Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Ghost of loneliness

( Denim Jacket from DKNY, orange top from Forever 21 and jeans from Mango)

We’ve all experienced the feeling of loneliness.

Sometimes, when we’re around other people, all we want is to be alone — or to be left alone.

But sometimes when we actually are alone, we feel empty, or disconnected, or like we’ve been left out. Like there must be something wonderful going on somewhere, and no one bothered to invite us.

Where does that feeling come from? And, more importantly, how do we make it go away?

I have a lot of experience with being alone. I have been working in this city for almost 4 years. I live by myself. So I’ve logged a lot of alone time.

I find that when I’m alone and I’m engaged in some activity — when I’m really into it, not just going through the motions, even if that activity is as mundane as washing the dishes or laundry — then I don’t feel lonely. But if I’m sitting around, trying to figure out what to do and not feeling particularly inspired, then loneliness can creep in. Especially when I combine being alone and uninspired with the S-word: should.

The minute I start thinking things like, “It’s Saturday night. I should go out and do something,” then loneliness can get a foot in the door. And pretty soon, I find myself thinking, “I mean, really, it’s Saturday night. I should have plans. I should have something to do. Somebody should want to be with me. Maybe nobody wants to be with me. I’ve really isolated myself. I’m so alone.”

It’s amazing how fast that downward spiral can get moving and take me with it. But now I recognize that thought pattern. And I know that’s all it is: It’s just a pattern of thoughts that I’ve thought before.  Yes, it may be a familiar pattern. Yes, it may get moving really quickly because I’ve worn a groove in my brain down that path.

But I don’t have to keep thinking those thoughts. I can make a mental U-turn, or at least a detour. The key is to catch myself and realize I’ve stepped into a thought groove. Then I can simply stop and ask myself a question, like: “OK, it’s Saturday night. Do I feel like going out, or would I rather stay in?”

Giving myself a simple choice based on what feels better in the moment helps immensely. That’s because loneliness is a very disempowered feeling. By seeing that I have choices and then by making a choice, I step back into my own power.

Note that there’s no right or wrong answer to the question in this example. I can go out or stay in on a Saturday night. Either choice is just fine.

The key is to first see that it’s my decision to make, and then to tune in to how I feel when I envision myself getting ready to go out, or going to one of my favorite local restaurants and sitting at the bar, or staying in, or what-have-you.
Once I’ve made the decision to stay in or go out, I usually realize I have lots more choices. If I feel like staying in, I can invite one or more of my friends to come over, or I can choose to remain alone. Same for going out.

Interestingly, when this situation comes up in my life lately, I find that I often choose to stay in and remain alone. But because I’ve taken back my power by giving myself choices — by literally giving myself a say in the matter — I no longer feel the slightest bit lonely.

It’s a pretty neat trick, don’t you think? And it works in all kinds of icky-feeling situations.

After all, Life is good!

40 comments:

  1. dahling! I can totally relate to your emotional state. I've had so many lonely weekends to a point it's driven me nuts but yeah, i've somewhat managed it by just keeping myself busy with something either mundane or inane. what an honest post :) hope to see more.

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  2. Oh! I am with you. Don't feel lonely.
    You are the only one to notice Manolo Blahnik.:)) ...my proud possession.

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  3. This was so good Sunny and I am so happy that you have control over your thought patterns. Hopefully this will help someone else that has been struggling with this situation. Have an awesome day my friend.

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  4. most of d time i pretend to be ok in front of other people but honestly i'm hiding a sad face behind this mask....haaay....

    actually i'm always alone even here in the office..there's nobody to talk to except my pc and my virtual friends..i get used to it..like lady gaga's song I WAS BORN THIS WAY...

    that's why i like doing multi task in able for me to forget that YEAH so I'M ALONE ISN'T IT GREAT?! toinks toinks toinks

    aba ewan...

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  5. That's the worst feeling ever and I can relate. Usually if I push myself and go out or see some friends I feel better!

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  6. isa yan sa aking fear, ang maging lonely and alone, dati loner ako e,ayoko ng bumalik dun,..

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  7. To be happy is always ur choice ;D

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  8. I love this post, nakaka-relate ako sobra. Mag-isa lang ako dito sa Shanghai. Ang hirap kalaban ng lungkot when you're far away from everyone and everything you love. Dagdag ko pa na wala akong naiintindihan sa mga sinasabi ng mga tao dito kaya nakaka-frustrate.

    Lee of [Caffeinated Epiphanies]

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  9. always choose to be happy my dear.;)

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  10. Whenever I feel lonely I would lock myself in a room and, instead of crying, I would smile, even if it's forced. Then I would listen to good music afterwards.

    :)

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  11. I totally get you..its a very recurring feeling for me..But I´ve learned to just go with it..and find myself doing anything else and entertaining myself...I´ve also learned to stop feeling lonely and appreciate my alone times

    xx
    Andy
    The Black Label

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  12. SOoo loved this post! Totally agree..

    All the best, Angel

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  13. The thing about the "Saturday night" thing totally resonates with me. I rarely go out on weekends, even though I'm young and should be "partying it up" or whatever. I'm okay with it. But then I log onto Facebook and see all these party pictures. It makes me feel like I should have gone. Ehh.

    I guess I like being alone more than with people. Sometiems I feel more lonely when I'm with people than when I'm by myself. You're right - it's a weird concept.

    Fantastic, thought-provoking post!

    QUIRKYEXPLOSION.blogspot.com

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  14. People who lead a lonely existence always have something on their minds that they are eager to talk about.

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  15. hi sunny! I tagged you pala ! check the link for more info http://photoescape06.blogspot.com/2011/06/ola-im-back-with-tag-post-unfortunately.html much love!

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  16. Awww... ♥ Up for this post! I can relate to this. I am also loner sometimes or most of the time but eating ice cream alone makes me feel so good. At least it can make me smile :)

    ellenreviews.blogspot.com

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  17. I like being alone because I prefer it that way. sometimes even if friends invite me to go out, I still prefer to be alone. It gives me time to do the things I love which requires me to be alone. I love reading and writing as well as watch movies. I'm usually alone because I choose to be. So i agree with what you say.

    ei thanks for following my blog. I followed you back. :) you look good.. :)

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  18. hmmmm.. i like this. you know you're not really alone. you have your friends. i'm always here. you know that. and besides being alone is better than being lonely right? and you already have it figured out how to empower yourself. remember it's all in the mind.

    love,

    Maria Andresa

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  19. Great post. Yes your thoughts are indeed very powerful things. Good thing brings good things. You have proven that you are only lonely if you think you are. Xxxx

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  20. Totally feeling you on this one! Really well written!

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  21. i can relate to this. dont feel lonely, sometimes its good to be by yourself, because really only you can make yourself happy :)

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  22. minsan sabi nila being happy is always a state of mind. Sana wala nalang taong nakakaramdam ng sadness ano.. sabi nga eh its hard to know what causes your sadness but sometimes its even harder when you know what causes your sadness but you cant do anything bout it.. Happy blogging...

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  23. we all need to be alone sometimes.. its necessary and should be expected of us every now and then..

    i think most of the time, we feel so lonely when we miss someone or some other people and they're not around.

    you know what, i like the way you write. i like people who can hold smart conversations. i think you might be one of them (;

    im your new follower btw. hope you'd visit back! (;

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  24. sometimes i want to be alone bcoz i hate noise, i hate more talks.. hehe! and finally im a loner person.. :P

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  25. Hi Sunny, what a great post! I think a lot of people can relate to what you say. I think it is brilliant the way you have turned the situation around and don't give in to those negative feelings.Perhaps you could find an alternative thing to do on a Saturday night, go to the movies, learn to dance, cook for friends, I don't know, whatever you are interested in, something to distract you from feeling you should be out clubbing or whatever. You are a beautiful looking girl, with a lovely personality, there is someone out there for you, I don't doubt it. Have a wonderful weekend. I am sending you some virtual hugs xoxoxo. Linda

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  26. i can empathise with this :( and i have been at home sick for 2 weeks now and have seen nobody, so hard and now I just don't know how to get back out there!
    beautifully written post, I really like your blog :)
    xox

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  27. you're totally in control! :) good attitude!

    Spanish Pinay

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  28. Loneliness, ahhh. we need some time for it!

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  29. aww
    i'm sure you just need to call your friends and they'll be there in a heartbeat!
    stay strong, girl!

    <3
    http://escapesweetest.blogspot.com/

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  30. This is something we do dread and even when we have tons of friends, it's like a shadow that follows us. If this thing gets chronic, I'm afraid it turns out into depression.

    Stay happy!

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  31. I like your denim jacket...
    Don´t feel lonley :)
    kisses pretty!

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  32. Awww! I feel you there! I feel that way too a lot of the time. I think though, the trick is to find true friends who make you feel like you're not alone even if they aren't with you physically. This moment could be a trying period, but a positive one, in the sense that you get to find out who your real friends are :) feel better love! :*

    http://samalamode.blogspot.com/

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  33. i've so~ been there. but what i do instead is fix or arrange anything. usually the degree of rearranging or fixing up is proportional to the amount of loneliness. otherwise if there's nothing to fix, i always put on "angry" music.

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  34. Hi! I like this post so much, you look really great!
    If you want come and visit my blog, and if you like, follow me!

    http://cosamimetto.blogspot.com/

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  35. Bad thoughts come not only to you, but to everybody´s head. The only thing to do is to let them pass, and never, ever engage.
    Nobody can control thoughts, but we can control the attention we pay to them.Stick to the good ones, as you say, and they will be the ones to stick.
    Lovely pics, my friend.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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