Cultivating Loneliness: The Importance Of Not Letting Others Stand In Your Way

by Agnes Chew

We will leave this world as alone and as lonely as we enter it.

We are all lone travelers in this journey of life. We do not know exactly why we are here, how we came to be or where we are headed. In fact, despite the advances in technology and science, we remain clueless as to where we were pre-conception and where we'll be after death.

These thoughts haunted me when I was young. I used to imagine my soul, or whatever it was that comprised my inner essence, floating about languidly in the immense cosmos, unaware of this impending life that I was about to embark on.

A flurry of questions would then bombard my humanly-constrained mind: If my soul and consciousness were one in the same, where had the memories of my past gone? Does reincarnation exist? If my memories were erased, am I still one in the same?

As we trudge on with our lives, attempting to grapple with the enormity of these seemingly unanswerable questions, we might meet other travelers with whom we share segments of our journeys. Some of these people may be fleeting, while others find a permanent spot in our lives.

These shared experiences of euphoria and melancholia may momentarily allow us to believe that we are part of a larger entity, that we belong and most of all, that we are not alone.

Alas, these travelers come and go in our lives, as we come and go in theirs. At the end of the day, we are all profoundly alone. We are lonely insofar as we recognize the impossibility of ever finding someone who would be able to wholly understand ourselves.

In this vein, loneliness is not something we can expect to outgrow by a certain stage in our lives. It is innate in us, for loneliness is a human condition. In the words of Janet Fitch, author of "White Oleander,"

"Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness.

Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception.

If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want and not let the cattle stand in your way."

It is an inescapable fact that at this present moment, we only have this one life to live, in however manner we deem palatable, with only ourselves to answer to.

Begin cultivating loneliness today. Most of all, recognize the need to dispel the negativity of naysayers and to discard the weight of societal pressures in order to enable you to pursue a life that is true to the existential core of your very self.

Photo via We Heart It