Many of us seek comfort in food, alcohol or drugs. Other’s addiction of choice might be the accumulation of friends and acquaintances.
A friend of mine, in a rare show of candor, told me that she is lonely and wishes she could have a really good friend on whom she can rely. I instantly thought of another friend who has myriad of acquaintances and friends. A cell phone attached to her ear, she is always either calling someone or being called. She is successful in her quest in that she is hardly ever alone.
I have certainly fallen into spaces where I have felt unbearably lonely.
Several years ago, I absolutely keened for a close friend who moved away from the city and the emptiness I felt was unbearable. Looking to fill the gap, I renewed an old relationship with somebody with whom I had previously been friendly. I had discontinued the relationship because of what I felt were certain boundary infringements.
I encouraged the renewal of the relationship.
I felt fragile about some health problems, but those same boundary issues came up again. This time, seeing the problem more clearly, I was less reluctant to mention it and set certain guidelines to which he surrendered. We were happy, for a while.
The other personality trait that drove me crazy quickly emerged. I realized he could not change, because this trait was much more deeply ingrained than a mere behavioral change.
I saw that my desire to accept the relationship was not out of love, but out of fear of loneliness. Many times people are not aware that it is fear, not love that keeps them in a relationship. Once you understand that, you see those fragile poles you constructed to hold the relationship are simply not strong enough to hold a relationship built on negatives.
One of the things to watch out for is consequent feelings of guilt for being strong enough to end a relationship.
The other person might attempt to mete out guilt for your choice. Guilt as a weapon is often thrown at those who are strong enough to follow their heart in a situation in response to the other person’s powerlessness.
As a child, our parents threw a lot of guilt at us when we refused to act consistent with their wishes. This is what my teacher would call a “root,” something so deep within you that can be pulled on by anybody you let in, as soon as you are not fulfilling his or her expectations, but your own.
Sometimes I wonder if it is a character lack in me that cannot expand to include other’s idiosyncrasies.
I am proud that I am courageous enough to pass through my gauntlet of fear and loneliness and follow my judgment. I sometimes console myself with believing that it appears that what I am truly searching for is not another’s love (as I had first thought), but my own character that seems to grow larger as I make courageous choices.
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Editor: ShaMecha Simms