All The Lonely People
by Jake Block
“Ah, look at all the lonely people…”Elenore Rigby” — The Beatles
The world is a crowded place, with billions of souls inhabiting every nook and cranny. There are over 300 million people in America alone. Isn’t it surprising that in this ever-growing mass of humanity there are so many lonely people?
While raised to believe that we will find that “certain someone” to love and share the rest of our lives, we are never told that as fulfilling as this might be on one level, there are other levels within our multidimensionality as people that will also need to be fulfilled. Our mates might satisfy us sexually, but they might be deficient in other areas that need to be satisfied as well. We might need intellectual stimulation, or a physically challenging relationship that transcends the normally accepted boundaries of marriage and companionship.
Quite often these needs are filled by friends and associates we spend our time with in addition to the time that we spend with our mates. These people become a part of the fabric of our lives, and enrich us through their participation in our lives. But there are times when even this is not enough and, while intellectually we know that the “perfect” mate probably doesn’t exist, we pine for the individual who will be all things rolled into one. He or she would be our lover and friend, our mentor and student, our helpmate and child. They would mirror the multiplicity of our own personality and compliment our existence with their own.
If you’ve ever felt that way, take heart. You are not alone. Even the most successful and gregarious of people are lonely at times. There are times when we all lie in the darkness and wonder why we feel isolated and alone, despite good families and close friends. We all get the feeling that somehow, there must be more to life and relationships than the day-to-day sameness of it all.
“Okay,” you say. “What’s the answer? Where do we go from here?”
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know. If I did, I’d be the wealthiest man on earth. Truth be known, I’m just as lonely as the next guy. I may cope with it better or hide my loneliness with a little more success, but there are times when I am lonely, even in a crowd. I think the difference is that I’ve found that it’s all right to be lonely. In fact, I think that it might even be necessary for people to be lonely from time to time.
People need to search for that elusive something that is missing from their lives. It’s a quest for knowledge and understanding that I believe is inborn and part of the grandeur of the human spirit. Our search for the “perfect” mate, the “perfect” job, the “perfect” house, and all of the other quests on which we find ourselves are, in actuality, holy quests for “the grail.” We are searching for the “godliness” of our existence, not in the religious sense, but in an effort to define our lives in terms of self-realization.
We meet others in the execution of our quest that bolster our resolve and give us the strength to go on, yet in the final analysis, life is a quest that is ultimately traveled alone. We are born alone and we die alone, and in between these ultimate mysteries is a sharing of consciousness that leads us inexorably to the goal of self-realization.
I am of the belief that each of us “finds ourselves” at sometime during our lives, unless we are taken by some quirk of fate or circumstance before we reach that realization. The discovery may not always be to our liking, but we are what we are, despite what we ultimately might wish to be. We all wish to be “perfect” or “perfected” in some way, and therefore, long for a person that will be our “perfect” compliment. What we are actually seeking is our ultimate self in the narcissistic guise of another. While in theory it would probably be wonderful to find someone who is like of mind and spirit, equal to our expectations in every way, in actuality, it would quite probably be the ultimate in boredom.
We are multidimensional in our own right, requiring stimulation on several important levels in order to grow. It is not logical to expect that any one individual could possibly be all things to us, any more than we could ever expect to be all things to all people. Nature has constructed a world in which we need to socially interact with a wide variety of people, to mix and meld, becoming an ever changing species. It is necessary for our survival.
Human beings need to be stimulated. We require mental stimulation to grow as thinking individuals, emotional stimulation to grow as nurturing individuals, erotic stimulation to grow as sexual individuals, and aesthetic stimulation to grow as creative individuals. In this list of needs is shown the reason that we are seldom, if ever, totally satisfied by that “special someone.”
My personal method of coping with the loneliness of life is to live each day as if there are no tomorrows. This is not to say that I’ll squander my resources, living a hand-to-mouth existence, but I try not to become obsessed with my personal needs as they relate to interactions with others. Instead of thinking how another person’s life might augment my own, I try to think of how our mutual association might enrich our lives. I ask nothing, and try to accept genuine friendships graciously, returning mine as genuinely as I am able.
Looking into the lives of others, I try to find things about them that are similar to traits I possess, but I also seek out those who lead “interesting but different” lifestyles. Eccentricity, to my way of thinking, is a virtue. Mostly, I like to associate with people that like themselves. It doesn’t matter to them whether the world approves of them or their lifestyle. They only ask to be left alone to enjoy life on their own terms
If you spend your entire existence mired down in woeful despair, sitting on the sidelines of life, you’ve only yourself to blame for being lonely. But if you open yourself up to new people, new opportunities and new ideas, the loneliness factor becomes less and less in your life. Interesting people attract interesting people. It’s hard to be lonely when you are with interesting people.
Here’s a little exercise. When you are alone in the house, stand in front of a mirror and meet yourself for the first time. Take a look at yourself as others see you. Improve what you see if you are not pleased. Straighten your posture, smile and keep good eye contact. Now, sell yourself to the image in the mirror. It’s okay. You’re alone. Nobody will think you’ve gone bonkers.
Tell the image something about yourself: who you are, what you do, things that you are proud to have accomplished. Be proud of yourself. Remember that you are the sum and total of all that you have been and what you hope to be. You’re a unique individual and one that people would like to get to know.
Okay, exercise completed. That wasn’t so bad now, was it? If you can stand up to your own worst critic and lay it on the line, you don’t have much to fear from people who are interested in meeting you. You might just find that they have the same fears and worries as you and that they are just as lonely, looking for someone like you to fill a gap in their lives. Maybe you can share your unique talents and interests as new friends.
Loneliness is a condition that can be mitigated in your favor, but as in everything that has value, you have to put in the leg work and get it done yourself.