‘‘We cannot see things in perspective until we cease to hug them to our bosom. When we let go of them we begin to appreciate them as they really are.’’ – Thomas Merton
It’s hard not to feel trapped when there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go. Current circumstances make it impossible to judge how much risk is acceptable to take with your own life and with the lives of those around you: family members, roommates, friends, and coworkers. But what can you do if the loneliness of isolation is driving you batshit crazy?
You can change your perspective.
Loneliness is generally regarded as a negative state that is marked by feelings of isolation. If you have these feelings when you are actually alone, then I’m going to side with you and say you are probably lonely. It’s worse if you experience being lonely when surrounded by people. There might be a sense of detachment or withdrawal of love that makes you feel that loss of connection with those around you. It might even be the inkling of depression. It’s going to take some deep soul searching to find the root cause.
But what if you think about loneliness not as ‘loneliness’ at all and instead as solitude? Sure, we can argue that it would be nice to get a hug or to see someone smile and wave at you from across the hall. But what shifts within you when you think about leaning into being ‘isolated’ as protected, safe, content? Maybe a relationship failed. Maybe there wasn’t one to begin with. Maybe you used to look forward to commuting to work so you could interact with your peers. Either way, that’s all changed now. Can you fully accept the circumstances of now?
You choose to be alone to learn about yourself.
You choose to be alone to learn the language of your heart and mind.
You choose to be alone to seek comfort and serenity in your strength.
You choose solitude to disconnect from the static of the world around you.
You choose solitude to break away from having to react to others’ demands of you.
You choose solitude to give rise to originality and creativity.
Yes, it can be hard to be alone without seeking the comfort of another for a long period of time. It is even harder if you are an extrovert, because that is where you thrive. But you are strong and resilient. Shifting your perspective to embrace the current moment allows you to practice flexibility rather than letting loneliness win.