Navigating a lonely road

By Jenaya D’Amico, 15. She lives in Perth, Australia. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Whether it be a mother or a lover, the presence of another is craved by every person. The craving of the touch, sound and warmth of the company of another is what separates us from animals. This need for unity can be our greatest strength; or our biggest downfall.

From a baby’s first breath, it cries for its mother. We yearn to be with those of whom we can feel connected; as if we belong to something bigger than the individual. When this familiarity is stripped from a person, they lose more than just a friend. Loneliness is a silent killer. It grows and grows – poisoning the mind and heart of the victim – crippling them from the inside. In this ever-changing world, decisions, technology and work are becoming overwhelming. It can be difficult to even survive, let alone thrive. If you are forced to face your demons alone, you will lose. When you are alone, the little things are magnified, and the big things become monstrous hurdles that begin to consume you.

Unfortunately, life does not always go according to plan. People leave, tragedy strikes and those closest to you can become strangers. The only constant in your life is yourself. The company you find in yourself is not too different from that which is found in others. It can be difficult to be comfortable in your own skin – to feel at ease when alone. This is a skill that needs to be developed like any other. It can be difficult, but is an essential skill needed to live a content and fulfilled life.

It is hard to even find yourself let alone love this person that you are. We are all so easily influenced by the things around us; the media, our friends or the things we read. To discover who you are, you must let go of the constant need for company and learn to be okay with being alone. You must change with the times because the world will not stop spinning because you happen to be alone. When every connection is stripped from a person, they may feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness. However, by learning to love yourself, you will eventually begin to enjoy your company. It is healthy for a person to have alone time. Everyone needs time to recuperate and most importantly to reflect. Introspection without outside influence is crucial for a person’s development. To ­­­establish your morals and values and ultimately to become the person you truly wish to be.

Kurt Cobain, the voice of a generation whose influence remains prominent to this day, once said: “I was tired of pretending that I was someone else just to get along with people, just for the sake of having friendships.” You are who you are for a reason. You are the only person like you, and you have a duty to stay true to this and make the difference only you can make. There is no point going along with the crowd and having countless meaningless friendships. This is not only a waste of your potential, but can lead to what is arguably the most dangerous and ­­miserable type of loneliness; when you feel alone in the company of others. Instead of conforming and surrendering everything you are, learn to be comfortable with who you are, and with the fact you will not always fit in. Find solace in the presence of your sincerity and the company of your own mind. Know that eventually, the people who are willing to open their minds to you will come along; and these are the people worth your time.

In today’s society, it is harder than ever to feel good in your own company. To begin with, expectations are higher than ever. Between television and social media outlets, we are constantly bombarded with an illusion of perfection. This forces us to magnify our strengths and ignore our flaws. We always wish we were skinnier, prettier, smarter. Self-love is a major issue today, and kids are finding it harder and harder to see their worth and potential. The other societal factor that adds to people being unable to feel good by themselves, is the fact that they almost never have to be completely isolated. Over two billion people have some kind of social media account. On these forums they can talk to others, see what is going on with their friends and feel as if they are connected; even if they are on their own.

All in all, loneliness is a hurdle that we all must face at some time in our lives. However, being on your own is no reason to feel this way. As hard as it may seem initially, one can learn to feel good in their own company. Only through alone time can one truly find themselves and learn to love themselves. Only through self-love can people begin to return this love to the others, and enrich the world we live in.

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