As an introvert, I don't think of myself as someone who gets lonely. I enjoy solitude. I thrive on solitude. I need solitude to ground and center and balance myself. I can and have spent entire days alone, entire weekends alone, reading and writing and listening to music and simply enjoying the restorative power of peace, quiet, and inward focus.
I never get lonely. Or do I?
Yes, upon reflection, I do know how it feels to feel lonely. When I do feel lonely, however, it is not when I am alone.
When people ridicule me and belittle me, I feel lonely.
When people treat me as a thing not worthy of respect, I feel lonely.
When I am shamed for expressing my point of view simply because my point of view doesn't "fit in" with the rest of the people in a group, I feel lonely.
When people mock my words and dismiss my ideas, I feel lonely.
When people ignore that I have spoken, I feel lonely.
When people talk around me, playing the conversational equivalent of "Monkey in the Middle," carrying on among themselves as if I have not spoken, I feel lonely.
And I feel angry.
I do have a voice.
I have every right to be heard, and to have my voice respected, and to be respected in speaking my truths, whether or not anyone else sees the way I do.
And when I remember my own dignity and worth, derision and shame cease to have any real power over me.
And I am no longer lonely.