I’ve been working on this piece for over two days now. I wondered if I “overthunk” it and so I kept tabling it but that defeats the purpose of raw writing from the heart. So here it goes…
I love being alone. There. I said it. I used to define myself as an extrovert with strong introvert tendencies; but that has changed quite a bit in recent years. I am even more introverted than ever. Although I can trace the origin of my semi reclusiveness; I now prefer it. I’ve fully embraced it. But loneliness? Now that is something different.
I have definitely experienced loneliness before and it was a horrible feeling. For me it was more than just a pity party or “woe is me” moment. It was a foreboding heaviness that occurred during what I thought was an exclusive relationship. I would make efforts to communicate and rebuild after enduring a breach but to no avail. Though sporadic and temporary and experienced after being rejected, the loneliness would honestly cause my broken heart to sink. I went about my daily routine and continued pouring out to others (which I love to do); but wasn’t receiving the support and emotional intimacy I really needed. More than that; from who I expected to receive it from.
I really believe expectations can play a huge role in loneliness. We cannot be disappointed if there are no set expectations but every relationship and interaction has parameters, boundaries and expectations; unspoken or not. And it’s unrealistic to place demands on others unbeknownst to them.
I often use the example of someone who said they’d give you a ride to an appointment. If they say they’ll pick you up at 5pm and get there at 5:30pm you may be upset, worried or even angry. However if they said they’d arrive between 5pm and 5:30pm and pick you up at 5:30pm; they have met your expectations, thus keeping your anxiety, worry and anger at bay.
In the aforementioned example; setting expectations made all the difference. Now this does not excuse the other party from keeping their word but it does help us focus on where the responsibility lies. As it relates to relationships and experiencing loneliness in general, I think it’ll be helpful to honestly assess the following:
- When and why do you feel lonely?
- Are you lonely or just bored?
- Do you find it difficult meeting people with the same interests? And if so, why?
- Are you lonely due to fear or social awkwardness?
- If so, what are you doing to work through your shyness or social awkwardness?
- If experiencing loneliness in your relationships, have you communicated that to the other parties?
- What kind of relationship do you find most challenging? Personal? Professional? For example seeing platonic relationships through the lens of romance, inadvertently ascribes a role to the other party that they may not be interested in.
- Are we depending on others for our wholeness and happiness?
I want you to know you are not alone. I say it often because it means that much to me!! As a woman of faith it’s not unusual for people to throw Bible Verses across the room. I’ve hurled them a time or two across the room too so I get it. Guilty as charged. I KNOW God is with me. He said He would never leave me nor forsake me BUT God also created us to need and long for human interactions as well!
Life is not easy and there are some things you can’t tell ANYONE! You can have an incredible support network (like I did and still do) and STILL have moments of loneliness! I thank God that that season is behind me and in all fairness it was mild compared to what others endure, but it has only increased my burden and compassion for others dealing with like matters.
Here are a few resources!
For Seniors: The Friendship Line is offered by the Institute on Aging. The Friendship Line Hotline/Warmline number is 800-971-0016.
If you or a loved one are suicidal, is in crisis or having a hard time coping at this very moment; PLEASE know that you matter and are not alone! If you need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to reach out to the resources below!
The National Suicide Hotline
800-273-TALK (Veterans Press 1)
TEEN SUICIDE CRISIS HOTLINE- 800-852-8336 (Trained Teen Counselors)
The Trevor Project (LGBT Community) 866-488-7386
Trans Lifeline (Transgendered Community) 877-565-8860
Crisis Text: Text HOTLINE to 741741 ***If outside the U.S visit http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html for assistance
IG | @authenticiteespeaks
LIKE ON FACEBOOK! @authenticiteespeaks AND @InspirationWithE
Twitter | @authenticitee & @EAInspiration
Remember YOU MATTER!
© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content
Photo Credits: Pixabay. No copyright infringement intended.