Crowded Yet Isolated
Ever had that feeling that your wife or husband doesn’t understand you? Your spouse or significant other is right beside you yet it doesn’t fill that gap. You may be surrounded by many people, yet their company ‘drowns’ you deeper into loneliness!
People feel that way because we are all unique and different.
There is no one in the entire universe that will have the same personality, ideas, way of life and needs like you. NONE! Not even twins! How can anyone fulfill all those needs to cater every individual?
There us a quote from the bible that says if I try to remove the speck from my neighbor’s eye, I must first remove the plank from my OWN eye then I can see clearly before I attempt to remove his speck.
How does this apply?
By understanding that other people are not obliged to fulfill our needs, we somehow learn to expect less from others and it eases the pain, because we stop expecting more from others! We learn to accept them better and judge others less so it creates the first step to curing loneliness – giving others slack!
Remember that we are the sum of the five people we spend most of our time with.
If you are mixing with a crowd that is negative and makes you feel down all the time, it is no surprise why you are lonely and negative. It is no surprise that children move out from their homes away from negative parents or stop interacting with certain groups of friends all together. Don’t let the poison drain your energy.
Emotional Pains in a loveless World
How does the agony of loneliness seem to penetrate the hearts of men and women throughout the world? Even superstars who have been the icon of generations and admired by millions feel unfulfilled (e.g. Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain)
The feeling of loneliness is radically due to the failure of man in loving others. The symptoms of loneliness magnetize the effects of the pain to the extent that it forces the focus of attention more on ourselves and creates a self-preoccupation that creates an obstacle to love others.
Ever had a stomachache? Who are you thinking of at that moment?
This illustrates the point that we are only thinking of ourselves. It shows a terribly pain filled world in which we live in.
Furthermore, the pain does go away like a stomachache. The so called Mid-life crisis is turning more into a ‘young adult’ crisis now with suicide rates hitting the roof and most diseases in the world today mentally induced or cured in psychiatric wards.
The basis of trust between people is eroding and less and less people are opening up to one another. By failing to open up to others, the lonely symptoms spring up as other people will not open up to you if you do not open yourself to others first.
It is said that if you want to be surrounded by friends, be a friend to others first.
Love – The Verb, Not The Feeling
Love, or rather the lack of it constitutes the loneliness breeding in a person’s heart. It is a scary fact to note that we are largely shaped by others (remember the sum of five people we spend most of our time with) who hold our destiny in THEIR hands.
We are what we are today – a product of those who loved us or have refused to love us.
Love gives life to others. But what is most important is to remember is that in order to love someone else effectively, we must love ourselves first! You can’t give what you don’t have!
You may think you ‘love’ a beautiful girl or a handsome guy if you don’t love yourself (there is a song that goes: I am nobody until I met you or my life is meaningless until you came into the picture) but that is not love.
You may admire that person because he or she is good looking, you may worship that person because you think he or she is better, you may even sacrifice your life for him or her for your own selfish, self-gratifying ego, but you do not love.
Love is a verb. It is an action. The feeling of ‘love’ is actually a product of the verb or action. By loving yourself first, it forms the basis or foundation by which you love others without which it is merely a baseless act of self-deception that appears to be loving.
But how do we love ourselves if we have never been loved? In the next chapter we will explore this area.
Learning How to Love
How do I take the first step to deal with loneliness? By learning to love. But first we must examine the paradox to love.
When we are lonely, we feel like we are in an unbearable prison. By its very nature of loneliness is just like the stomach ache – the attention centers only on ourselves. So we try and fill this emptiness by finding others who will give us that very love we need.
People often try to do things for others to gain their love. They barter trade favors with each other thinking that they are loving people. We know that our loneliness can only be filled by the love of others and therefore we must feel loved by others.
The paradox of love is this:
If we seek to fill the void of our own loneliness in seeking love from others, we will inevitably find no consolation but only a deeper desolation. In other words, if we seek the love that we need, we will never find it.
When a person orients his life towards the satisfaction of his own needs, when he goes out to seek the love which he needs, he is basically self-centered, no matter how pitiful he is. As long as he focuses on himself, his ability to love will always remain stunted.
What is the solution then?
If a person seeks not to receive love, but rather to give it without strings attached, he will become lovable and he will most certainly be loved by others in the end.
We must stop being concerned with ourselves and begin to be concerned with others. Beginning with the end in mind – which focuses the results of the act of love others without concerned with self-gain, is the first step to gaining love and easing the pain of loneliness.
Every single person on earth has some capacity to love.
We all have some ability to focus the attention off ourselves to the needs and concern of others. It is the extent that we are willing to give, are we able to receive that amount of love from others.
Deciding to love others with no strings attached is like a donation (we don’t expect anything in return, not even a satisfied ego or relieved guilt), not a barter trade. When we ask others, “What have you done for me?” we have failed to love.
Even if at the beginning you are only able to love little, you will be loved little. That very love will empower you to grow and produce more love and in return receive greater love from others.
But always remember that in making this self-donation or self-sacrifice, our minds must always be focused away from ourselves or it wouldn’t work.