Before I was in a stable* relationship with James, I was scatterbrained. Or rather, scatteremotioned. I was lonely. I didn’t have someone in my everyday life who I loved, trusted, and respected, with whom I could plan a future and share a two-way emotional investment; someone who was my lover and best friend. It was hard to get further than that. It was a missing piece that wouldn’t let me move on with the puzzle.
I think the saying, “You can’t love others until you love yourself” (or the variations on that) is bullshit. It was the other way around for me. Once, I tried describing it to James, before we were dating, by saying that sometimes I felt like a electricity cable, torn away from the power lines; the cable is damaged and raw wires are shooting sparks of electricity randomly, in every direction. Ungrounded and messy.
Yes, I had dated people before, and I have had some close friendships, but there was always something missing. The best way I can explain the missing piece is: someone who thinks in the same way as me. With other people I’ve loved, I haven’t felt like we’re on the same wavelength. I might love them very much, and wish that I could be in a longterm relationship with them, but I’ve felt like I needed this missing thing. With James, for the first time, I feel like we think in the same way. Not that we always agree! We do have disagreements, clashing views, and problems with each other and our relationship. But I finally feel like I have found mutual and fulfilling love with someone who’s on the same wavelength.
When I was finally safe and secure in this relationship, and my loneliness was vanquished, my scatteremotioned energy was gradually focused elsewhere. I could concentrate much better, be disciplined with my tasks, and read and write for long periods of time. And… think about and plan my future? Write a book in a month? Run a series of events? Slowly share my thoughts with the world? Take an online course? Yes. I can do these things, and I feel supported along the way.
I completely understand if anyone else, too, has this experience: that they don’t feel right when they are single and lonely; that they don’t feel like they love themselves; that they feel like this missing piece is a really big deal.
I think loneliness is an awful, massive, pervasive, oppressive emotion and condition.
”What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
– Kurt Vonnegut
I love that quote. I feel pretty strongly about loneliness. It’s something I would like to reduce in the world.
I have a list of Quiet Human Needs that contains other issues I’d like to help with, as well. But I don’t know how to go about it.
Quiet Human Needs
- To learn something new
- To work on something meaningful
- To belong to something, help something grow, bond with people, but it has meaning
- To be acknowledged
- To know what I have to offer
- To not feel lost or lonely
- Find new opportunities in life
- Be more articulate / better at self-expression / better at speaking
- Career help; I don’t know how to get a raise or be promoted or find work that I like
- Stimulation / to shake up my life
- Stimulating / interesting conversation
- Meet smart / interesting / creative people
- New friends
- To feel myself
- Less anxiety or stress
- Fight right / be better at confrontation and assertiveness
- Better relationships
- Healthy self-esteem / confidence
- Find my way / start over
- Be smart with money
- Get some advice
*But that’s another story.