Thoughts About Loneliness

Many of the people I see and talk to indicate that one of the feelings they struggle with is a constant or nagging state of loneliness.  What does that really mean, I usually ask them.  The answers I receive are very personal, varied, and individual.  There are some common threads though that tie these answers together.  Perhaps the state of being human IS to be lonely on some level.  I suspect we are all hungry for someone who really gets us, really understands us...without us having to explain or reveal ourselves too much.  Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing if such a person really existed? 

The yearning for such a friend/companion is not really all that surprising.  One of the things we learn as child-centered play therapists is that all young children sincerely wish to be seen and heard and understood.  Since we carry our wounds from childhood forward, is it all that surprising that as adults we would still be longing and yearning for the same thing?  Someone to be a mirror for us, to show us our true share in our triumphs and accomplishments as well as our losses and sorrows.

Sometimes we can be lonely in a crowd, a group of friends, a marriage or other type of committed relationship.  Sometimes it is not enough to "have" someone, especially if we feel like that person just doesn't understand us.  There have been some relationships in my life where I felt more lonely to be in the relationship than out of it and "by myself".  Why is that, I ask myself?

Well, loneliness is a mystery.  Maybe it belongs to the realm of the unconscious, the unknown.  Perhaps it symbolizes a longing for the Divine.  Perhaps it is even how we know that we are alive!  I say that because even in my best relationships, the human ones that seem to fill my soul up to the brim, there is often that subtle (or sometimes not) psychic residue of loneliness still hanging around.  Sometimes it is just a vestige, the tiniest glint of "something" that escapes and eludes me.  

I just can't quite put my finger on it.  I suppose it functions to keep me on the path, ever trudging forward, seeking more closeness, more intimacy, with my beloved.  And then, just as unexpectedly, it vanishes.  It turns a corner and can't be seen.  

I think it's gone for good.  I relax, I stop trying so hard to stay conscious.  Maybe I even stop praying so much and sink into my own norm, the mundane of everyday living, and bam!  There it is again.  It came calling for me again just that fast!!!!  LONELINESS.  Just that little bit of something, that little bit of nothing.