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Fear of the inevitable
We’re all scared of confronting things which we know are bound to happen; that presentation, that test, those cheeky lines we try to speak in clarity but end up muttering under our breath when asking that special someone out, but do we ever truly think about the inevitability of loneliness? It is something to dread, of course, it feels horrible.
At times you may even ask yourself is seclusion worth it? especially for long term gains which aren’t even promised to me? well, the short answer is yes. It most definitely is.
However, there are, from what I have extrapolated from my observations, four different types of loneliness, all of which you must be familiar with and understand because regardless of who you are, you may have or will experience these forms of loneliness. All are imperative for growth.
The first type is perhaps the most innocent of the four. Imagine you are a child again at the tender age of five, you have just left home with your mother on a quest to obtain nourishment for the whole family. Your objective? to obtain these goods from the land of groceries, AKA the shopping centre.
You arrive, greeted by the boundless amounts of sustenance. Your eyes become overwhelmed with delight as you run through the labyrinth of goods, most commonly known as isles. Then, it hits you. You realise that in your excitement you have forgotten the very harbinger of news that was to guide you through these uncharted lands, your mother.
Realising that you forgot your mother, you did what any sane five-year-old child would do, with the utmost dignity and your head held high you take a deep breath in and cry.
Now, upon hearing these wretched cries a dweller of these lands, known as a grocery clerk, greets you with a friendly smile and asks if you’re alright. You feel embarrassed, shy even, you wipe your tears on your sleeve and utter the words “I can’t find my mother”. Then, you follow the grocery clerk as she leads you to the help desk and in mere moments you are reunited with your mother and all is peaceful again in your small portion of the world.
The point I’m trying to make, after that incredible tangent is that there will be times where you will find yourself alone and unsure as to why you’re even alone but you have to remind yourself, these unexpected periods of loneliness don’t last forever and there will be times where you’re very lonely and other times you might not be. Regardless, it won’t last forever, you will find resolve and continue to be happy.
The second type is the most sacrificial of the four. This type relates to the willingness to choose loneliness in order to gain more in the long term, while also relinquishing any current form of pleasure to achieve this state of loneliness.
A common example of this is to say no to that social event so that you can study for that important test coming up or to say no to that holiday so that you can nail down on writing that book you’ve always wanted to write. This is a mature choice taken by those with ambition and the willingness to put in the work. It’s also the choice many people may take just to clear their minds of all the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Whatever your reason is to choose this momentary period of loneliness understand that you must sacrifice some pleasure to gain benefit in the long term.
The emphasis is on “some” not all, remember you’re human, you deserve to rest, so once you’ve put in those hours of dedication and have completed certain tasks which you have set for yourself take a deep breath in… and relax, you earned this.
Also, remember not to set tasks which may be too hard to reach at first. That challenge should be left for last, as the smaller challenges will work as stepping stones towards the greater one. As you do this it will increase your overall experience and problem-solving abilities allowing you to tackle those greater challenges head-on and, to an extent, it will make them easier.
The third type is perhaps the most overwhelming of the four initially but can also be a source of light in moments of confusion and darkness. This idea stems from many sources; from Tibetan monks who would live in monasteries to solely devote themselves to religious practices and renounce all worldly pleasures, to ancient ascetics who would walk through deserts and islands or isolate themselves in caves to seek some truth and gain a better insight to their ways of thinking, which consequently allowed them to reach a higher conscious state of being.
This type, like the first type, brings misery only for a short while, once you accept the idea of being completely alone with your thoughts and realise that you are truly your own greatest well-wisher you will then be able to achieve some understanding and clarity, as this will allow you to contemplate deeper into the inner workings of your mind, thus better understanding yourself and through which you can target areas of improvement. It is also like the second type in the sense that you have the power to choose when and where you isolate yourself because at the end of the day it is for your betterment.
Now, I’m not suggesting you leave everything and live in a cave or travel across the desert alone, no matter how tempting the latter may seem these moments of isolation to reach better clarity can be achieved momentarily simply by taking a day off for yourself, trekking in the forest, sitting down on a bench or a patch of grass with a nice view of a pond or lake and immersing yourself in reflective thought.
The fourth type is quite possibly the most miserable of the four but it is also extremely empowering. This type is concerned with the forced isolation of prisoners, being kept away from society and put in prisons as a means of reform.
A person, in the eyes of the law, is given two choices; to conform with governmental laws and respect the rights of every individual or transgress against these laws and face a penalty. In this sense, the penalty is time in prison and in some places around the world even death.
The point I’m trying to make is this; you may not be a prisoner, you may have gone to prison in the past or you may have never even committed an offence against the law. Whatever it may be, you have the power of choice in this regard, just like the second type of loneliness.
What’s more, you have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others and instead of committing similar acts you can improve and change any negative characteristics you may have, such as; learning to be calmer rather than short-tempered or instead of being envious of others, learning to be more productive in your pursuits to attain what you want.
By making these decisions you not only control which direction your path leads to but you also allow yourself to become a more civilised person, respectful of other people and an immense asset to society.
An understanding of loneliness
The key take away I want you to obtain from this post is that yes, there are many forms of loneliness and yes, you will experience some, if not all, of these types throughout your life but by reading this post and hopefully understanding what each of these types demands of you in terms of mental resilience, as well as choosing to do that which will positively benefit you, you will be prepared to take on the task of loneliness. The only thing I can do is to keep writing these posts so that you can hopefully gain some guidance on how to tackle these issues. The rest is in your hands and I know it may seem somewhat overwhelming but you should also feel empowered. You can create change through your own choices, so choose carefully.
As always I hope that you’ve gained some guidance and something of value from this post. Feel free to email or message me on social media regarding any topics you may want me to discuss on my next blog post. All links are on my home page. Until next time, keep questioning, keep being contemplative and always be mindful.