Most of us have been lonely at least once in our lives. It doesn’t matter how many people are around us because we’d still feel lonely. Why? We don’t feel like we belong. None of these people understand what we experienced. We feel like an outsider who walked into a wrong room and no amount of mingling will make us feel comfortable. We feel lost and wonder about this empty feeling within us, desperately searching for something to fill the void.
I’ve been a loner for pretty much all my life. Can’t really say I’m proud or ashamed of it. It just seems to define who I am. Yet, the reasons why I’m a loner have changed over time. After seeing more of this world and experiencing more of what life can offer, I might still be a loner but I’ve changed. For what I once viewed as a curse, I now see it as a blessing. Loneliness isn’t also terrible as people claim. They just haven’t seen what I’ve seen.
I was once terribly shy. I don’t know if it’s a form of social anxiety or just extreme shyness. I was terrified of strangers. I’d avoid conversation whenever I can and stumbled when I do talk. I was a quiet kid who most people didn’t notice. I took a long time to make friends. Of these friends, none of them could really fill the void. I had people to hang out with at school but, outside of school, I had no one. Little did I know, I was fighting a losing battle as loneliness ate me alive.
What makes loneliness so dangerous is the fact that we believe we have no one to talk to. That may or may not be true. The resulting silence is what ends so many lives. I nearly joined those poor souls when I attempted to take my life. I’ve failed, of course. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be sharing this story. Ironically, the attempt, while failed, relieved me of all that turmoil within me. I guess that’s why some people do self-harm. It has a way to get the pressure out and that alone is exhilarating.
Whenever we feel pain, we want to it go away. It doesn’t matter if we are replacing it with another pain. Certain methods sees our wounds and scars healing. These are better alternatives to those that seem to have no cure. That’s what people with anxiety and depression face. We face battles that have no end in sight. No cure seem to exist, at least not ones we see for many physical illnesses. If we have to fight the battles alone, it only gets tougher, if not seemingly impossible.
After my attempt, I never tried again. I might have found no reason. Maybe the pressure has been building up for almost a decade so it would take awhile before I had to need to. I can tell you now that I no longer need to. I’m thankful of that. It’s true that I still experience loneliness. I also experience setbacks in life. Things that could’ve destroyed me once no longer held such power over me, mostly due to me not wanting to give them so much power.
You might be curious why I see loneliness as a blessing. In our society, we want to fit in and, in doing so, we become someone else. We are putting up an act that might fool others for awhile but it never lasts. I’d pick loneliness over wearing a mask. With loneliness, I might feel pain and emptiness but it can be resolved in time. Often, it’s longer than we’d like but it will come to an end. Wearing a mask can go on all our lives and, possibly only on our deathbed, do we regret putting it on.
When we walk our paths alone, we become stronger. After all, who is there to give us a hand? We gain new skills because we need them to survive. These skills are the foundation we need to one day to do even greater things. At school, we’ve all done group projects. It’s just so easy for us to do what we’re comfortable with and let others do what they’re good at. A good group is one where everyone has different strengths and covers each other’s weaknesses.
In such a scenario, we never leave our comfort zone. In life, those who never leave their comfort zone will learn that they never truly experienced life. After all, they placed a limit on what they can experience. When we are lonely, we don’t get to pick what we want to do so we don’t have the luxury of staying in the comfort zone. We have to do everything and, in doing so, we discover strengths we never thought we had. Only then can we grow into a better human beings with a good set of skills to tackle life’s challenges.
Being lonely also lets us pursue our dreams. We don’t have people telling us we can’t because nobody really cares. Even if they say something, we hardly care about the opinions of complete strangers. As we go on the journey towards our dreams, we will find like-minded people. We’ll find real friends who care about us and don’t judge us on our outer appearance. You will know when you find them because the loneliness will be gone and something precious is in its place.