According to John Bradshaw, bestselling author of Home Coming, one of the final steps in healing our wounded inner child is learning how to stay with our loneliness: not running away from it or rushing into some activity as a kind of anesthesia.
God, does that hurt: staying with the pain of unfulfilled love, expectations, and aspirations. And yet, letting the loneliness come and go as it wants, exactly how our neighborhood dog did when I was ten, is, I suspect, the single most liberating step in my recovery from depression and anxiety.
I read the following paragraph from Henri Nouwen every morning as part of my daily meditation because therein his words lies my escape from slavery:
It is not easy to stay with your loneliness. The temptation is to nurse your pain or to escape into fantasies about people [or places or things] who will take it away. But when you can acknowledge your loneliness in a safe, contained place, you make your pain available for God’s healing.