It’s raining outside as I write this and, with quarantine being the new normal, we’re all struggling with loneliness, together.
This pandemic has affected the life of every one of us in one way or another. In addition to that, Greta Thunberg, the #BlackLivesMatter movement and feminism justifiably remind us there are still quite a few other problems urging our attention and action right now. It’s expected we feel overwhelmed, impotent, or lonely during these times of crisis.
It’s especially easy to fall victim to loneliness because, like hunger and sleep, it’s a physiological reaction. We, humans, have strived as a species thanks to our social skills. Through evolution, we’ve developed some reliance on others for security, warmth and protection. And loneliness arises to tell us we’re not meeting those basic needs.
Loneliness is an experience we will all inevitably face now and then. No internet connection or amount of social skills will save us from that feeling, because it is subjective. In fact, our modern lives make it harder to connect with others in the ways our ancestors grew used to; we’re always just too busy, so cutting social interactions to free up some time is often the more convenient alternative. Some of us end up in a vicious cycle of isolating, then feeling lonely and facing its consequences (such as perceiving hostility from those around, feeling misunderstood and assuming the worst) and then isolating even more as a result.
Yes, loneliness is no joke. It could come with confusion, sadness and pain. But time alone allows us to go deeper into our feelings and identity, making us explore corners of ourselves we would otherwise never visit. Dealing with our darkest thoughts gives us the tools to build deeper, more sincere connections with others.
Getting stronger is not an option, though, but the only way forward. Although hard to measure, not a single day passes without us making any progress. Fear of the unknown could tell us otherwise, but we’re more than capable of enduring whatever life has for us.
Let everything happen to you
beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final
Rainer Maria Rilke
So enjoy the rain! Make it fun to be around solitude. Be your own guest, treat yourself-do whatever it takes. Every single one of us come from the same soil and breathe the same air as much as we all crave happiness and feel clueless from time to time. It’s harder to feel lonely after internalizing that we’re all already connected.