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  • Writer's pictureSquid Wan

Lonely but not that lonely

I wonder if anyone else is at this cafe because they want company, even in the form of strangers minding their own business, sitting at different tables and having conversations with one another, oblivious to my presence. I’ve learnt to recognise that there are days where being alone does not do well for me. Today was one of those days.

In my darkest days, I sought comfort in numerous content that explained the concept of loneliness and how I could experience less of it. I am constantly surrounded by family and friends, and if I wanted to, I have no trouble making friends with strangers, but I would still feel completely alone. The last straw was when I was in a relationship but the loneliness I experienced jolted me into ending it and to earnestly discover why I felt loneliness in such a huge way. I found the answer, it was so obvious, but I was just not ready to receive it then.

My problem with loneliness all boils down to my sense of self.

We all have a sense of self, which can also be commonly termed as self identity. This encompasses your personality traits, likes and dislikes, your values and beliefs, your motivations and your fears. All of these contribute to your unique sense of self. It is said that if you can easily describe these aspects of your identity, you have a strong sense of who you are. Knowing yourself well helps you make better life choices, helps you stay confident and resilient. However, a lack of sense of self is actually more common than you think. Many of us do not spend much time consciously thinking about our identities, especially if we’re busy toiling to make ends meet, chasing the next shiny thing or person or blindly tying our identity to society’s expectations, and ideas of success.

I do believe that while I had an alright sense of self all these years, it was extremely hollow as I made the gravest error of constantly moulding it around my need to be surrounded and loved, and my need to stand out so I won’t be left behind or forgotten. I believe this was the result of my toxic self-narrative when I was younger that no one corrected me to believe otherwise. I wonder how I would be different if I was hugged and kissed more, scolded and caned less, told I was enough, not compared, ignored and ostracised, if I had been told that I was loved, instead of guessing if I was.

Now that I am an adult, I can understand and be more compassionate about why everything happened how it did. I cannot stress how important it is to guide children to develop a healthy and positive sense of self in their developing years, so they grow into emotionally mature, well-regulated, kind and sensible adults. Everybody wins, and that’s why I’ve chosen Being Child & Young Person Centred as my Counselling Masters elective. Wow, random, I didn’t expect this blog article to affirm my elective decision but I guess that's why I blog – self-discovery.

In conclusion, I guess, I’m alone sometimes, and that’s okay. I’m lonely but I’m learning how not to be. At the end of the day, I’m lonely but not that lonely to fall back into unhealthy old behavioural patterns of seeking ‘love’ and ‘company’. It is not easy, at all, but my future wife deserves only the best from me. *ahem* See you soon baby. ;)

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