Loneliness is one of the major problems of our time. Many people feel lonely, misunderstood, and not recognized by others. And it is not just elderly people; even people who have a family and a busy career often feel lonely. Despite all the activity around us, there can be something inside us that does not feel seen. A substantial part of us is then not connected to the world, to the people around us.
The Inner Causes of Loneliness
As a human being you have two principal aspects: a male aspect and a female aspect. The male aspect (the inner man) takes care of the sense of being "me", a force that sets you apart, sees you as different from the rest. In the female aspect (the inner woman) resides the ability to connect. Whether you were born as a man or as a woman, as a human being you are complete. However, that is not what we have been taught; from childhood on we learn that we are a boy or a girl. This is the way we are raised and it follows that we are supposed to behave accordingly. Thus, we become alienated from a part of ourselves by identifying either with the male aspect or the female aspect.
If you identify with the male aspect, you are then lonely because the part in you that is able to connect, the female aspect, is not recognized. If you identify with the female aspect, you then connect too strongly with others and can get lost in relationships. There then arises a feeling of loneliness because you are no longer aware of your own "I". You lose your sense of who you are as an individual.
Loneliness is first and foremost an inner problem: we fail to sense a part of ourselves. We may not sense our own "I" enough, a problem that women often have, or we may not sense the part that is able to connect with others, a problem that many men have. Which is why you often see men who feel lonely when they are not in a relationship. They do not have sufficient contact with their inner woman – the aspect who takes care of having good relations with fellow human beings – so they are actually unable to have a real relationship. Women often feel lonely while in a relationship, because they do not feel understood and recognized by their partner. Something is missing, because when a woman does not sense her own inner man, she does not fully see herself. In her ability to fuse with the other person, she loses something: herself. We then get the picture of a woman who seems perfectly attuned to her husband, but still feels unhappy. And because she does not connect to her own male energy, she cannot find a solution to her dilemma. So she is going to complain and expect her husband to solve her unhappiness for her. Her husband, however, cannot solve her problem and so begins to shut down more and more to his reproachful, unhappy wife. This creates a downward spiral in their relationship.
Loneliness as Worldview
Loneliness gives us the feeling of living in a world with no real friends, without people who understand us; a world where we are alone. The danger then is that we see this as a given, as a fact of the way the world is. In literature and philosophy, we find all sorts of seemingly profound statements that confirm this. A few of the better-known ones are: "We live as we dream: alone" and "Hell is the other".
If we are going to embrace these statements and find confirmation in the underlying philosophies, we begin to see our sense of loneliness more like an inevitable truth. Loneliness becomes a worldview, a belief. We no longer believe in a loving God, or in an inner bond with our fellow human beings. We are alone in the universe.
People who do not perceive the female in themselves embrace a worldview in which the female – the loving energy of connection – does not exist. Anyone who dares to reject this cynical image is seen as naive. The belief is that a day will come when those who are so "deluded" will know better. The great attractiveness of this kind of pessimism is that it seems profound. We come to believe that men and women are quite different and will never really understand one another; that every relationship is actually a hopeless project: men are from Mars and women are from Venus. However, in reality, both come from the Sun.
How does such a worldview affect us? Like any rigid worldview, it denies the living reality; it stops the flow of life. Consciousness always strives for growth; the natural flow of life always seeks for solutions. Just as does the body, the spirit tries to heal itself. This natural process of healing is blocked when we take as absolute truth those negative beliefs that see human loneliness as inevitable. We lock ourselves in a self-made prison of which the bars are made by our beliefs. These beliefs are seen as absolute truths and make any kind of happiness and growth impossible. And, of course, we are going to feel more miserable than ever, and this misery again confirms our "profound" worldview; namely, that the universe is an infinitely empty, dark, and cold place, without hope.
The end result is depression. Of course, depression also has other causes, but a common cause is the combination of not seeing a part of ourselves and of building a wall of negative thoughts around that part. Doing this amounts to the belief that the part we seek does not exist.
If we want to see the end of this kind of dilemma, we will first have to go within and ask ourselves: "What part of me do I suppress and do I refuse to recognize?" You can approach this question, for example, in the following way. Imagine you are a man and you miss having a woman, a life partner. To fantasize about such a woman probably is not that difficult; you may already do that quite often. And yes, doing that is only fantasy; however, it is your fantasy. And that means that woman is also in you; the female that you fantasize about is within you. If that female power did not reside in you, you would never be able to fantasize about it. You would never be able to fantasize about that beautiful, sensitive, empathetic woman who always says such sensible, wise things; who fully understands you and who is always so loving. What does she say to you? Listen to her for a moment.
Imagine that woman on a regular basis, even when you are on the job, or when you are talking to others, or when you are with friends. How does that woman see you? Are you allowing her to be there? What makes her happy? Try to feel what she feels. Gradually, you are going to notice that the feelings of that woman are your feelings, so let them be. You will start feeling more complete and much richer. The feeling of loneliness will be less strong.
You will begin to radiate that increase in richness. You will be more attractive to others; women will feel more appreciated and understood by you. As a man, you will no longer see women as strange creatures from another planet, but as people just like you with the same fears and the same uncertainties. Men who do not have a good connection with their inner woman often do not have an idea of how fragile and sensitive – how human – women actually are. A sure sign of a poor connection with your inner woman is that you have difficulties seeing women as people – people with fears, concerns, desires, and dreams. The huge inequality between men and women, which still exists in many places in the world, is simply the result of the fact that men are unable to regard a woman as a human being. Awareness of the inner woman also gradually leads to a different perception of the world around you: the inner unity of everything is recognized and felt.
Of course, you can do the same exercise if you are a woman. Imagine your inner man. Make him a brave, strong knight with a poetic and sensitive heart; thus, a man who, in contrast to many men in your surroundings, is well connected to his inner woman: his feelings. Immediately, you will realize that you can fantasize about an ideal man because that man is inside you, is a part of your soul energy. It is the part that has not been allowed because you have come to believe that you are a girl and it is not good for a girl to act in a masculine way. Maybe you have come to believe in the course of your life that men are bad, violent, and aggressive and that everything that is masculine in you has to be suppressed. Saying no, setting boundaries, standing up for yourself, all that is bad; therefore, it is good to always give of yourself, be amenable, say "yes" to others. And if you do stand up for yourself and show your masculine side, you always feel guilty afterwards, as if you have given in to something that is wrong.
The secret of the female energy is to be able to really say "yes" to the other person from love. The secret of the male energy is, from that same love, to be able to say "yes" to yourself.
For a moment, feel the knight from within. He is strong, can set limits, stand up for himself, and say "no" when necessary. How does he actually do that; what is his secret? Women often think that for such a strong stance, power is necessary, but that is not the point. These qualities are a natural consequence of the ability to say "yes" to yourself in a loving way. The moment you actually say "yes" to yourself, you create boundaries in a natural and obvious way. It then takes no strength to say "no".
Use your female ability to connect to the knight and to experience him completely from within himself. You will then almost immediately discover a very natural self-love and self-esteem. And from that self-love arises a desire to manifest yourself, to put yourself out there: the desire to do things. From that feeling of being able to say "no" to things that do not suit you, you become easy and natural.
Why, as a woman, are you often so easily hurt by something another says? Usually, it is about some silly comment that is not intended to hurt. The answer is the lack of self-love. This lack of self-love causes a continual inner doubt through which we become out of balance from the slightest remark. Connect with your inner man – your love of self – and you will find yourself much less easily thrown off balance. The silly comments of others mean nothing against the continuous inner flow of love that a good connection to the male energy brings to you. Setting limits, saying "no" when it arises out of respect and love for yourself, is then taken for granted.
If we feel lonely, we desire to be with fellow human beings. However, if we want to find that connection, we first have to learn to see ourselves as human beings. And just as a person has a right and a left side, inwardly, they have a male side and a female side. Only when we allow both sides completely, do we put an end to loneliness.
How do we do this? We begin by having doubts. As long as we stick to beliefs that make happiness and wholeness impossible, we will remain unhappy. Only when we are willing to question the beliefs that make us unhappy, will there be an opening for change.
You can do a simple visualization. Imagine that a beautiful star shines over your head: a source of endless, unconditional love. That star is your soul: the timeless, eternal part of yourself. The light of that star descends into you and when that happens, the light splits. Part of the light becomes a woman, and she says: "I love the life around me: all the people, animals, plants, and the Earth itself." Another part of the light becomes a man, and he says: "I love myself, and the love I feel for myself gives me strength and self-respect; gives me the desire for the adventure and enjoyment of life." Speak these statements out loud to yourself.
Imagine that the man and the woman travel together. The man is looking for new adventures, new areas to explore. Everywhere they go, they meet new people and all sorts of other beings, sometimes miraculous life forms, so the love of the woman can flow endlessly. Together they walk through life. One step is taken from the male side, from self-love, where you allow yourself anything: new experiences, adventures, and encounters. Then another step is taken from the female side where your love begins to flow to the new environment and to all that is there: other people, unknown lands, a new world.
When you do this exercise, you will undoubtedly feel all kinds of resistance. These are your old beliefs, so take a good look at those beliefs again. Why are you so sure of them? How objective are they actually? How can these beliefs serve you when they make you so unhappy? If you carefully examine these beliefs, you will find that behind them is one starting point: the denial of love. We have embraced ideas from our culture that love is an illusion, a self-delusion based on selfish, biological instincts; for example, that you love your children and your partner just because your genes want to reproduce.
We do not know how an atom is put together; we do not know how the universe works; we do not know how human beings are composed. If, like some scientists believe, everything is reducible to a set of mathematical formulas – the theory of everything – then there is no room in the universe for love, and also not for subjectivity, for inner experience. There is no room for the human, as a conscious living being. In such a worldview, human beings are no more than desensitized robots.
People who are mentally healthy have doubts. To doubt is human, but it seems that people often deal with doubt in ways that are not logical. Imagine the following: there is someone who is very poor and lives in a dilapidated cabin. His cares are many and there is not even money to buy food. But in the cabin is an old chest that belonged to a distant ancestor. Rumor has it that this distant relative once found gold and has put it in the chest. Maybe that story is true, or maybe not. What is logical? 1) The story may be true, so it makes sense for him to look in the chest, and it is possible that all his worries will be over; or 2) the story may not be true, so it makes sense for him not to look in the chest from the fixed belief that his problems will continue.
Of course, the first approach is logical. When in doubt, it is rational to give the positive a chance. In practice, however, this is not what many people do. They act illogically from their doubt by not giving the positive a chance: they do not look in the chest. Healing begins with doubt, but it is also doubt that can hold us back from actual healing. So give the logical consequence of that doubt a chance: look inside the chest. It is okay to doubt, but give the positive a chance, give love a chance, give yourself a chance.