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"How do you deal with loneliness?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I think there are a few kinds of loneliness. There is physical loneliness, where you’re totally fine most of the time but GOOD LORD do you want someone to cuddle. There is the kind of loneliness based on a previous codependency, where doing shit alone just FEELS WEIRD BC NO ONE GETS IT. And then there is I-Don’t-Love-Me-Most-Of-All loneliness.

The last one is the hardest to deal with and, in my opinion, the easiest to slowly fix. When you don’t think you’re the best thing on earth, you have a hard time being with just yourself. I spent a lot of my life like that, I would fill every possible second with a hang out sesh because being around people was the thing that made me feel good. I didn’t feel good when I was alone. WHICH YOU GUYS TURNS OUT means I wasn’t actually feeling good when I was around other people, I was just distracted.

I did a lot of reading. I read a lot of those self-fulfilling books about success and passion and finding what moves you and your inner beauty, etc. I did a lot of walking around by myself and noticing tiny things like flowers and puppies and cool buildings. I did a lot of writing. I have about 20billion half-written essays, short stories, and even the beginning of a young adult novel about the end of the world (NBD). I spent hours getting to know me and why I am awesome. I have so many amazing things to offer the world and I recognize that now, which makes being alone with me a lot more fun and interesting.

It’s a hard process, learning to love yourself. You have to get rid of those moments when you think you’re less than. Stop comparing yourself to others because you will never be someone else. You are you. The greatest most amazing you. The only you. The fucking coolest you. As soon as you figure that out for yourself, all the kinds of loneliness will be a helluva lot more manageable.

Kristin Says:

She’s right. Not a big surprise, I know, because Dannielle tends to be right a whole bunch, but still. Loneliness is an inside-to-outside feeling. It starts on the inside, and most of us do the only thing we know how: we take the feeling and we say, “If I just had (fill in the blank), then this feeling would go away.”

Now, that doesn’t take away the validity of needing and wanting things like having someone to hold you, or having someone to go grocery shopping with you, or having someone who is there to see that your cat just fell backward off the headboard like a total goon. Those moments of wanting human companionship are real, and true. Many of us want that companionship, and want someone to be there to witness our lives with us.

That said, you have to remind yourself that you have time. You likely have a lot of minutes, a lot of hours, and a lot of years to walk around this planet. You are going to have times where you are with someone you love, and feel lonelier than you ever imagined possible, and other times when you are totally alone and feel full of joy at how non-alone you are. You’ll have times where you have someone beside you and you feel safe. You’ll have times where you are alone, and you feel horribly lonely. None of these experiences negate the possibility of others. Your feelings do not mean that you can’t ever feel another way, and they don’t mean that the only way you will feel differently is to have a specific thing that you imagine will be the “fix.”

Trust in the possibility that life can surprise you.
Trust in the possibility that you may find solace in ways you can’t yet imagine.
Trust in the possibility of finding what you are after, and trust that this world often gives us things in an order we didn’t anticipate.

It’s okay to feel lonely. Just don’t give up hope, and don’t focus on only one “solution” to your problem. This is a very, very big world. Take risks, surprise yourself, have patience, and remember that loneliness takes many forms and is never permanent. Hell, none of this is.

xx

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