Alone but not lonely
Ajay Kalra feels you can be happy being alone without the compulsive need to be in a relationship if you have a purpose in life
I wonder how you stay by yourself,” said a friend to me. “I just cannot be alone for an extended period. Good or bad, I need company.” It got me thinking. I have been staying by myself for the last seven years. Out of these, I would say I was lonely for the first two years and alone for the last five. Let me explain.
‘Lonely’ is a state where my mind craves for someone’s company. In my case, it would mostly be a woman who makes me feel wanted, loved, and admired. I guess it’s a common human desire. Most of us want someone to share our life with. Having said that, based on my limited experience, I have seen that the longing for companionship is more prevalent in women than in men.
The mixed bag of man-woman relationship
When I act out of the longing to fill my emptiness through a relationship, I have noticed that sooner than later, I tend to become dependent, touchy, and possessive. Of course, there is the other side too. I am capable of much love, affection, and care. But it’s always a mixed bag. As though I carry a psychological bucket titled ‘Expressions and Expectations’ in a part of my mind allocated to relationships. When I get into a relationship, the bag magically opens on its own and dumps its contents onto the other person. The other person carries her own bag, and as a symbol of fair trade, dumps her psychological bag onto me.
The honeymoon period is usually the best part of a relationship, where both parties are busy projecting their fantasies onto each other. Sooner or later, it ends, and the sharp edges of each other’s personality hurtfully poke each other. I do not know what happens after this. My relationships haven’t really lasted long so that I can write any credible account from personal experience of what constitutes a healthy relationship or how to make it last.
Living in a spiritual community
It gets me thinking that maybe I am not really cut out for a man-woman relationship. Maybe I lack the emotional maturity necessary for such a relationship. What I think I am really cut out for is living in a community that resonates with my values of personal growth. Maybe a place like Auroville in Pondicherry that espouses the value of spiritual brotherhood. A space that respects my right to live as I please, gives the feeling of belongingness, and provides the opportunity for me to express my creativity as a teacher. The last part is particularly important.
I feel my relationship with my work is the most important relationship for me. It is not work. It is a calling. I love to teach principles of mindful living that have made a positive difference to my life and which I sincerely believe can be of help to others. It evokes my creativity as a writer, communicator, and facilitator. It enables me to connect with other humans meaningfully and authentically. And it gives me a sense of genuine self-worth.
Alone but not lonely
For the last five years, I have been alone but not lonely. I had such a community and an opportunity to express myself in such a manner. The longing to find a companion to fulfil my emotional needs was dimmed by the constructive engagement of my time and energy. This makes me believe that our emotional need to be in a relationship is far more intense when we do not have a clear sense of purpose or when our mind is not engaged in something meaningful. Not that I am saying that finding a purpose makes our need to have a companion redundant, but it definitely moves the focus from another individual to constructive action.
Having an idli-sambar breakfast in a restaurant reading a book on Kindle. Walking on the beach with the backdrop of the setting sun. Or soaking in the chants of Sanskrit shlokas being chanted in a temple. These have been some of my special ‘being alone’ moments. I am not making a case for being alone. I have had equally special moments of togetherness. All I am saying is that if I were to reflect on my life, the needle of my temperament seems more tilted towards being alone.
Of course, one never knows what the future has in store. And that’s what makes life exciting and scary. Like an unfinished suspense movie, we await the next scene and the ultimate climax. For now, I am happy sitting by myself, churning out articles on topics that catch my fancy, and posting them on social media. Every view, like, or comment creates a connection with another human being that resonates with my thoughts. And that makes me feel less alone.
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