July 4, 2012

Courage to Walk Away From Loneliness.

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.

Luckily for her, she is appealing enough so that she is able to attract the many friends she needs in her life to dispel feelings of loneliness.

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.

Like elephant Love on Facebook!

Editor: ShaMecha Simms

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

uma simon Jul 6, 2012 10:56am

spelled right wrong. Eek!

Jennifer Page Jul 6, 2012 3:56am

I've just written a book about my journey out of loneliness and have just finished a TV programme as well (I was already a TV producer and the boss saw the book and said why didn't I do something on it?) Anyway, one of my interviewees, a therapist, said a similar thing to you – that many people get in relationships because they're afraid of being alone. They're afraid of being alone because they don't really like themselves very much. So they jump into a relationship, but then that doesn't make them happy and so they leave and then don't like being alone so they jump into the next one and so on.
It was like a light bulb moment for me – I suddenly realised that my life had been a series of relationships like that. I thought I liked the men I got involved with at the time, but looking back I realise it was fear of aloneness.
Trouble is, as my interviewee pointed out, popular culture pushes us to be like that: women's magazines, for exmple, are full of stories about how to find a man, how to have a relationship and then how to end it when it goes wrong. And then how to find a new man… and so on. Not how to like yourself and be contented on your own!

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Uma Simon

Uma Simon has been Ma’s devotee since 1978 and it was an extraordinary gift to have known and studied with her. Her guru Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati left her body two years ago. As well as being the Resident Intuitive at Kashi Ashram, Uma is also the Spiritual Explorer for Ma’s India, a spiritual gift store in Sebastian, Florida where she answers questions such as “What is the best kind of incense?” and “How do I know when I have found my guru?” You can write Uma or contact her via her website or on Facebook.