Loneliness is when you’re alienated from yourself
Solitude carries a negative connotation because perhaps we associate confinement and death to it
We were alone in the womb, and we’ll be alone in the tomb
So perhaps we want to break out of our corporal shell and be free by following our impulses
Perhaps we think that as long as we avoid ourselves, we avoid death
As if death can only meet us when we’re conscious.
Or we erroneously believe that solitude entails isolation, and that we either belong to a group or we dwell in solitude.
But consider this : No one shares your body with you. You have no ‘room mates’ who share the cost of life with you.No one knows what goes through your mind. No one can feel the gamut of emotions with which you experience life. No one can share in your memories, or be shaped by your experiences. No one can hear the inner voice that gently nudges you in the right direction. No one can see what you dream of at night.
Your most pivotal moments occur within you and if you are estranged from yourself then gaining access to that goldmine is like trying to reconnect with an old best friend, from whom you’ve long drifted away.
You can’t be selective about what experiences and feelings you want to be present for. The pleasantness or discomfort of an experience is temporary. Beyond that initial prick to your being lies a rich world that closes itself off to such reductionist judgements.
The truth is, life is not about being entertained or getting immediate rewards. No birds would migrate back from Africa after the winter is over if that were the case. No woman would elect to become a mother. Life is truly a mystery, a captivating play where you don’t know what’s going to happen. And, depending on how connected you are to your inner world, you’ll catch the symbolic beauties woven into the curtains of the stage, and the steady thuds spread by stomping feet because you recognize. You’ve experienced something similar in your inner world. Life is like a big projection screen, and your subjective experiences and unique flairs is the movie projector. Tending to the content of the movie projector and manning it does not mean that you become deprived of the movie and the good company. You ARE the movie!
While finding belonging in a group and fitting in is an important human need, approval that costs you your individuality is to die before you’re dead. When you learn how to belong to yourself by accepting everything that you feel and go through, you find belonging with Allaah. Instead of being tied up to following certain norms or bonding with people over specific interests, you can live as a free agent finding belonging and a dwelling place for your soul wherever you go. When you learn how to inhabit your space, you don’t *need* pleasant circumstances to feel good, you don’t *need* to achieve certain outcomes to feel accomplished, you don’t *need* people to feel loved. That’s not to say that those things are irrelevant, but that through thick or thin, storm or sunshine, hell or high water – you’re not letting anything disturb your inner peace. You’re not placing conditions on your happiness and self-acceptance. You’re not letting external factors decide what and how you feel.
Ironically, knowing how to brace your solitude inoculates you against loneliness. And the only way to truly love and be intimate with another soul is when you’ve been intimate with your own soul. When that happens, you won’t flinch in the face of another’s inner storms. You won’t flee when the going gets tough. You won’t be threatened by vulnerability because you know that you’re not going to get engulfed by the other person or swept away.
When you’ve settled in your soul you won’t be so anxious about death because you’ve found the divine tether that was there before you even existed, and will continue to do so after you take your last breath.
Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.
— Brené Brown (Daring Greatly)