Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in prolonged periods of isolation from friends, family, and significant others. Whatever the reason for this situation, it often leads to self-discovery and hermetic reflection.
Being lonely and alone are two different things. I have been able to differentiate the two throughout my periods of being isolated from the outside world, and it all starts with finding out the essence of who you are.
Since I was young, I have always been somewhat of a loner. As the second oldest child, and the first girl of my mother's children, I had to figure out how to do a lot of things on my own. As a very inquisitive young girl who often got into trouble for asking too many questions, or telling too much business, I've always had a very strong desire to know. It didn't matter what it was, I just felt like I needed to be informed of everything there was to know about the world. As I got older, I quickly learned that asking too many questions could put you in a bad spot, namely time outs or whoopings. As I put two and two together, I grew up observing the world very closely and quietly figuring out how things worked.
I got used to depending on myself internally for everything that I needed externally.
It's a weird place to find yourself when your mind is as internally active as your mouth. As I grew into my young adulthood, I thought I was satisfied with being "not a friend person," but eventually I realized it was just my outward suit of protection for self-soothing, self-teaching, and self-validating my ego, and that I was truly unable to let anyone into my heart space, and I did not know how to connect with people whom I did not understand.
Isolation as a child stunted my ability to go within since I was always looking for answers outwardly. As a teenager and young adult, though I was a very kind and warm person, I often ran into many conflicts with people. Part of this was likely because I was an empath and didn't know it.
According to Psychology Today, "The trademark of an empath is feeling and absorbing other people's emotions and/or physical symptoms because of their high sensitivities. These people filter the world through their intuition and have a difficult time intellectualizing their feelings. The first step is to acknowledge that you are an empath." Normally, people who aren't aware of this trait become a magnet for people who reflect their internal trauma and pain in the most toxic and draining way. Often, I found myself in drama with people without really understanding how to process why I was in the situation to begin with.
Right before and after my spiritual awakening in early 2015, I started shedding friends and family left and right. This lasted for three years. Before I knew it, I barely had any friends and ended up as single as single can get. Isolated, I went through my darkest period of depression and alcohol abuse. I was in an off and on again karmic and unrequited relationship with a man who never truly reciprocated my feelings, which led to me engaging in sexual relationships with men that I really did not have deep emotional connections with. I was a hot mess and deeply wounded.
Along the process however, I realized my empathic nature. As I became more and more awake, I recognized the importance of unpacking the trauma that stemmed all the way from my childhood, to my present moment.
I had to truly look in the mirror, and see every flaw, and painstakingly untie every knot.
Isolation allowed me to perform surgery on my soul. Feelings of loneliness at one point became unbearable until I started to remove everything negative out of my life. I started getting into positive affirmations and self-care. I begin seeing my self-worth, and loving who I was on a deeper level.
After becoming a full-time nomadic, creative entrepreneur and later a freelance writer, I had never spent so much time literally by myself. It was almost as if I had to introduce my inner child to my adult self. I felt like Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway. It was during this time that I learned the difference between loneliness and being alone. I began to see my extroverted nature as a blessing, rather than a curse. I learned how to enjoy my own spirit. I learned how to be still, and explore my own mind. I began to extend my meditation practices to astral projection and lucid dreaming. I began to embody the divine feminine, and the creativity that I always possessed on a whole other level.
The difference between loneliness and being alone is that one is a void where you are detached from your spirit, imagination, and life force. The other is the realization that no matter where you are, or who you are with, that you are abundant in life, unconditional love, and universal oneness.
I mastered the art of being alone by manifesting divine joy from within myself.
Being isolated throughout my life has taught me how to tickle my own soul and connect with my mind, heart, and body in complete transparency. It also allowed me to see myself in everyone else…even in people I greatly disliked.
Ultimately, it is how I have evolved as a woman, and ascended as a spiritual being.
Featured image by Jeffery Erhunse on Unsplash