The worst type of loneliness is the loneliness you feel when you are surrounded by people. It’s the type of loneliness that hits you when you are roasting marshmallows around a bonfire with all of your best friends. It’s the kind of unprecedented loneliness that makes you feel as though something is wrong; something is missing. It’s the type of loneliness that slams down on your rib cage, suffocating you.
This kind of loneliness – this dull, hollow sensation – is the haunting kind of loneliness. With nowhere to run or hide, you feel exposed yet also empty. You feel full of sadness, but you simultaneously feel nothing. This is the loneliness that builds a wall between you and the rest of the world, leaving you isolated and depleted, stuck in another world all by yourself.
And the scariest part? You feel as though no one can console you or convince you that you are not alone. No one can get through the invisible barrier that divides you from comfort. No one can shake you out of this foggy gray depth.
You flash fake smiles and nod in agreement at your friends’ stories. You throw a comment or word into the conversation every now and then when you think you should. You manage a fake laugh when you see everyone else laughing together. You look like you are part of the group. You look like you belong. But you don’t feel like you belong. You don’t feel what your friends are saying. You don’t feel comforted or supported.
You are there, but you are not really there.
These types of moments, hours, and even days are terrifying. They cause pain and suffering, and make you question your friendships, your relationships, and even yourself. They may make you feel insecure and unworthy. They may make you feel useless or unwanted. But these feelings are just feelings. They do not speak the truth.
While I cannot promise you that you will never feel this way again, I can promise you that these moments don’t need to last forever. I can promise you that this suffering doesn’t need to hurt you so much that you are struggling just to hold on.
I can promise you this because I know that you have a fighter in you. You have overcome this loneliness before, and you will overcome it again – but with even more strength and tenacity. This loneliness is not here to stay, and it will never be here to stay. This loneliness does not reflect anything about your character or your personality. It doesn’t mean that you are unworthy. It doesn’t mean that you are not loved.
And above all, it doesn’t mean that you are alone.
What this loneliness does mean is that you need to take time to heal and mend.
You need some time to remember and reflect on how valuable you are, and to repair the friendship between you and yourself. You need to take time to challenge the hurtful thoughts that loneliness troubles you with. Choose to fight these thoughts. Choose to prove that these thoughts are wrong. You deserve to be free of these thoughts and fears, because you are truly not alone.
You will find that loneliness is often a sign that you are neglecting to take care of yourself in some way. It may also be a sign that you are struggling to love yourself. You feel lonely because you aren’t aware of how special you are. You aren’t aware of how valuable you are to other people. You aren’t realizing how needed you are.
So take time to heal. Take as much time as you need to reconnect with yourself and to mend the wounds caused by your loneliness.
Take time to explore and discover yourself, without any judgment. Try to be accepting of how valuable you are without all of the doubts and negativity. Maybe for you this means trying or exploring something new, or maybe for you this just means giving yourself time to rest and to regain strength. If you still feel as though something is missing, acknowledge the feeling, and accept that you will find a way to fill up this space in the future. It’s okay to have spaces or holes in your life. Just please, don’t fill up these spaces with loneliness. Leave them as spaces for future love.
As you reconnect with yourself and work, remind yourself that you are never ever truly alone. Don’t let this loneliness eat away at your beautiful mind and strong heart. Don’t read so far into this loneliness that you forget that people care about you and that you are worth caring about. And above all, don’t allow this loneliness to deceive you into believing that you are not loved, or that you truly are alone.
And when you finally come up for air, when you finally start to feel a little bit less alone, the rest of the world will be ready for you. They will be waiting for you. They will invite you in with warmth and love.