The Power of Loneliness

Loneliness. Even though I’m more connected with more people than ever in my life, I very often feel completely alone in my own way.

I was reading in a book recently (Will the Real Me Please Stand Up? by Powell & Brady) about how telling you all of my significant feelings is the very essence of all communication and relationship, and how the consequence of not sharing myself is loneliness.

This really impacted me and triggered a breakthrough around the significance of my loneliness. The key was in the details. What specifically of myself am I not sharing with you?

In my vulnerability blogging practice, I’ve shared what I thought was the most challenging stuff. I had focused this effort on the heavy stuff like my grief and shame.

I felt like I’d hit the end of the line, and shifted my inquiry to “What am I still afraid of?” From this, I identified my fear of looking silly and made some progress by busting through a block I’d had for years around making videos.

But this new action soon lost momentum, which is always a strong signal that I hadn’t gotten to the root. I hadn’t gone deep enough. It wasn’t just about fear of looking silly, or at least I wasn’t getting to the core of it with that wording.

My loneliness is almost too familiar, like wallpaper. But when I directed my attention, it became a doorway because my loneliness is made of the significant feelings I am having that I’m not willing to share with you.

By ‘recoding’ my loneliness in this way, it suddenly became obvious. What I don’t share is my excitement and joy. Specifically, I get incredibly excited about visions and ideas.

I frequently feel almost overwhelmed by the sense of acceleration that accompanies profound illuminations of the mind relating to consciousness, healing and transformation, but I never really feel fully able to share these feelings.

So I asked myself what is at risk if I attempt to share my excitement and joy? Again, it was a very familiar sense that if I truly drop my protective seriousness and composure to share those moments of excitement and joy, I risk that other people won’t feel the same way.

Suddenly stories and bits of memories rush in to add credence to this way of being. A sense of having attempted and failed. Of witnessing my own miscommunication as it unfolds. Of giving up and retracting with “doesn’t matter … forget it.”

What I’m learning from this is how attached I am to being emotionally understood, to having people feel the same way I do. And by being attached, by feeling I need this but can’t have this, I have actually been pushing this away. I have closed off the possibility.

When I look at my little boys, I see the same level of excitement and joy that I can feel but cannot share. They role model it perfectly. Not a care in the world for how their excitement is received or not received, and thereby able to express it fully and freely.

Re-reading this piece before I post it, I find myself asking where and with whom do I most completely express my excitement? What does that look like and feel like? And what do they look like when they receive me in this way?

My loneliness contains captive the most precious thing I have yet to completely share. The most delicate spark of my humanity. And holding now those cherished moments when I have dared and have been received, my heart feels warm.