When we are feeling lonely, there is an obvious and (to us) clear solution. We need to be around people. We need to find a group or a crowd. A romantic relationship or a friend we can trust. It makes sense.
Unfortunately, it is ineffective. There are plenty of people who feel lost in a crowd, lonely within their marriages. How can I feel so alone with so many people in my life?
It can be very confusing to feel this way. The fact of the matter is that most people feel lonely most of the time. In our ever-crowded, social-media crazy world, we still feel alone.
An Internal Problem
The cure to loneliness is not to be around others. Because loneliness is an internal problem, it requires an internal solution.
Loneliness is feeling lost within oneself. The cure is to feel comfortable within oneself. The cure is not to distract oneself by surrounding it with other people. To seek the internal validation we craze from external sources. A dependency on others is a beard for our loneliness.
We redeem loneliness not by surrounding ourselves with other people but by becoming people of inner peace rather than people of inner turmoil.
How do we do this?
I think we intuitively sense this as a reality. But it seems so impossible. If I feel turmoil within myself, how do I magically turn that around? It is easy to see why we think we need something external to help us. And external things can be an aide. But we will not find a true cure for loneliness until we own our vision of self and internalize a peace.
Another false solution is to make circumstances exactly how we imagine they should be. We think if we can get the right grades, a new romance, a promotion, or move to the right place, all will be well with our souls. We become codependent on our circumstances, which is just as dangerous as being codependent with another human.
The path to inner peace, the cure to loneliness, is a familiarity with oneself. We might call this self-awareness. To wade through the distractions of this noisy world, to see past the filters of our familial expectations, and really figure out what matters to us and why.
When we name our values and live toward an intentional vision, we invite ourselves into a sense of ownership of our lives. We feel a little less blown back and forth by the wind of circumstance. We feel a little less dependent on some future imagined narrative. Inner peace is only found through the ownership of making our own decisions. And doing so based on truth, not a stubborn short-cut type of “ownership” that rushes to the finish line without running the race. These are the kinds of people who say “I’m just doing me” as a justification for their sin and stubbornness.
Living out of our values, owning our vision, is not the same as childishly demanding our own way.
The cure to loneliness is truth. The truth found within you. The truth of who you really are and what you really want. When you don’t know, you feel lost within yourself. And the instinct, again, is to run to others to fill in the gaps for you. But loneliness is a matter of the heart, a matter of the soul. There is profound truth within you waiting to be discovered, named, and pursued.