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01 Aug
2018
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A Comprehensive Guide On How to Conquer Loneliness by Embracing It (With Real Life Case-Studies) | The Wall and Us vs Loneliness

Loneliness pushes you right on to the cold, hard ground and forces you to re-evaluate all you have – and all who surround you.

Because loneliness shouldn’t exist if you surround yourself with a million people around you, right? Wrong.

Here’s my definition of this one complex, and utterly frustrating feeling, one I’ve studied about a fair bit –

Loneliness is our inability to communicate the things that matters to us, moves us, makes us happy, or sad – to those we care about.

By this, we fit in one of the biggest misconceptions about loneliness that people tend to hide behind – you can have a hundred people around you, but still be devastatingly lonely.

In the past three years, I’ve spoken to thousands of people and heard their deepest, closely guarded secrets, which has convinced me of one simple truth – We have friends, but no real ones to talk to.

If you’re looking for a quick fix, this is not the right place for you.

That is where our brush with loneliness starts – with sadness, with this feeling of not belonging anywhere, feeling out of place – conflicted by our need to fit in, and belong -- that is often at loggerheads with this empty throbbing in our chest that reminds us of what we’re running from.

This guide wouldn’t teach you to run away from your loneliness – this will teach you to come face to face with it, embrace it and accept it – to conquer it.

If you’re looking for a quick fix, this is not the right place for you.

This’ll take all you have, all the strength you can muster, and at times it’ll frustrate you – to one day take you right to the edge of all you’ve been running from.

Believe me when I tell you this – all your life you’ve been running.

But, once you’re there, you’ll learn to love your loneliness – it’ll become a choice and you’ll love your solitude to fall back on it even if you’re in a relationship, if you manage a friend who finally gets you, even if you get all that you ever wanted.

Buckle up, because this might just change your life or it might not – you get to choose.

3 INCREDIBLY PAINFUL AND FRUSTRATING STEPS TO CONQUER YOUR LONELINESS –

1) One Week to Rediscover Yourself -

Believe me when I tell you this – all your life you’ve been running.

From your pain, your misery – to bury it in a bottle of alcohol, or drugs, or a relationship, or chasing success, or love – anything, to not have to face what you’re running from.

This is important and I’ll tell you why.

Because, to conquer your loneliness, you’ll first have to break that wall you’ve had to build around you – to hide who you are. In the process, you’ve forgotten what it is that makes you different and special.

News Flash – There is nothing wrong with you. There never was.

You have a complex universe within you, and if you’ve had to hide what makes you, you, it wasn’t your fault.

You just didn’t have the right people around you.

People who vibrate and resonate at the same frequency as you.

People who accept you for who you are – all of you – not just the part of you that’s more in tune with what they want.

So, this step pushes you to come face-to-face with your loneliness – probably for the first time in years and months.

One week – rediscovering you.

Over the next one week, you’ll do one thing every day that belongs to you, makes you happy, and you’ll do it all alone.

No uploads on social media, no people around, nobody to distract you from your loneliness. Train, rather force your mind to be okay with your loneliness.

This is where it gets crazy. The things you do have to push you to expand on your boundaries, things that make you uncomfortable.

Go for a coffee date alone with no phone. Go for a movie alone with no phone and no one to accompany you. Call up someone you haven’t spoken to in a really long time.

Case Study –

Namita was in a long and arduous relationship – that was almost always in the trenches whenever both of them had to leave for their college’s semester-end break.

That’s when she reached out to me and we got on call.

Her problem was simple, and periodical – these thoughts that plagued her were almost always never there when they were together.

After a long two-three hour conversation, I told her to spend the next one week crafting a world outside of her relationship.

Getting in touch with who she was, what made her happy outside of her relationship – do things that belonged to her.

She had to do this alone, so I told her that I’ll call her back in exactly one week.

She was initially hesitant, but she tried it anyway.

Day one – Coffee date alone. Day 2 – Spoke to her mother for 1 hour. Day 3 – Went for a movie alone. Day 4 – Gardening for 2 hours. Day 5. Day 6. Day 7.

It was such a revelation for her that she was desperate to speak to me before Day 7 even ended. 7 missed calls. 20 + messages. I called her back.

She wouldn’t stop thanking me.

She said she has found happiness, and love for herself – the process of spending time alone something she should have done long back.

In the years to come, their relationship would only grow on to be stronger and it has been two years since – and their relationship continues to flourish.

I recently spoke to her and she told me, “Aitijya, that call – I’m so glad we got on that. Believe me, when I tell you, a break-up doesn’t even scare me now. I have a world outside of my relationship, and no matter what, that’s going nowhere.”

Build a world that belongs to you – just you, outside of any relationship you might have and you’ll learn to love your solitude.

2) Journaling – It’s Not What You Think It Is.

On the face of it, a journal sounds lame and stupid.

Why write on a little book – when you can just share what you’re going through with someone else (Try the chat if you need someone btw).

Loneliness and emptiness have a way of going hand in hand. A journal helps keeps your thoughts, goals and feelings aligned and on track.

But, a journal is literally the best way to get in touch with your loneliness to embrace the process of learning to be lonely – and making it a choice rather than a compulsion.

Here’s the practice I use, one I’ve recommended to a lot of people to see fascinating changes –

Take 5 deep breaths. Long breath in, then hold it for 5 seconds, and let go. Repeat it 5 times.

Now you’re relaxed. Your shoulders are not as tense as before.

Take that little book you’ve chosen to be your accomplice in this secret, little mission you’ll share together – and write.

Celebrate and moan your own little victories and losses – and you’ll never need someone to be around to be happy.

Loneliness and emptiness have a way of going hand in hand. A journal helps keeps your thoughts, goals and feelings aligned and on track.

Write down how your day has been – a simple 5 minute exercise that’ll literally change your life.

Now align it with the one week rediscovering yourself plan, and write down how today’s exercise made you feel. Insecure? Agitated? Lonely? Sad? Painful? Write it down. Pour it all out.

Then, write down your goals for tomorrow – and carry it on to the next day. Self-reflection, and self-awareness is the key to growing to love your solitude. Only today, analyze and write about whether you could stick to the goals you’ve set.

If you couldn’t, write about why. If you could, write how that made you feel.

Celebrate and moan your own little victories and losses – and you’ll never need someone to be around to be happy.

I really believe in something with all my heart – unless you’re willing to accept all of you, you can’t – rather shouldn’t expect the world to accept you either.

A journal helps you venture deeper to find the answers that plague you – learning to love the process of self-development and spend time alone to have a conversation with yourself.

Loneliness and emptiness are accomplices – and a journal helps you beat them at their own game, by setting clear goals, venting your feelings to yourself, and being okay with your solitude.

Who says you need someone to save you? Only those who couldn’t save themselves.

Case Study (Read his story here) –

Desperately bullied all his life for a mouth deformity that left him with a speech impediment, he made a journal his only friend.

He vented all he buried deep within himself – all his pain, the anger, the resentment, the hate, the loneliness, feelings of hope, and love, and expectations.

He must have done something right, because by the time we’re done with this, it’ll motivate you to start your very own journal.

He was beaten. He was pushed. He was mocked. He was laughed at. He was left to be a sorry, sad figure. That’s when he ventured deeper.

He practiced speaking. He wrote on his journal about his day. He set clear goals. He wrote his feelings.

It was unbearable, but he didn’t quit. He wrote and wrote and wrote until his hand hurt, until he had nothing more to write about.

After a long, and arduous journey – he got better. He would then go on to participate in his first debate competition – to challenge himself, to see how far he’d come.

He won. He’d then go on to win several debates throughout school, MUN’s – a host of other competitions.

Then, he’d join a law school – one of the best in the country and looks well set to a bright and prosperous future ahead.

When we spoke, he told me that he has friends today, the real ones – he has a purpose, a drive, a future he looks upto – and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

All because at a time when people crumble down to surround themselves with people who don’t get them, he made his solitude his strength.

He braved his loneliness to conquer it, and you can too.

3) Meditate (I Know...I Know...But, I Swear My Way Is Fun)

Believe it or not, this is my most popular hack.

Some people don’t want to journal, or promise to journal but don’t follow through.

Some even don’t stick to spending a week doing things they love.

Because the thing about loneliness is – the day you decide to embrace it, that’s the day shit tends to hit the fan. When it does, you’ll want for nothing more than to run – run as far away from the feeling as you can.

You’ve been running all you life anyway, what’s another day, right? But, almost always – once you’re aware of what ails you, the running gets harder.

You can only run so far and for so long.

But, my way of meditation? It’s an instant hit because it takes the least amount of effort and time.

I believe meditation, once you break down the usual self-help mumbo-jumbo, is nothing more than training your mind to focus on one thought at a time – by drowning out every other voice.

That’s exactly what we do in the exercise I’ll share with you now.

You ready? Pick three soft-slow songs you love which has a lot of instruments playing in the background.

Now, turn off all the lights in the room, with just one source of light some distance away. Maybe a lamp, or a dim light.

Then put on your earphones. Close your eyes. Listen.

This is where it gets fun.

Every minute shift from one instrument at a time.

For example – For one minute, focus on the guitar, then the next focus on the solo, then the next focus on the drums, then the next focus on the vocals.

While you do, try and drown out all other sources of music. The idea is to train your mind, to drown out the noise to focus on one thing at a time.

What is that I hear? You laugh? Try it. It’s harder than it sounds.

If you’re a listening ninja already, then try to focus on the sound of the fan, or your breathing by drowning out the music that plays in your ear.

It’s so so hard because even a second of losing concentration will immediately derail your focus from the one instrument you were focusing on.

Case Study –

She came to me after her breakup. Her biggest problem was her inability to drain off the noise in her head.

The voices that kept her worrying on and on – Will I ever get anyone again? What happens now? I’m just useless. I deserved this.

I recommended her this exercise. She laughed like you’re laughing now. The result? She does this even today, almost six months later.

She looks forward to it almost every single day. She looks for different music to exercise her new found skill in.

She says that it helped her focus better, focus more, and be alone and find happiness in combining her love for music with an exercise that takes so little effort.

She says I changed her life.

It’s funny – because I just told her to listen to some random music.

Try it, after all, if it doesn’t work, you’ll just waste 15 minutes listening to music you love.

THE FINISH LINE –

Excuses are nothing but you embracing the part of you that wants to run away.

Find hope. Your hope.

Let it flow through your veins, your heart, every fiber of your body.

How? Go and find it in the world. Open your eyes, because a man without hope is like a rudderless ship.

No matter how many times you read the things I’ve shared with you today – you’ll not be able to get to the finish line unless you find hope.

Think of it as a supplement – your glucose on this long 800-metre race.

Make this journey of finding hope one that rests on cultivating gratefulness, self-awareness, and self-growth.

Find out who you are – these tools are just what you need.

Go do – all you’ve wanted to do but never could.

Start a blog. Read a book. Go out somewhere. Go volunteer. Intern. Do good. Find people who help you grow. Things and people who fill you with this ever-elusive singular need to believe and hope.

Excuses are nothing but you embracing the part of you that wants to run away.

If you weren’t comfortable languishing in the misery that surrounds you, you would’ve found your way. I promise you. It’s not easy – finding out who you are, it isn’t supposed to be.

Loneliness can be beaten, broken and molded to your will. Once you conquer it, nothing will ever hold you back.

It’s hard, but it can be done.

I tried to kill myself once, and here I am writing this to let you know that I have friends, a purpose, and I’ve found happiness.

It all starts with embracing your loneliness, to conquer it.

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About the Author

Total Articles : 12
Aitijya Sarkar

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