The most painful and prevalent feeling that my psychotherapy clients feel is loneliness. Ironically, part of this loneliness is believing that you are the only person to feel this way. One of my clients, in the midst of despair, posted this on Facebook. I believe it captures the feeling better than anything I’ve heard or read. Of course, when he posted this he received an outpouring of love.
If you are lonely, and you can relate to this, reach out. Post a comment here, or anywhere. And if you know someone who is alone, reach out to them, now. And pass this on to them.
In the past few months life had given me a couple painful kicks in the ass. I thought I had come away from those experiences smarter and more self-aware and had been acting in a more positive way but apparently not because the kicks keep on coming.
I’ve spent most of my life hiding. Not letting anyone see who I really was was and what I was really feeling. Not even my closest friends or family members. I’ve spent a lifetime containing my emotions. The thing is I often hear from people that I come off as cold or angry and so people keep their distance. Ironically this means all my protective defenses are backfiring because I end up feeling hurt anyway. I often wonder how many potential friendships or serious relationships never came to be because I wasn’t being myself. Sadly, I suspect a lot.
The thing is I don’t how to stop this destructive cycle. I’m scared that I never will.
The truth is, that most if the time I feel terribly, painfully lonely. My heart is breaking. And I’m afraid that’s what’s going to kill me. Not some horrible disease or freak accident… I’m scared that I’m going to die never having loved. Sounds melodramatic, I know, but that’s how I truly feel.
I’m really surprised how intense this sadness can sometimes feel. It’s worrying.
Thanks for listening . . .
Here is what I wrote back . . .
There’s a difference — I think — between sadness and depression. Robert Bly would call it grief-work. Have you read Iron John? He says that grief-work is what men (and I would say people) need to do to have a fully felt, and lived, life. Why? We spend our whole lives avoiding this pain, and where does it get us? Right back to the pain. If you allow yourself to feel it, there is something wondrous on the other side: energy, freedom, life. Once you realize and feel the depth of your pain, there is nothing to be afraid of anymore. You realize we are all one and the universe is made of love. You have much to grieve: you have wasted a lot of time avoiding love. You have much to live: you can choose love with pain over avoidance with pain the instant you decide to. Feel the sadness. Once you touch the bottom of it, you will explode into life. Keep in close contact . . .