Loneliness: A Journey of Self Discovery
HOW DO CREATIVE MINDS OPTIMIZE ALONE TIME?
Loneliness is a loaded word.
Immediately prompting us to count social connections, busy calendars, and lists of Facebook friends. For proof.
That we aren’t losers or loners.
But according to research, neither face-to-face nor social media connection can accurately describe the degree of isolation felt in today’s world.
Whether in a crowd of friends, tucked in established neighborhoods, or chatting with peers. Many still feel alone.
Loneliness Has Many Labels
It is clear that our world cares about the effects of loneliness. For research abounds. Each study painting a picture of a time in history when intimate connection with others is in steep decline.
Reminder: labels only apply to you if you lick them and stick them. Otherwise, they are just bits of information floating in your field.
Emotional detachment. 43% struggle to find meaningfulness in relationships.
Depression. Single parents, even though they live with children, are more likely to be lonely.
Introversion. The number of teens gathering with friends regularly has dropped by more than 40 percent.
Fear of trust (pistanthrophobia). People reporting no one to talk to about important matters has more than doubled since 1985.
CREATIVE DISRUPTION begins here. Today, an opportunity to look at the hidden corners of loneliness in your life.
Not familiar with CREATIVE DISRUPTION? STEPS HERE…
BACKGROUND & TEXT
Tear random collage pieces from books, magazines, or DIY papers.
As you rip, recall people and experiences that have left feelings of disconnection in your life.
Add any words that magnetize toward today’s topic.
Apply with gel medium or glue. Cover it all.
Now you are ready to receive your story.
FORM & REFLECTION-SPIRALING IN
This contemplative woman caught my eye. I know her. She is me when I’m pondering the secrets of the universe. Me in my art studio selecting a means of expression for the day. Me alone on a trail, away from the noise and clutter of life.
She isn’t sad.
But she has stories of sadness to share. Stories that spiral in, to explore intimate experiences of aloneness.
And stories that spiral out. To all the lonely people.
TEXT & REFLECTION
I coexisted with this page for over a week, knowing that hurried story lines only deny the authentic truth waiting to emerge.
Toggling back and forth between written and visual journaling works well for me. Playfulness fueling depth. Depth revitalizing playfulness. Can you find your story in the following questions?
Journal Prompts for Self Discovery
Childhood feelings of loneliness and disconnection.
I wrote about growing up in a family of eight. A seemingly impossible place to feel lonely…and yet. Without emotional connection or displays of affection, distance becomes the norm.
Adulthood in a world of separation.
I wrote about finally acknowledging loneliness for the first time in my 40s. With the end of a 25 year marriage and the beginning of an empty nest.
Decades of deletion.
I wrote about living long enough to see dear ones die. Groups fade away. And adult children journey to other states and countries, seeking something missing in their own lives.
I wrote about my go-to form of resistance to any sort of inward look. Staying busy. Too busy to notice that I have holes.
Finally, I wrote about saying yes. To a 1,000 pound friend in the shape of a quarter horse, complete with human buddies. Saying yes to dating: with empowered choice instead of need. Saying yes to nature, journaling, and creativity.
Leading to a SHIFT in how I see my alone time. What once felt impossibly painful, is now a colorful Journey of Self-Discovery. The very catalyst for every beautiful new adventure in my life.
The Final Story
My Final Techniques
I added a few new pieces of collage.
I painted and stamped over portions.
I added my takeaway wisdom.
One Final Note
Keeping tabs on our well-being means knowing the connection between our emotions and our physical health. I offer the following information for your consideration.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT LONELINESS?
It affects our health. Risk of premature death was 50 percent lower for adults who had greater social connection. Specifically, loneliness is associated with cardiovascular disease, stroke, and physical decline.
It affects how we see the world. Lonely individuals are inclined to be less trusting, more anxious and pessimistic, and to perceive others more negatively.
It affects our sleep, even in young adults (which in turn affects health).
It effects our mental and emotional state. Lonely young adults are more likely to experience mental health problems, and less confidence in employment prospects. Leading to a greater likelihood of being out of work.
Perhaps gentle awareness of your body’s whispers for change will inspire you to pick up a journal and some craft paint. For your own colorful journey of self-discovery.