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Loneliness vs Being Alone – Why We Should Never Fear Ourselves

In this time of cultural nihilism, we are often told that loneliness is a scourge on our community. It is. The lack of interaction – true, meaningful interaction – with other sentient beings, human or Grimalkin, like ourselves can leave us feeling very detached from the world, bereft and isolated. I want to address some things as this is a subject close to my heart. I have felt loneliness at times but I have also known those who are lonely. And so, this blog is for them.

We all seek out others of our kind. Our family. Our community. Our clan. Our tribe. It is a natural response to want to be with those who understand us, who can care for us and who we can care for in return. We seek sanctuary in these relationships. We yearn for that deep connection that touches our minds, hearts and souls. We want that silent knowing that we are accepted without question by those who are like us. It is where we find security, peace, love and friendship.

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But there are times when we can be surrounded by people and feel the loneliest being in the world. Why is this? I believe that we feel this way because we have lost, or never had, that essential connection with ourselves. Some can live their entire lives on their own and be happy and at peace with that because they have a strong sense of self. They know who they are and where they are going. But for many, seeking out others to deal with their loneliness becomes a mission, and sometimes a toxic and all-consuming one at that.

Loneliness is a natural reaction to the lack of meaningful connections with others. I say meaningful because we, as complex creatures, we want to engage with and expand our consciousness with others in our journey of life, share our hopes and dreams with them, share our loves and our pet peeves, our gripes and our simple pleasures and hope they understand them. We want validation that we matter, and that everything about us and our world has meaning and significance. We seek out others of our kind because we long to extend our universal love to those around us, to feel included and safe and secure. We are social beings. Our energies will naturally gravitate towards those who vibrate on a similar wavelength. The saying “you are on my wavelength” means exactly that.

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Being connected to those like us brings us joy and peace. It brings out the best in us and we bring out the best in others in turn. But what if you do not have those connections? What if, at some point in your life, you find yourself feeling alone despite being in the midst of a crowd?

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There are times when you can feel so disconnected from everything and everyone it becomes difficult to function in everyday life. Loneliness can draw you into a dangerous world of isolation, depression and self-sabotage. You can often feel like it is your fault you feel this way, like you have failed somehow, failed at being a human being because, here you are – you may be popular, have lots of friends or be successful – and yet you are wanting. You may feel guilty for feeling this way, somehow ungrateful, feeling the confusion of wanting to get away and yet yearning for the company of others, and this can lead to a downward spiral of depression. self-blame and even self-loathing. You feel like a fraud for putting on a smile and showing the world that you are okay but inside you are screaming. Keeping up appearances is a Sisyphean task – you get through the day with a laugh and a smile, keeping everyone’s probing questions of “u ok hun?” at bay, only to crawl to bed in the early hours, aching and despairing, having no room in your mind or your heart to think or feel anything but the darkness that is slowly pressing in upon you.

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You can’t talk about it. How could you? You have to be the person everyone wants you to be. One person needs you to be one way, another person needs you to be another. You have to juggle flaming torches and spin plates all at the same time, pleasing everyone, or at least trying to. You try your hardest but inside you feel like you are failing, falling apart. You are keeping it together but barely. You don’t know what people want from you.  You can’t be yourself. You begin to understand that you can’t keep everyone happy, you can’t please everyone. You can’t be everything to every person. You can’t do all the things you promised. You are being crushed under the sheer weight of the pressure around you – people, things, work, more people, more work, family….. It goes on and on. Your health is beginning to fail. You can’t do as much as you did before. That adds to the guilt. It weights even heavier upon you. The world becomes a carousel of noise and sound you can’t seem to escape from but you long to, long to get away for just a little while. You ache to get away from it all, to be alone, even away from the people you love most, but this also adds to the guilt. You feel like a monster for wanting a few precious moments away from them – to walk in the woods, to sit with a book and just gather your thoughts. Just for a few moments…

But in those moments, you still feel that void inside of you. The inescapable void that longs to be filled with something you don’t know what. You have been seeking it all your life but it has always eluded you. Sex. Work. Friends. Things. But it was never enough.  Anger. Rage. Frustration, Depression. Despair, Sadness. Emptiness. It is all there. All working against you and yet there is no-one there to tell it to. You keep it in. You feel like your heart is going to explode with the sheer volume of it all. The loss. The pain. The inability to voice the discordant cacophony of feelings, emotions and thoughts playing a disharmonious dirge inside of you. It is a frightening and isolating place to be, my Dear Human. You cannot voice it because you don’t know how.  You never learned that your thoughts and feelings were important. You were never taught that you mattered in a way that you should have done. But it matters. It always mattered. Because, my Dear Human, you are and essential part of the Whole, the All, just like the rest of us.

Your silence is killing you.

But oh, my Dearest Human, there is a way. From one who has walked through darkness and come out of the other side, there is a way to end this cycle of destruction. You can  and are worth saving.

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People often confuse being alone with loneliness. The two are not the same. Loneliness is the feeling of lack. Being alone is the feeling of contentment in one’s own company. It can take some time to adjust to being on one’s own but it is an important part of personal growth.

Now, I am not suggesting you end all of your relationships, cut all of your ties and live like a hermit or an anchorite until the end of your earthly days. You can be with others AND feel comfortable BEING ALONE at the same time.

  1. Being alone does not mean shutting yourself off from others. Being alone means setting time aside for YOURSELF and doing the things you enjoy, being present in the moment, reflecting on the things you want out of life.

  2. Being alone sets healthy boundaries with others. If you find you do not have a moment to yourself, be assertive and express your intention to have You-Time.

  3. Being alone is essential to personal growth and development. Many people fear being on their own. If you feel this way, then ask yourself why? Are you afraid of yourself? Do you need to work on some inner issues? Do you need help with anything? If you need help ASK. NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF HELP, PLEASE DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE. CONTACT SOMEONE YOU TRUST, A PROFESSIONAL OR A GP. NEVER SUFFER ALONE. 

  4. Being alone gives you much-needed time to evaluate your situations. If your life or situation requires change or improvement, being alone will give you the time and emotional/mental space you need to make rational and informed decisions.

It is easier said than done. The fear of being alone can be too much for some and they spend their entire lives seeking out company because they cannot, or will not, address the reasons why they feel that way. My belief is that is you have a strong, or at least, a stable, inner core, then being alone and doing things on your own, becomes something you enjoy and not something to be feared.

People fear being alone with themselves. You should never fear yourself. If you have difficulty finding yourself, then take time to discover that. But you can only do that by spending time alone. Make friends with yourself. Be your own best friend, your own brother or sister. Being alone helps you to discover things about yourself you never knew existed. You may surprise yourself – once you give yourself time to grow and expand in the new space you have given yourself, you will feel less lonely. You will have forged that essential connection with yourself, which is the most important connection of all, the most healthy relationship you can have. Of course, you will still have your relationships and people around you, but you will now have a choice – you will choose to seek out company because you will not need it as you once did. The need to fill the void will no longer be there because you have done the work inside. You can only fix and heal yourself, but always seek out professional help if you need it. No-one can solve your problems for you, nor can people, addictions or things be substitutes for the relationship you need to create with yourself.

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There is one last thing I want to address. You are not a failure. You are not a bad person. You are not unwanted, or unloved, or incapable of doing things. You are not a misfit or a freak or a square peg in a round hole. Your experiences do not make you. Your character and your integrity does. If you have not fit into a particular niche in life, if you have always felt like an outsider, there is a reason why and it has nothing to do with you. It is not because there is something wrong with you, it is because there is something wrong with society. You will always find your clan, your tribe. If you are not resonating with those around you and it is making you sad, miserable, uncomfortable or depressed, never feel guilty about moving on. It is YOUR life and we only have a short time here so we need to make the most of it. Seek out those who chime with you. Never apologise and never explain. Part of the reason why we feel lonely is because we stay in situations out of obligation. We do not need to do this. We always have the choice to free ourselves and seek pastures new and feel less alone in the world.

Yours Under the Boughs

Imeldra Moonpaw

Beauty, Love and the Small Things That Can Bring Us Peace

  It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some believe beauty is on the surface – a beautiful face, a beautiful body, a beautiful painting, or beautiful flower. While in some cases that may be the case, true beauty is more than what we see with our eyes. True beauty is what we see and feel with our heart.

  What you value or deem beautiful is often a reflection of yourself; if you can see the beauty in yourself – your values, honesty, integrity, the love you have for others and other beings, it makes you beautiful on the outside. If you can bring out the best in others, that is beautiful. If you have compassion for those less fortunate, that is beautiful.

  Forgiveness is beautiful. While some find it hard to forgive (and that is okay), when we choose to forgive others it is beautiful. We may feel hurt and resentful one day, then the deep, transformative power of sleep, dreams and love we hold deep within allows us to forgive others their transgressions, whether they have truly hurt us, or it is a perceived hurt. It brings forth the ability to move beyond to a place where our hearts can see clearly again. The dawn rises on a new day and yesterday’s woes and sorrows slowly fade into memory. The love we kept locked away because of those hurts comes forward once again through forgiveness, and that too, is beautiful. It brings peace and balance. But remember, forgiveness is always a choice.

  Human beings suffer terribly because of the perceived nature of beauty. Grimalkins have no such affliction. Human beings, for the most part, judge themselves based on how they look to others, how attractive they are, how much approval they receive from others. They place their worth in the hands of others who too, do not know their own worth either. Let me tell you how Grimalkins value beauty.

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  Grimalkins are self aware, yes, but we are introspective. We understand that each one of us is different – big, small, black, grey, calico etc. We are mindful of our existence every day. We place value on ourselves, not by the colour of our fur or how long our whiskers are. No, we measure our worth by the values and principles we hold. Take my family – the Moonpaws. Our motto is Wisdom Before Knowledge. I find self worth and beauty in teaching youngsters to read and write, by sharing history and encouraging curiosity and a sense of yearning for knowledge in the individuals I meet. It makes me feel good and worthy because I have something to share that inspires others. So you see, your worth comes from inside, not from outside, not from approval from others. I may not get a thank you, but to see someone set off on an academic journey with excitement is more than enough to fill my heart with joy. That is where true self worth lies.

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  Grimalkins live in the moment. We change and improve the things we can change and accept the things we cannot. We express gratitude for the things we have for it is the small things in our lives that can bring us great joy and comfort. We do (or try not to) worry about the morrow. We do not live in fear as humans do – fear of what others may think, feel or do. We say how we feel because our words may make a difference, but they may not. But we never know. It doesn’t matter. Living without fear is beautiful. It opens up a wealth of possibilities that lead on to more beautiful things. Pride and ego are not things Grimalkins are too afflicted by. We strive for peace and balance and a quiet life. But even we can fall by the wayside at times.

  Too often human beings are too afraid to say things to each other, too afraid to say “I love that about you, it makes me feel….” or “…it is beautiful because…” If people recognised and acknowledged the beauty in others, then they may realise that their self worth and value comes from the inside, not from validation from the outside. A beautiful person can facilitate change and transformation in you, quite unexpectedly, making you into a better, more beautiful person. You, in turn, may go on to be the catalyst of change in someone else and so it goes on.

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  Beauty is not about how you look or how you physically present yourself to the world. True beauty is bringing out the best in yourself and in others. Be beautiful every day. Celebrate and be content with the small things – the smell of Earl Grey tea on a rainy day, the feeling of warm sand between your toes, the sound of the sea, seeing tiny shoots appear in your pots where there was only bare soil before. New books. Fresh strawberries, incense and wind chimes, the list of things you find beautiful is endless so take time to be mindful of them and express gratitude for the sense of contentment they bring you. 

  Appreciation for the little things is beautiful. Be mindful of them and you will find small oases of peace in the maelstrom of life.

Yours, Always

Imeldra Moonpaw