, I just could not feel that before, because I had an unhealthy relationship with myself and perspectives that were acting as barriers to so very much.
It is difficult to connect with anyone when we are not connecting authentically with ourselves, and vice versa, but this is not something for which anyone should even feel shame or guilt, rather an opportunity to shift.
So, I say to you who feels lonely:
You are seen and you are loved. This I promise you, even if you do not yet feel this way.
Your own eyes are there for you to do your own “soul gazing,” and there is an infinite amount of things to see and love in this way, it just takes both acceptance and curiosity.
You can realize that you are enough, even when you are alone, because this is true. This is always true.
We know when we are truly loving ourselves when the longing for others shifts from being a “need” to a “want.”
Others find joy in connecting with us when we can find joy in connecting with ourselves.
You are enough and you have so much for which to be grateful, and that day will come when you will look up to see others much like yourself who have been looking for you, and until that day comes, enjoy yourself.
You are all that you need until you find those who you want.
Author: Katie Vessel
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Josh Felise/Unsplash