Lonely. As a word, it’s very confronting and often, sad. When we think of being lonely we hold an image of someone alone, small, and somber. It is an emotion most of us run from and hideaway. We don’t admit it to ourselves or to others because to be lonely is something to be feared, or it can be viewed by others as a weakness. It is certainly not one that has an easy cure. Though many will say, “get out and meet people”. Lonely is not a simple emotion. It can not be easily remedied with being in a group of people. Sometimes that can even accelerate loneliness.
This is a feeling I’ve been running from for several years now. I see it now everywhere but did not recognize that, indeed, it was present all this time. Now, I’m embracing it and wishing to understand it more. As an expat, loneliness is often par for the course. It is simple logic. “I don’t belong here and often feel other.” But nine years into this game of expatriation it doesn’t seem to get better with a simple mind shift. Everything calls for you to be resilient and vigilant of what you are and how to be. But you do not know how to be when you weren’t trained in the culture that you currently live. You look around for clues. Often the natives wish for you to become more like them, but they can hardly tell you what that is because it is so ingrained in them. It’s just “normal”. But what then if we have been “that and this” way, and loneliness still is present.
Shouldn’t it go away at some point?
I don’t have an answer to that. But I wonder if making it go away is the answer. I decided to make friends with it and learn to understand. What I am learning is that I gave up part of myself to fit into this society. This has created a separation inside of myself. OH! What an awareness! This couldn’t have happened if I wished the emotion away. Which admittedly, I did for many years. Now in this fresh new awareness, I had to sit with it, listen and learn.
I’m starting first, by forgiving myself for doing what seemed so natural to do in becoming a citizen of a place I was not born in. I wanted to fit in and be accepted by the “natives” and ultimately my husband’s family. I know I will never be one, a native, but it makes life easier to be an honorary one. 😉 But, hmmm somewhere I went wrong. Took a turn away from me and did not listen to my heart all the time. I let go parts of me that were vital for MY life. No matter where that life lives. Being with this emotion is teaching me where I have diminished and where I can reignite those lost parts now. My story is about living in a foreign country but this can arrive in any place or situation. Perhaps, one might do this to have the “right” relationship. Or to fit in with the corporate culture to keep a career on track? Loneliness is a call to see where LOVE is needed! SELF-love to be exact. A road back to YOU. One that can teach us how to love, forgive, accept and more importantly, reconnect with ourselves. It doesn’t necessarily take away the loneliness, but it gets lighter every step I take towards being MYself. Suddenly I don’t need to fit in anywhere but where I am. With who I am.