One Saturday evening I was alone at home. Many times I’m alone at home and it doesn’t bother me. Usually, I’m busy.
This time it was different. I wasn’t busy.
I stopped being busy and I’m “being” more. But it still feels very uncomfortable I can tell you.
I kept feeling lonely. I’m so used to keeping busy to not feel my negative emotions. I’m so used to walking away from them.
But I’m learning to feel those negative emotions and especially learning to see those emotions as just as valuable as the positive ones. Every emotion has a lesson in it. A lesson to be learned to come closer and closer to who you truly are.
My loneliness doesn’t want to be ignored. It wants to be felt. That doesn’t mean I want to feel lonely or it’s best to feel lonely, but the emotion loneliness wants to be felt because it has something to tell me.
Not to go out and do something to take my mind off my loneliness. Or to go do something to distract myself. But to see WHY I feel lonely. What has this emotion to teach me?
I’ve felt lonely before. Even in the company of people. My loneliness has nothing to do with not being around people.
I do believe it has to do with feeling lonely for myself. Missing myself. Missing essential parts of me that I’ve ignored for so long.
I made the mistake of thinking that such an emotion is something to be ashamed of. That such an emotion is “bad” to experience and is a sign of weakness. Any negative emotion like jealousy, anger, frustration, etc., for that matter.
Because of that shame, I kept running away from my emotion of loneliness. I thought that I “should” not feel lonely. That I “should” be out having fun and be with friends. That I “should” have more friends, go out more. Or that I “should” feel happy. That I “should” not have a reason to feel lonely. That I “should” do something about it.
All these “shoulds” and the shame accompanying the “shoulds” made me keep moving, made me keep being busy. Made me keep turning away from my emotion of loneliness.
But I’ve learned and am in the process of learning that every negative emotion has an equally positive charge to it, a lesson to learn. It’s like a call from far deep in your soul to come back home. Not via negativity but via the beautiful lesson in the negative emotion that has been put away.
You see, I made the “mistake” of thinking that I should be “balanced”, or “in control”. I thought that it was okay to feel bad, sad or lonely sometimes but by feeling like that periodically and structurally something would be wrong with me. That I was doing something wrong.
The thing is, I’ve learned that as a human being we all have the same emotions. We all have the feeling of loneliness, anger, jealousy, etc as well as the emotions of feeling happy, compassionate, loving, etc.
It’s no use to try to ignore emotions that I have. It’s no use to ignore the negative emotions.
We cannot experience the light if we haven’t experienced the dark. There can be no light without the dark.
We are not whole because we only feel our positive emotions. We are whole because we acknowledge EVERY emotion we have. – Carmen Smallegange (Click to Tweet!)
That means opening up to the so-called negative emotions. Because the emotion loneliness has something to tell me. Especially as I feel it structurally and periodically. And the lesson goes further than seeing friends more.
So I dove deeper into that emotion. I let it linger, I contemplated, I did yoga, I thought about it, I reflected upon it. And slowly, over the weeks following that Saturday night, I started to get in touch more with what I truly desired.
Like I mentioned earlier, the loneliness has nothing to do with getting out more, but more to do with not feeling whole.
Feeling lonely implies missing something or someone. That might be a specific person, an experience, a memory, or things, feelings and emotions tugged away deep in ourselves.
In this case, it was about missing parts of myself I’ve been ignoring way too long.
Those emotions, the negative ones, usually have been put away in our own personal shadow. Not to be felt. Because we’ve learned, one way or the other, that feeling or being a certain way wasn’t much appreciated by our surroundings. And out of fear of not being loved or taken care of, we’ve put certain aspects, emotions, and desires true to us, away in our Shadow.
So a feeling like Loneliness is a signal that parts of me in my shadow want to be seen and felt again.
So, what happened here?
I’m very familiar with the feeling Loneliness. But as I felt ashamed of that feeling, I ignored it and kept busy to not feel it. I tried to transform the feeling by going out, meeting new friends, but it never really went away.
Until the moment I sat with the feeling, contemplated about it and learning about how emotions have something to tell us, I started to see the symbolic meaning of that emotions and I learned to see and feel deeper into the feeling of loneliness.
By giving room to this emotion I learned what this emotion really was about. By seeing this emotion of loneliness in the context of my current life and the symbolic meaning of that context and the loneliness I came to the heartfelt conclusion that I missed Me.
I missed parts of myself I’ve been ignoring for too long.
So, if you notice yourself walking away from something you don’t want to feel. If you notice yourself keeping yourself busy to not feel something. If you notice yourself turning a blind eye towards yourself for certain behavior, know this.
There are parts within you wanting to be seen, felt and heard. Although this might be very scary to uncover and although you might have learned that it’s “wrong”, “bad” or will have “severe consequences”, those parts of you are who you truly are.
There’s nothing “wrong”, “bad”, or will have “severe consequences” with being your true self with all the gifts you bring. Even the gifts of impatience, restlessness or any other have gifts in them and they all are worthy of being seen, felt and heard.
So if you notice yourself, doing any of the before-mentioned things to ignore how you truly feel, stop and think about if you really want to continue the way you do.
Or that maybe, just maybe, by giving room to who you really are, you can get to be who you’re meant to be without the expected negative consequences you unconsciously fear.
I found it very scary as well. That’s the reason I’ve ignored that feeling for so long. But I can tell you that once you’ve set one step towards feeling your emotion, it will get less and less scary as you go and before you know it you feel parts of you that you haven’t felt in a long time and that my friend, will be your true gift to yourself because that feeling is worth all the fear and anxiety.
Carmen Smallegange is a coach specialized in uncovering and transforming limiting beliefs. Using her own life lessons she shines a new and fresh light on negative experiences to empower others to do the same and to acknowledge and step into their own amazing potential. You can get her free workbook on how to transform your fears or follow her on Facebook.
Image courtesy of Verne Ho.