“You don’t have any friends. No one does. You are your only true friend.”
I was five when my dad tossed this harsh reality straight into my Barbie-grasping hands.
I’d been sobbing about a so-called friend who had said something mean. Although my mom tried to comfort me, my dad’s words of advice were not so kid-friendly. They intensified my racking sobs and made me question everything I’d learned on Barney and Mr. Rogers.
How could I be my only friend, and if that was true, how could I possibly be happy?
It was only later in life, after dealing with the melodramas that are sometimes most prominent in the female world, that I learned how true my dad’s words are.
We All Are Alone Sometimes
There comes a point in everyone’s life when they feel completely and utterly alone.
To clarify, I am not talking about chronic loneliness or mental conditions relating to these feelings. I cannot speak to those and do not seek to demean their seriousness.
I’m talking, however, about the loneliness we all experience as a part of the human experience. Friendships fade, and people change. People you thought you knew show their true colors, and it’s shocking. Throughout our lives, no matter how glum it seems, people will prove they cannot always be counted on.
Certainly, there are true friends in our lives. There are people who will support is, and that’s a good thing. It is also good to be the person others can depend on. It is companionship, friendship, and love that can mark the human experience with a glow indescribable.
However, as I discovered in junior high and even now in adult life, there will be times when you feel like no one is on your side. At low points in life, people will abandon you because they’re not willing to stick it out with you on the rocky path. During high points, jealousy will be stirred and people will try to tear you down. No one’s life is perfect when it comes to relationships. There will be times, perhaps many times, that you feel abandoned, dejected, and like you’re on the outside looking in.
Like everyone, I’ve been there more times than I can count. I’ve been excluded, torn down, stomped on, and rejected. I’ve heard harsh words about me, and I’ve been gossiped about. I’ve been shoved aside and left out. I’ve known what it’s like to stand in the corner of the room, looking outward toward the group you don’t belong to. I know what it’s like to be rejected for arbitrary reasons.
Loneliness is a part of the human experience, as my dad tried to highlight. However, loneliness doesn’t have to be a dark mark on your story. In fact, in some ways, it was during the loneliest times of life I was able to shine the most thanks to my father’s pessimistic but realistic words.
Finding Strength From Loneliness
It is when we are feeling alone, utterly alone, that we sometimes find the strength to stand on our own two feet. By learning to cherish ourselves and to be our own true friends, we learn that sometimes in life, when we are forced to walk alone, we can handle it. Friendship certainly illuminates our pathways, but even in the darkest moments, we can use our own lighter to find the way.
It is sometimes when we are stripped of all connections and relationships that we can finally hear the most important voice in life: our own.
Away from the noise of society and the clutter of demands from others, we can discover what happiness truly means to us. We learn where we most want to go and how we want to get there.
It is when we are alone that we can find the strength to stand tall, to stand proud, and to march into the future we map out for ourselves.
Friends come and go. Even the darkest bout of loneliness will pass for most of us. We will find new friends, new people to share our journey with. My dad’s words that autumn day years ago were probably not the most appropriate for the moment. However, I’m glad he burst my friendship bubble at five-years-old.
It was through his words I learned what the most important form of friendship in life is: self-love. I learned that it is by being your own true friend and listening to your inner voice that you can navigate even the darkest, stormiest points.
There will be people along the way to lift you up, and there will be people to love and share your experiences with. There will people who incite you to find your true path to happiness, and there will be people who change you. Hopefully, you will find a way to be a rock for others as well. You will make connections, and you will support others.
If you are feeling lonely, I hope you find the courage to reach out to others. I hope you know even when it doesn’t feel like it, there are people who care about you.
I hope you have the moral fortitude to reach out to those who are feeling lonely when you’re in times of companionship. In this bleak world, it is sometimes a simple gesture that can light another’s way and help abate the feeling of being alone.
Still, there comes a point in everyone’s life that they feel alone. As you navigate this sometimes bleak world, it’s important to remember that no matter what, you can depend on one person to always have your best interest at heart: yourself.
Take care of yourself. Listen to your own heart and voice. Most of all, know you deserve to be proud, confident, and happy just the way you are.
Lindsay Detwiler is a high school English teacher and romance writer at Hot Tree Publishing. For more about her works, visit www.lindsaydetwiler.com.