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Sep 14, 2011 BY Joy McCarthy

Feeling "the" Loneliness

—  found in  Well-being  —

Note from Joy: I asked Michael to write a post for Joyous Health because I was so touched by this post he wrote for 889 Yonge. I personally can relate to this from time to time - loneliness.

By: Michael DeCorte Founder of Jock Yoga

I’m writing a blog post for the wonderful Joyous Health, and I wasn’t quite sure what to write about. The last post that I wrote was about being honest, uncovering who I am, and letting that person shine. Almost all of the things that I have a passion for writing about are my own personal struggles with the person I used to be—an active alcoholic, drug and food addict, and my victories I achieved in my subsequent journey through yoga, spirituality and self-discovery.

Today, with it being the end of summer, and the cool fall days beginning to settle in, I thought I might write about my journey with ‘loneliness’.

I recognized loneliness a long time ago. I was always lonely. I believed that loneliness came from being single. I believed a partner would fix the nagging emptiness inside of me. I tried anything and everything to bring a partner into my life.

Looking back, I think almost everything I ever did in my life before I began my spiritual journey, and even within it at the beginning, was about getting attention; specifically the attention of a potential mate. Any real happiness I believed I could achieve in life would have to come from a mate; from fame; from love outside of myself.

I was lonely, even though I had more friends than anyone I knew. I had chosen a ‘career’ as an entertainer/club personality that was based on outrageous performance, in order to obtain popularity and fame. I thought this would attract the partner, and therefore, the security and happiness I craved. I was lonely, even when my attention-seeking behaviour brought me in front of crowds that were cheering for me and laughing at my jokes and performances. I was lonely even when I “perfected” my body through obsessive exercise and dieting. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t have a mate when I was accomplishing all these things.

It’s interesting to see from a new perspective, and with new clarity, how in trying to attract all that attention, I was really not being myself, and was actually pushing away any potential interests that were around. Who wants to date an act?

When I came into recovery almost 10 years ago, I was even more acutely aware of loneliness. I blamed my misery on it. There was an awful lot of loneliness in those first few months and years of living my new sober life. There were many sleepless nights of self-pity and incredible discomfort. I wondered why I was so alone, and I wanted to escape how I felt. Again, I blamed the absence of a loving relationship for the loneliness I felt, and I tried anything and everything to bring that elusive relationship into my life. As a matter of fact, when I first understood that I could recover from my messed up life, I went through a suggested recovery program with incredible enthusiasm in order to recover ‘perfectly’, not only to be happy and sober, but mostly so that I would finally be fit for a relationship. Guess what? I was still single.

Nowadays, through the character-building work I have done, I believe I am probably much more fit to be in a relationship. However, I also have a new perspective: Yes, a relationship might bring me some companionship and fulfillment and therefore aid in achieving happiness, but the real cure for my loneliness comes from within.

As a result of taking an honest, thorough and often painful look at myself and continuing to take that personal inventory, I realize that loneliness was a reflection of how I felt about myself. I was so insecure and self-loathing, that I required a relationship for validation, so that I could feel good about myself because someone loved me. So naturally, when I didn’t obtain that relationship, I was lonely and miserable. Continual practice of spiritual principles, yoga, and honesty to the best of my ability with myself and others, has brought me to a place of greater self-acceptance and self-love. I feel pretty good about who I am these days. I live with integrity now (Integrity---a word I’ve just come to understand the meaning of), wherein I am myself to the best of my ability at each moment, trusting that I am loved for it. And though sometimes I really like it, I no longer need the validation of others to feel good about myself.

I am rarely lonely today. I don’t focus on needing something or someone to make me feel better, because I’m ok with who I am. I now understand that in those old days of loneliness, it was not the actual absence of a person or thing that was causing the problem. The problem was that I was focused on my negative feelings about myself, and I would get stuck in the mindset that I would always be and feel that way. The trick, I’ve learned, is to change my focus to the positive aspects of myself—my success, my new life, the people I’ve been able to help—in those moments, and to embrace and accept who I am and what is around me, and therefore engage positively in the actual moment itself.

There’s another trick I’ve used when dealing with the little bouts of loneliness that will naturally always pop up here and there: Once, a few years back, when I was on vacation in Hawaii—I remember sitting with my family on the patio of a restaurant in the warm air, thinking about how it would be nice to have a partner to share this moment with. I began to feel some of those familiar feelings of loneliness pulling at me again. I remembered in that moment something that I’ve learned on this journey of self-discovery: that loneliness is a universal feeling we all experience from time to time, and therefore if I acknowledge it and express that I’m feeling ‘the’ loneliness, rather than ‘my’ loneliness, then I connect to myself to everyone…and suddenly, ‘the’ loneliness is gone.

Thank you for sharing your story Michael!

Sep 14, 2011 BY Joy McCarthy
9 Comments
AD   •   September 14, 2011

Truly an incredible post and EXACTLY what I am going through now. WELL DONE!!!

Reply

Peta Chait   •   September 15, 2011

Michael, you write so honestly and beautifully. It comes from the heart and it reaches the hearts of others. What a gift you have, an honest gift. I so related and enjoyed your article. It is to me the best feeling inside of ourselves when we realise, yes that we are ok, and we believe that we are and we know that we are. The more you talk to yourself the more you can make yourself believe. Unfortunately that goes for talking good about yourself to yourself, to knocking yourself. I prefer to be nice to myself. The thing that makes you so real to me is your honesty. Everyone is happy at times, and also miserable or lonely, we would not be real if we pretended to be The Brady Bunch day in and day out, we would probably land up in a home having driven ourselves mad with such unrealistic thoughts. Well done to you, you sound fabulous. Peta

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Dawn Whitty   •   September 15, 2011

Your words touched my soul! Loneliness is a demon I constantly deal with and your post totally put into words what I am feeling. It is so good to feel that I'm not alone.

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Tamara   •   September 15, 2011

Thank you Joy, and most importantly Michael - thank you for sharing this beautiful post. Very much appreciated. Continued blessings to you :)

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Ashley   •   September 15, 2011

What a fantastically moving post, which just cements in me something that I've realized in the past few days. Myself and many of my friends want things now ... whether it be happiness, a baby, new clothes, or success in business, and I get angry when those things don't come exactly when I want them to come. However, I realized that things will not come to you until you are truly prepared and ready to embrace them. Thank you, Michael, for helping me to understand that I can accept that anger, acknowledge it so that it doesn't keep rearing it's ugly head, and then move on to something positive! Thank you Joy for sharing this!

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Joy McCarthy   •   September 15, 2011

Steve   •   September 16, 2011

Thanks my friends for sharing this. It is a difficult subject for all of us. The most significant thing that the practice (meditation and yoga) has taught me is how to be alone with myself. That is the scariest thing for most of us to deal with and we all try to treat the symptom with a different aspirin, be that physical activity, drink, drugs, mind numbing ‘reality’ TV...whatever. And being alone with ourselves does not mean not wanting or needing companionship or community...they are important. My practice has also brought those and given me the gift of being able to call Joy and Michael friends. But it is OK to be alone and even lonely sometimes. As the teachings urge we do not have to attach ourselves to those needs or desires; they will come and go. I am proud of you Michael and awed at the journey you have taken. Peace

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Ashleigh   •   November 14, 2011

Well-written and wonderfully touching. 'I am myself to the best of my ability at each moment, trusting that I am loved for it' Your words have power in them. Thank you for the share :)

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Sarah   •   March 5, 2013

that was amazing! I'm going through the exact same thing right now and a friend sent me this article. thanks for sharing!

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