How I Befriended Loneliness

People find it weird when I go for movies/plays/shopping/dinner alone. They think I am crazy however, I find it liberating. There was a time in my life when I started doing things alone as I had no choice, however over the years it became my chosen lifestyle. I go alone not because I am alone or lonely, I do this because I enjoy my own company more than anyone else’s. I am my best friend.

Last week when I wrote the post Introvert vs Extrovert, most of my readers could relate to it. We almost planned to form an Introvert’s club. I had never expected to meet so many introverts in blogging circle. And then I read Shilpa’s post How do you deal with loneliness and felt her pain. The peril of being lonely is something I felt since childhood. I almost developed a Stockholm Syndrome with loneliness and now I literally enjoy being lonely and no more dread being alone.

I was a single child, living in the hills of a North Eastern state. There were very few people around, only couple of neighbours. My parents used to be busy. I was mostly left to myself with hardly any friend. I was not really unhappy probably because I was too small to understand loneliness. I enjoyed playing with myself. I had my dolls, Enid Blyton books and my stray dog Julie to give me company.

Things improved when we shifted to Kolkata. I made a lot of friends. However, things worsened drastically after my mother fell fatally ill. I suddenly stopped relating to my friends. The fact that they had healthy mothers made them different from me. All of them were sympathetic towards me yet I started feeling like an outcast. While my friends used to go shopping with their mothers and discuss what they bought in college the next day, I used to be sitting near my unconscious mother’s hospital bed. All of a sudden my small family became dysfunctional. I started avoiding others. I started hating going to houses where I saw healthy parents, siblings, laughter and fun because in our family we only discussed blood reports, dialysis, medical bills and days left for my mother. After 3 years of struggle, one winter morning we got a call from the hospital and knew everything was over. From a house of three, it became a house of two.

My love-hate relationship with loneliness started. As a 19-year-old girl, it was difficult to cope with the loss of the mother. I started hating going to college. Nobody wanted to hang out with a girl who was mourning day and night. My friends wanted to go to pubs and parties while I just wanted to come back home, wrap my mom’s saree around me and lie down. Her saree smelt of her even long after she was gone.

I used to be alone most of the time as Dad had to go out for work. I used to feel claustrophobic and most evenings I used to sit and cry. This was the time when all 19-year-olds were dating, pubbing, and having fun. And, I was sitting alone, missing my mom and praying that my dad shouldn’t die.

Then I shifted to a new city and even though I was living all by myself I strangely stopped feeling lonely. In fact, they were the happiest days of my life. I had by then stopped considering being alone with loneliness and had started loving myself and enjoying my own company.

While in Hyderabad I picked up the habit of going for movies alone. I started enjoying my company so much that when my father said he would come and stay with me I literally got angry. I realised the joy of being alone. My room became my heaven on earth. I used to be in the office all the week almost my entire waking hours, however, weekends used to be a fun time. I used to go and read books in a small bookshop, go and take a round of the nearby mall, sit in a cafe sipping coffee and enjoying watching others and then go and watch a movie. I felt liberated. I was no more dependent on anyone’s company for my happiness.

We all should learn to befriend ourselves and then you will no longer feel alone. Being alone and being lonely is different. We give too much importance on our relationships with others. However, the truth is nobody and no relationship is lifelong the only lifelong relationship is with ourselves. Our parents, siblings, friends, children, pet, and even partners are not there from our moment of birth till death. The only one who is with us from birth to death is our souls. So learn to feel happy with yourself. Our Life is the only thing we have. Loneliness is only a state of mind. As noble laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote “Jodi tor daak shune keu na ase, tabe ekla chalo re”.

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Linking this post to #MondayMusings hosted by dear Corinne.

 

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48 thoughts on “How I Befriended Loneliness

  1. mackenzieglanville says:

    you have really been through a lot in your life, it is so sad about your mum. I have a friend who had a very ill mum growing up and she was very lonely, I never thought about it before but it may be why she spends a lot of time alone and finds it hard for people to come over too much. I really do love my own company, it is a great thing when we can be happy by ourselves. This was such an interesting post, and I am still happy to be in the introvert club! Thank you for linking up with me #mg

    Liked by 3 people

    • Balaka says:

      Thank you for this kind comment. It is true I have been through lot but that made me stronger and a better human being. I believe everything happens with a purpose, I am today like this only from those experiences. I am grateful for everything that happened to me, good or bad. I am grateful for all the people who are there and who understand me. I really appreciate your thoughts and you are very much a member of the introvert club 🙂

      Like

  2. the bespectacled mother says:

    You have been through a lot, Balaka and I can only imagine your pain. You are one brave soul and this shows how you have evolved.
    I have been another lonely person here despite the fact that I have always had people around me. But somewhere down the line, some of these people, while they stayed physically close to me, got emotionally distant leaving me lonely. At that time, I was not alone but lonely. Now I am alone but not lonely. I have worked with my loneliness making it akin to bliss for me. Although, I am still not valiant enough to go out alone watching movies or shopping.
    Thanks for sharing your life’s story with us 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Balaka says:

      The moment we work on loneliness and befriend it, it becomes a bliss. I am thankful to you for reading my “boo-hoo” post..we all are lonely at some level..few take loneliness as a curse and few taking it as a blessing..the choice is yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rajlakshmi says:

    I don’t know what to say… You have been through so much as a young girl. Your words deeply touched me. What I loved is that life didn’t break you and look what an amazing person you have turned into. Loneliness can be daunting if one doesn’t know how to handle it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Balaka says:

      Thank you so much Rajlakshmi for this thoughtful comment. I tried to take everything positively and that helped me..life gives you lessons and I tried to learn from it.

      Like

  4. welshmumwriting says:

    I related to so much of this. I too grew up with a mother with a chronic condition and a father who in hand sight had undiagnosed mental health issues and other issues. I was my own best friend and after reading this I wonder how much of my innate introversion is natural and how much formed by those early years. A very insightful post #mg

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Modern Gypsy says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to see your mom struggle with a terminal illness, and to cope with her passing. But there’s so much resilience I see in you, and in your joy of being alone. It’s so important to be comfortable and happy with ourselves, to be able to enjoy life alone instead of feeling sorry and miserable all the time. I think being an introvert helps, too (fellow introvert here, btw!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Welcome to our introvert club 🙂
      We should be happy with whatever life offers. Instead of wailing in self-pity accept life the way it is, that is how I cope with my misgivings. Thanks for this beautiful comment. So glad to meet people who care. #mg

      Like

  6. Esha M Dutta says:

    Tina, I hear you always, even through your tears, laughter and your smiles. The past never really leaves us, no matter which path we take in life. People come and go and with every relationship we learn some lessons. I think everyone is a lonely soul at heart, and the only difference is that some of us make peace and some of us don’t. You have overcome so much in life so early, and will continue to do so, because of the optimism and the resilience that you have within. Keep up the fight and remain your own best friend! Nothing else feels so right at the moment, I can tell you! (Same story this side too!) 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Balaka says:

      You have been with me through thick and thin, you have always been a huge support. When I count my blessings you always find a place Di. I want you always now and beyond this life. Love you. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  7. vishalbheeroo says:

    It’s so me.I grew up alone being an only child to speaking to myself and playing with the self, it took me a long time to be open to people. I still enjoy shopping alone, a coffee date with the self and going for movies or holidays solo. I’d say that I prefer my own company and when people press on me to spend regular time in their abode, I feel suffocated and ill. I do have quite a few of friends who have supported me at every end but love my space. The reason why I am not enthusiastic at the idea of getting hitched since space is not traded. Glad someone thought on the same lines.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Alana says:

    I am also an introvert and an only child- my Mom died when I was 12 and it wasn’t lingering so my experience was different-although I, too, felt estranged from my class mates-they had fun and I went home to laundry and making dinner. I have been married for many years though so I can be alone when I choose. I do wish I could have known my Mom when I was an adult. She would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Balaka says:

      I can relate to this..when others were having fun I used to come home to cook and clean. It made me feel so alien to my classmates. Thanks for this beautiful comment. Hugs to you..

      Like

  9. Shalzmojo says:

    Balaka I can relate to the fact of enjoying your own company and feeling liberated and independant; I am like you and this feeling only enhanced after my divorce as now I wanted single company to socialise. But that was a bit difficult to find and once again I went back to being my own best friend.
    I cannot even begin to relate to your loss of a parent – you are brave to even mention it here. Hugs and love B!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Meena says:

    I am not an introvert, but i understood all your experiences. That you find happiness in being alone is something that everyone of us must try to achieve. After all that is the ultimate teaching of vedanta. Keep writing and take us in your journey.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Balaka says:

      Thank you so much…I never read Vedanta but I am glad that my life lesson is same…some people learn things theoretically and some people learn through practical means…Will keep writing..thanks for the encouragement😃😃

      Like

  11. writershilpa says:

    Balaka, I had a lump in my throat as I read this post! Hugs, my dear! I wish I could just give you a call and talk to you right now, or even give you a tight hug. Such a difficult road you have covered in your childhood, all by yourself! No wonder you are such a strong lady today. Strong and independent. This is what Life does to us all – either it makes us or it breaks us. And, Life made you who you are today – a woman so many look up to, are in awe of!
    I too realised how I needed to befriend myself to drive away the loneliness that was eating me alive! After my pet Chikoo passed away, I decided to no longer depend on anybody for my emotional needs and to enjoy my space. Now, the situation is such, I feel stifled in the company of others! I know, no one in this whole world is ever going to be with us, forever, except us..so it really makes sense in making us our best friends and to stop brooding and crying over ‘loneliness’!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Balaka says:

    My dear Shilpa,
    I am reading and re-reading your comment. I would have loved to talk to you. Our meeting is long overdue anyway😂
    When you wrote so many women look up to me and are awe of me..I felt humbly surprised. I think that is an over estimation but honestly it felt good to read😁 I believe I am a simple woman who had to become strong and brave as I had no choice. Circumstances made me what I am today however I would have loved to be a simple girl with a simple life. I hope one day my life lessons become meaningful to others and may I be able to spread love, happiness and strength to others. Thank you once again for this wonderful wonderful comment..you truly made my day. I am going to put this comment in my gratitude list😘😘😘😘😘😘

    Liked by 2 people

  13. writershilpa says:

    I am happy my words brought so much happiness to your day, Balaka!
    You are so right in saying that you had no choice but to be brave and strong. Very few people have that attitude towards life, Balaka…Maybe that is why Life decided to bless you by making you so resilient, and an idol to so many people! Life was tough to you, but it also blessed you in ways it fails to bless others!
    We definitely should meet someday…let’s see when things fall into place for us. Let’s keep our fingers crossed! 😛

    ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  14. pratikshya2 says:

    I don’t know what to say here. You have been through so much and you have survived. You have learnt to embrace loneliness and convert it into quality solitude. More power to you.

    This is a skill we need in modern times where feeling lonely amidst a crowd is fast becoming a normal thing. Success and climbing the ladder of one’s dreams now-a-days comes with loneliness. So much for financial independence and freedom. Life will become so simple if we learn this skill.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Balaka says:

      Just tell yourself, I love you and I love your company. Stop feeling awkward when alone and gradually you will start loving yourself and loneliness would become your quality time with yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. thesingleswan says:

    I am sorry to hear about your mother.

    I think there is a difference between solitude, loneliness and isolation. I am often alone, but I don’t feel lonely. I enjoy the solitude. I think because I am an introvert I need solitude to relax and to recharge. Pen x #mg

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Moon says:

    I couldn’t contain my tears while reading the part about your 19 year old self. The beautiful post reminded me of my college years too and how I would go to Nandan alone to watch my favourite movies because no one one wanted to watch those. 🙂🙂😀
    I loved the positivity and acceptance echoing through this post, and your happiness mantra.
    Love and hugs to you…

    Liked by 2 people

  17. yogaliciouslifeblog says:

    Balaka I can realate to so much of your beautifully written story. I too was an only child, often left alone. It took me a while to even want to be around other children, I couldn’t relate to them at all. Even now as an almost 40 year old women and mother of one, I find most human interactions quite insensire and at times exosting. I understand what you are saying about not being depended on other people to make me happy. I’m not quite there yet but I’m slowly getting there.

    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    Marta

    Liked by 1 person

  18. God's School of Life says:

    What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. So much of what you wrote hits home for me too. I have lost 3 close family members (my mom, my brother and my sister-in-law ), as well as several pets, in the last 5 years. I lost the relationship with another family member because of their addiction and resulting abuses and problems. It has become very clear to me that I am the only one who will always be there for me and will never leave me. Though I think its great to have relationships, I agree that we depend on them too much.

    Liked by 1 person

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