Earlier in the week, I wrote on my WhatsApp status that I failed at a social experiment. Well, it is true.
I wanted to see how long I could go in 24 hours without talking to anyone. I went on Google to see the difference between loneliness and aloneness, Huffpost didn’t have all the answers.
Loneliness is a lack, a feeling that something is missing, a pain, a depression, a need, an incompleteness, an absence.
Aloneness is presence, fullness, aliveness, the joy of being, and overflowing love. You are complete. Nobody is needed, you are enough.
If this helps anyone.
The chorus of Akon’s Lonely song articulates my feelings even better;
Lonely, I’m Mr. Lonely
I have nobody for my own
I’m so lonely, I’m Mr. Lonely
I have nobody for my own
I’m so lonely
Perhaps this is one of the reasons I support marriage, maybe because its tenet dictates a life of companionship.
If you live in a large African family setting, there are two things you never get; personal space and quiet. African families are typically extended to aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and other relatives that form a family that functions in unison. These uncles are not always blood relations, but they get a free pass to live and share the parental love and attention you get.
Growing up and moving to another city, I became afraid of telling people that I was feeling lonely.
An anonymous person once said, “If I am lonely, that means that no one wants to be close to me. Consequently, I conclude that I am not good enough”.
“And in our couple culture, which adores successful people, I feel like a failure and am probably seen like that by others. Not wanting to let others know of my shortcomings, I will, therefore, shut up so others do not see what a loser I am”.
But after the COVID-19 pandemic, we all got used to being alone. It became a popular word, being alone and seeking solitude became trendy as we got used to living in our nests. This opened a conversation about mental health issues.
Anyways, here are some life hacks I am using:
- Set goals: I always have something to look forward to with my sisters. Every weekend, we schedule a hangout or a fun activity to get ourselves from different parts of the country.
- Keep a routine: Loneliness can affect your well-being, and worsen existing mental health problems. Try to get good sleep, eat well, do exercise and spend time outside.
- Get a community: I realise that many people out there are also dealing with loneliness. Go out, talk to them and chat.
Share emotions and personal experiences.
Ask questions, and listen to what they have to say.
Talk about things that matter — work, creative projects, mutual interests.
4. Ask for help: Writing about how I feel is my way of asking for help. You can try it also.
Ask yourself if you’re feeling:
- anxious, worried, or nervous about something
- angry or frustrated
- sad or lonely
- detached or disconnected from yourself.
Try therapy or talk to someone.
5: Distract yourself: Gain a new hobby.