How do you deal with the loneliness in your life? “What loneliness?”, you ask? The loneliness you are masking when you are constantly texting, surfing the net, facebooking, instagramming, pinteresting, playing games (Words With Friends, anyone?), streaming movies or TV shows.
I’m talking about the loneliness you are running from when you are overworking, over-exercising, over-achieving, over-eating, over-drinking. What about the loneliness you try to numb out by constantly being connected to other people . . . enmeshing with your spouse, over-involvement in your kids’ lives, talking on the phone, or as a last resort finding someone to chat with online? Ever feel an ache of loneliness when you are standing in your own house with your entire family home? Maybe yours looks different – isolating yourself. You may not think you’re running from your loneliness when you are alone, but you may be. Think about it . . . where does your mind go when you are alone? You are probably fantasizing about an ideal relationship, planning or re-living different events, or even visualizing yourself playing out your emotions in some real or imaginary situation.
I believe, as busy as we are, that we are a very lonely society. With all of the multi-tasking, multi-media, multi-access methods we employ, we have developed a set of very surface connections with the world. This certainly has some benefit, however.
Surface connections only allow people to know the parts of us that we want them to – clearly, that would be our good sides! That permits us to deny the not-so-wonderful qualities, both to ourselves and others. The down side? No one really knows and loves us just as we are – including US! We can’t scratch a certain itch that is deep within us because we are still hiding that not-so-pretty part of ourselves that needs desperately to be loved. When we are not busy-busy-busy, super social, or straight up numbing out, we come face to face with the bone-jarring, soul-terrorizing reality that we are alone with our own souls in this journey through life.
Still think you don’t have any loneliness? How long do you think it would take you, completely alone in the woods (and no access to any electronic devices or even a book to read), to be able to still your mind and be at peace with yourself? How many of you would be coming out of your skin within the first hour?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t seek the company of others (or use electronics). We are social by nature, we are wired to connect. Finding that peace within ourselves, however, is essential for us to be healthy in relationships with others. When we can’t find that peace, we become a slave to whatever relationship we are in or whatever method we can find to avoid the loneliness.
When we stop trying to fill the loneliness with whatever is around us and finally make peace inside of ourselves, that is when we find what we have been longing for in our lives. . . peace, joy, contentment, gratitude, love.