The key to inner peace

Mariah Heyden

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Our generation is afraid of loneliness, but is unable to realize the difference between being alone and being lonely.
Being alone is a matter of solitude, enjoying your own company even. It is being able to go out for coffee by yourself and happily sip on that pumpkin spice latte without the anxiety of people seeing that you are on your own in public.
Everyone craves love, affection and attention- it is only natural. But still, that fear of loneliness creeps up and suddenly nothing seems good enough anymore.
Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde once said, “You need to learn how to be alone and not defined by another person.”
It is okay to enjoy the company of others and to look forward to spending time with your friends, but when that company turns into co-dependency then you will be faced with much larger problems later in life.
It is a wonderful thing to not have to worry about always having plans because after awhile it can become exhausting. You can work on your own schedule without having to coordinate with others. It is okay to do things alone; that does not mean you are lonely. It simply means that you are becoming more independent as you get older.
In her memoir, “Lonely: A Memoir,” Emily White writes, “It’s entirely reasonable to feel lonely yet still feel as though you need some time to yourself. Loneliness feels draining, distracting, and upsetting; desired solitude feels peaceful, creative, restorative.”
One way to help battle the feeling of loneliness while enjoying your own company is to get a good night’s sleep. A broken sleep cycle puts your mood in the gutter, and leaves you feeling distracted, thinking about what is missing.
Another beneficial way to fight loneliness is to nurture something. Tend to flowers or plants. Water them and watch them grow. It can be uplifting to see that you have created something beautiful, and have kept it that way.
Having pets such as a dog, cat or even a fish also helps. Anything that you can love and nurture works.
Lastly, be happy for others. This is easier said than done, but when your friend gets a promotion at work do not let jealousy take over. Root for them.
When you choose to be happy for others, and feed off their positive energy, your own positive energy will come forth and you will start to see the world in a more positive way.
Search for love in other places. Search for it in good friends, in family, in random passersby whose soul touches your own in a moment.
Most importantly, look for love within yourself.
“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself,” Carrie Bradshaw once said in an episode of “Sex and the City.” “And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous,”
One day, we will all graduate, and we will move on with our lives. It does not mean we must forget everyone, but there will come a day when we must be adults and cannot rely on others to always be there to hold our hand.
When that day comes you must be prepared to spend some time on your own because schedules get busy and plans do not always work out. It does not mean you are lonely, it just means you have to ride solo for lunch today. Instead of thinking about what is missing, work on creating something that can never be taken from you. That is inner peace.