Relationships, the most complex to upkeep, challenging to restore, time-consuming to grow, and asking for so much patience to make them flourish.
We often emphasize that communication is the key to a strong and healthy relationship, but is it ever so easy to communicate truthfully, daily, constantly, to keep the other person on track with life events, or any other scenario you’d feel obliged to share?
Most of us describe themselves as ‘sociable’ and ‘outgoing’; in other words, easy to make conversation and fun to be with. We boast of having a voice and freedom of speech and we speak so much nonsense at times, but communication goes far beyond that.
Communicating is an ability – it is deep, somewhat personal, a stronger bond than just words on the surface to fill in a conversation. Communicating is intimate, it means sharing feelings, showing weaknesses, trusting the other people with knowledge about oneself.
You choose the people with whom to communicate. However, I notice how it became difficult to forge meaningful connections nowadays or maybe since always? Well, how easy it is for people to come and go, how difficult to maintain consistent contact and a caring approach. This is where loneliness comes in, or maybe not?
Loneliness can take many different forms, and we need to understand that it goes beyond elderly people. Contexts have changed, situations have twisted, and people have become more complex? more difficult to please? more high maintenance? more proud to admit loneliness or needing others?
- Loneliness can be that one piece of white granulated sugar slightly larger than the other pieces perfectly and equally sized – the odd one out; whatever the circumstance and wherever you are, you just feel not good enough and not part of the crowd. Suddenly you’re struck by that feeling of just wanting to have some special power so that you can, with a quick hand gesture, disappear in a puff of smoke.
- It can be the street night lamp dimly lit at the bottom of the street, flickering, trying to shine as bright as the rest, passing unnoticed and taken for granted by all pedestrians – lost in the crowd, invisible among the rest who seem more interesting, more appealing, and somewhat brighter (like the rest of the street lamps crowning the street). You try to speak out your mind, try to make your voice heard, try to mingle at a party; but your voice isn’t loud enough, and it cannot catch the attention of the rest, so you just shut up and stay quiet through all interaction.
- Sometimes it takes the form of a sheer curtain; light, thin, and barely making any difference other than blocking some sunlight and attempting at blurring out the inside of the house – loneliness that is barely seen; surrounding people cannot detect it but is still there, felt by the affected individual but so properly dealt with in public. Most probably these are the people who seem perfectly fine, but are so broken and so fragile inside, crying themselves to sleep in the night when no one is awake to listen.
- Actually, it can be disguised under perfection; why, someone seeming to live such a perfect life, with a happy face on social media, cannot be suffering from a disease such as loneliness? It must kill more people than cancer, with its hollow feeling that slowly swallows you whole. We’ve seen how rich and famous people, young or old, seeming to have it all in the eyes of their fans, just suddenly break and give us a saddened news we never expected. Then we realize how naive we were, most probably craving that life ourselves (where we are cheered by the largest crowds); we realize how still these people had something disturbingly lacking, making them so unhappy still. It’s loneliness; it’s being misunderstood.
- Loneliness can be the last drop of dew waiting to be chosen by the sun to dry up – waiting to be chosen by a friend or a lover, hoping not be rejected and feel lonely once again. How many times in childhood, during a sports activity, we are eagerly waiting to be chosen by one of the leaders of the two groups in a game of volleyball? And when we are left last over and over, we feel that pang in our stomach, and we start doubting our social life and skills.
- On the other hand, loneliness can be a blazing fire, burning strong and difficult to tame down. It brings about anger and bitterness, keeping people at bay by sneering at them, by avoiding them to protect yourself. It’s when you crave human contact, to be touched, to be talked to, to be listened, to be hugged and taken care of, but you feed lies to yourself about being perfectly fine on your own – no disappointments, no feelings to get hurt, no efforts – you have to do nothing for no one and no one has to do nothing for you; but you still crave that attention don’t you? you still crave to be responsible for someone, and for someone to be supportive and proud of you. Spending weekends on your own and saying it’s your choice and it’s fine is a big lie, isn’t it? You’d like to be part of that crowd, to be invited to that concert at the end of the week, to be contacted by family and relatives to spend a day with them at the beach, or to share the happiness of someone’s birthday, or to simply be asked out by, well, ANYONE.
I always try to observe the people around me; how they act and why? are they really okay today? why are they so quiet? they look sad; should I ask if they need something? Most tell me to just don’t bother, as people do not have time anymore to question about others well-being. Sometimes I just give up about humanity and decide to follow their advise. Just live my life and stop caring and worrying about other people, but oh Lord, if everyone does that and we really become so immune to each others’ pain – chaos will thrive!
I have been through loneliness, I have been trough some tough times, I have been through apathy where I pushed everyone away from me thinking I’m just fine and better off alone. I still do not think I was always fortunate to find the right people during my roughest moods, but I know how small gestures fill me up with warm hope and contentment.
Thus, please do open up, and do seek help, and do communicate about negative feelings you might be having.
If no one listens, I promise I will find time to listen to you!
xx Lea xx