By Margaret Paul | MindBodyGreen
Have you ever felt alone and empty inside? I’m not referring to the kind of alone we feel when we are actually alone or when we are with someone who is withdrawn from us. I call this kind of alone “lonely.” We are lonely when we have love to share but either there is no one with whom to share it, or the person or people around us are closed off to connection and the sharing of love. We can feel lonely even when with a group of people.
The kind of alone I’m referring to has nothing to do with others. The kind of alone I’m talking about is a hollow, lost feeling inside, like floating in space with no tether to a mothership.
Loneliness has to do with not being connected with others. This alone, lost, hollow, empty feeling has to do with not being connected with ourselves and with a higher source of love. This alone feeling is the result of self-abandonment.
Imagine a tiny infant being left alone to fend for itself. The infant cries and no one comes. Within a short time, the infant becomes frantic, and then eventually shuts down from the terror of dying if no one comes.
This happens on the inner level when we don’t attend to our own feelings. When we feel anxious, depressed, angry, guilty, shamed, lonely, heartbroken, grieved, or helpless over others, and we ignore these feelings, we end up feeling numb and alone. Our anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, and shame are letting us know that we are abandoning ourselves in some way, and our loneliness, heartbreak, grief, and helplessness over others and events let us know that we need to be very compassionate toward ourselves and perhaps reach out for support. When we don’t attend to these feelings, we then feel numb, empty, and alone.
When you avoid attending to these feelings by staying in your head rather than focusing on your body, or by judging yourself, or by turning to various addictions to numb your feelings, or by trying to get someone else to take responsibility for your feelings, you are abandoning yourself. This is what leads to feeling alone and empty inside.
Here’s how to love yourself in those alone moments:
Just as a loving parent would pick up a crying baby and try to discover what the baby needs, we need to embrace our feelings with a desire to learn about what they are telling us.
All our feelings have information for us about how we’re treating ourselves, how we’re being treated by others, and about events or situations that may need our attention.
Loving yourself means getting fully present in your body with your feelings. It means turning toward them with compassion rather than avoiding them with self-abandoning behavior. It means wanting responsibility for learning what they are telling you about how you are treating yourself, and for lovingly managing the painful feelings of life—the loneliness, heartbreak, grief, and helplessness that we all experience at times.
Loving yourself also means that you learn how to connect with a higher source of love and wisdom so you can bring that love and wisdom within. Inner aloneness always indicates a lack of love within.
Connecting with a higher source isn’t as hard as you may think. Spirit is here to guide us in being loving to ourselves and to others, so when your intent is to love yourself rather than to avoid pain, the love that is spirit will fill your heart.
You will find that when you open up to learning from your feelings rather than avoiding them with self-abandoning behavior, and when you open up to learning with your higher self about what is loving to you, you will no longer feel alone inside.
Learning to love yourself is quite magical!