Feeling outside, distant, disconnected. Feeling “other”, different, singled out. Feeling frightened, unsafe, unsupported. Feeling less than, not good enough. Feeling somehow bad or wrong. And for all these reasons, feeling a deep and lasting loneliness.
After 20 years of being a counselor, if there’s one thing that seems to present itself over and over again it is this aching, deep within the hearts of we mere mortals; the aching to connect. A desire to be known. Needing to be Heard. Wanting to be seen. Wanting to be touched. Longing to be loved, for exactly who we are.
And after 20 years of being a counselor, I can’t say that I have the answer or “the fix” to that unrelenting deep-seated loneliness.
But here’s what I can say.
I can say with certainty that this feeling of loneliness is universal.
And I can say that much of the suffering that comes along with this feeling is thinking that you are the only one experiencing this deep and lasting loneliness. So, in this experience of loneliness, ironically, you are not alone.
I do know that while there can be moments of connection … of genuine intimacy … of heart-connections with others… that these moments are fleeting. They never last. They can not last. It is in wanting them to last or needing them to last that we feel the deepest suffering and pain.
So perhaps some of the answer to this deep, abiding loneliness lies in acceptance. Acceptance of the impermanence of thoughts and feelings. Acceptance of the impermanence of relationships. Understanding that every relationship we begin will come to an end… someway, somehow.
Choosing to accept that risk regardless… the risk to connect authentically, intimately and deeply with another living being… knowing that it will end in loss and separation and grief. Knowing that we will once again be alone … and lonely.
Perhaps that’s part of what it means to be human. Perhaps that’s one of the greatest risks and rewards of our lifetimes … to risk loneliness in exchange for moments of loving connection.
What connections do you long to feel? When will you take that risk?