We all have felt loneliness. But even though everyone can relate to lonely experiences, it doesn’t make that terrible feeling any easier.
Sitting across from the man I did not yet know would promise me his forever, I was scared. What parts of me could I share, and what parts should I lock safely away? I knew there were details of my life that might change his mind and ruin the possibility of an “us.” It always had before. So, like releasing a climbing rope, I let myself go a little at a time so that the sacred space we were in would remain comfortable and safe. With each release, this man gave me a soft look of understanding — longing even. So I kept going and he drank in every word without walking away. I didn’t feel an ounce of loneliness during one of our first interactions. He stayed, and it felt wonderful.
We are often introduced early to the feeling of loneliness. Many people assume this feeling is linked to people who are physically alone or lack an abundance of friends, but that’s not always the case. Loneliness can be just as prevalent in people surrounded by a group of loved ones if they are unable to show up as their whole selves. Maybe a teacher rejected us because we weren’t like the rest of the students or maybe someone we relied on left us. There are countless other examples of one’s first taste of loneliness, and many more bitter experiences to follow.
But despite loneliness, companionship is important. Even if we have friends who leave us.
I’ve left people too.
Throughout my life, when I would step out of my cookie cutter self and show vulnerability or a side of me that didn’t match others’ predisposed ideas of who I needed to be, I would experience a shift, and I would quickly reel back in my rope.
But why do we do that? I think we are too afraid of getting our mess on other people or stepping in their mess with them. We haven’t been taught how to navigate alongside organic people, and this is why loneliness is so prevalent today.
We are born with a desire engraved into our hearts to be seen, heard, and known fully, but we don’t necessarily know how to do this. The quirky, misunderstood parts of us that we often lock away are begging to be released and to breath in freedom, but they need a safe place to go.
I dream of a world where we are taught how to look into one another’s eyes while we share our broken parts or our deepest fears and, instead of running, we color outside the lines with each other for awhile. How could loneliness exist when we all agree to see each other’s barest bones and promise to stay?
We will probably never experience a life without loneliness until we get to heaven, but I truly believe we can all make an effort to take a step in the right direction. I want Downs Ups & Teacups to be a place where everyone feels celebrated for who they are and to walk together in a place of authentic belonging.
Will you join me?
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