| There was a time in my life, a long time ago, when I felt very lonely in the world. Do you know what it is like to feel you will never be loved for who you are? To never feel truly understood? To feel that when people see you, they are not seeing the real you - and they don't even try to see the real you. It is like the real you is invisible to everyone but yourself - and everyone thinks you are somebody you are really not. To be next to a person and feel so far away. That kind of loneliness is even more lonely than being just by yourself. At least by myself, I can just be me. I can feel who I am.|
I felt as if my life had no real value to anyone, and thus no value for myself. For me, this was worse than "death", because death seems a relief from loneliness. After death, I thought, there is probably nothing - and nothing is at least less painful than loneliness. For the tears of loneliness are one of the most painful experiences I have ever felt in my life. They are not tears of the body, but those of the soul. I wondered, why live when it seems so much easier to be dead? To be born into the world with so many people, and all your life feel alone. The present and the future seemed to stretch out into one long eternity. To tell you the truth, I did think of ending my life. But my heart told me, "That is against the law of nature." Were I to end my life, I think I would have only been creating more suffering for myself in the next life. But if an angel had come in those dark times and asked me if I wanted to leave this world, I would have gladly gone with her.
And that is how I knew I was in hell. If heaven is the place where you never want to leave, then hell must be the place where you always want to leave but can't. The place worse than death. And for me, loneliness is such a place, and it is one such a hell. Always wanting to leave, but not knowing how, seeing no way out, and no one to save you. And this hell was inside me, and I carried it everywhere I went, all the time, unable to be free. If only an angel would come and deliver me, for I did not know how to deliver myself.
But such an angel never came. Nobody came. Nobody came to save me. Nobody came to understand. The only person in the world, it seemed, was me. I was all alone, as it had always been, and seemed it always would be.
And in this darkness, I saw the only way out into the light… love. Love can save you. Love is the only way out of hell. Not someone loving you, because you can never expect anybody to love you. But you loving someone else. If no one loves you, at least you can love someone else. Love, without expecting love in return. There are others who are suffering in the hell of loneliness - love them so they need not suffer as you have suffered. Live so that others need not experience the hell you have experienced. A gentle eye, a kind word, a helping hand, a patient ear, a generous smile… these are the free acts of love you can give to ease the suffering of others. These acts of love take away loneliness - both their loneliness and yours. And they add to love - both theirs and yours.
I can't guarantee anyone will ever love you back in the way you need to be loved. Love is always a choice, made freely by people and by fate. But I can guarantee that the love you choose to give freely, returns to you freely to live inside your heart. As love lives, so you live in love. For in the love you give to others, lies the seed of heaven. The hell of loneliness you once felt gradually fades away into the past. Love has the power to transform hell into heaven.
If you don't understand any of this, then you are lucky, because you have not experienced the hell of loneliness, and so do not understand its language. Perhaps you live surrounded by love - or perhaps you feel you do not need love. But if you do understand the hell of loneliness, then know you are not alone. I know it may seem no one cares, but I care. That is why I write this for you. To let you know that you are not as alone as you may believe. And you need not envy those who never seem to have been lonely, for you are lucky too.
Yes, you are lucky too, even though you may not see it now. You are lucky because you have the chance to be stronger than others, for true strength is born from the ability to accept and overcome weakness. You have the chance to not fear death, for those who have been to hell no longer fear death. The chance to know how to love, for those who have never been loved have no choice but to love others - or die. The chance to always carry and feel love inside your heart, for that is the beginning and ending place of all love. To be a true survivor, for only those who have suffered can be said to have survived, and it is only the survivors who can become the true leaders. It is you who are lucky, because you have the chance to gain the power to transform hell into heaven, for only those who have been to hell can transform it into heaven.
“We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.”
-Orson Welles quotes