No human life outruns the sentence: I feel alone.
But guess what? You shouldn’t outrun it. You should give it a big ol’ hug. It’s the greatest hug one can possibly experience.
Everyone is alone. Always! Even in togetherness, we are fundamentally alone. No proximity, physical or psychological, will ever bridge the gap. No person ever truly fulfilled by another. Surely, there are moments we feel fantastic connection with company – some magical intimacy with a person or group. But these experiences can only ever be ephemeral. And there we return, yet again… the default place we truly always inhabit – being with ourselves.
You will never understand every aspect of another person’s existence. Equally, you will never be fully understood! Accepting this can radically transform social expectations, and shift aloneness into feeling at home. Finally understanding this is a condition of every single human life – can liberate you to truly know, love, and welcome yourself, and have compassion for every other human who is trying to do the same.
Accepting fundamental aloneness can free you from that deep human urge to be seen. The urge to be fully noticed, and understood, and comforted, by some mythical “other” presence – be it a partner, or friend, or social group, who perfectly recognizes your full beauty and mystery and potential, and makes you feel what you’ve been wanting to feel your entire life.
How wonderful, to discover this mythical other is actually… you!
“The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror. And each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say sit here, eat. You will love again the stranger who was yourself. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes. Peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.”
– Derek Walcott
“Don’t go outside your house to see the flowers. My friend, don’t bother with that excursion. Inside your body there are flowers. One flower has a thousand petals. That will do for a place to sit. Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty inside the body and out of it, before gardens and after gardens.”
“Togetherness between two people is an impossibility, and where it seems, nevertheless, to exist, it is a narrowing, a reciprocal agreement which robs either one party or both of his fullest freedom and development. But, once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up.”
Discover Yourself. Share With the World.
Finding yourself requires a commitment to look inside. To spend time with yourself, to live through any discomfort and anxiety, to pull a thread of inquiry that goes and goes, until you finally emerge as someone who feels truly OK, in the deepest possible sense of that word.
Once you get that far, every moment with every person will be a gift, or at least you’ll be hard pressed to not see it that way. Not because you NEED others in your life, but because human relationships really are beautiful.