To Feel Lonely
Loneliness is a tough and strange emotion. It forbids you to reach out, it pressures you to lie to those around you with things like ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I’m just tired’ when you are weeping inside. It leaves you restless, weary, sad and alone, and when you dare to tell someone that you are hurt or feel left out, they often don’t get it…. And they don’t get how they might restore your spirit or trust in friendship… Why are we so busy we don’t take time to be a GOOD friend?
Unfortunately, couples in a seeming peaceful marriage are also incredibly lonely. Every day we have one or the other or both in the partnership tell the other, “I just want you to talk to me. I just want to know what you’re feeling.” A husband in our counseling room once told his wife that trusting her with vulnerability sucked because she was so opinionated about most everything he said. We thought that one of the most important pieces of information we’d ever heard because probably a majority of us listen to speak instead of listening to hear and understand. Who of you assumes that because someone is speaking to you about personal, even deeply personal, things that they need or want your advice? We’re not above that, and we’re guessing you aren’t either.
You can help turn away loneliness more often by simply validating, commiserating, or supporting another person (maybe especially your significant other) than you can by cueing up whatever ‘gold mine’ you think you’re able to deliver.
How Can You Be Different?
Reach out. Take the time. Be different. Listen to hear. Be a friend. Be your spouse’s friend, your children’s friend, your friend’s friend by finding them where they are, not where you expect them to want to be. Yep, it is often inconvenient… It takes that time away from something else. We get it. But maybe your friend feels left out, forgotten, unworthy of time and attention, even though that is not how you might view them. How can you be different?
We’re guilty, too, of failing in this way. We have just been very aware of this lately. Be the change. Be different. We’re professional counselors, and we’re human. We get to be human with you. Tell us you are lonely. Tell someone you are lonely. We are better together.