I’ll be honest. Loneliness has occasionally flirted with me. It was never a serious courtship until one afternoon in late-March of 2020; that’s when we became intimate. Stuck on a glorious mountain top in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Steve and I thought we’d ride out the couple of weeks the COVID lock down might last (ha!). But into week three, I cried uncle. Actually, I just cried.
Away from my children, close friends and community, I felt untethered. While Steve Miller was as happy as a clam clearing our property and running his chain saw from sun up to sun down, I sensed something gray descending over me. By the end of week three, I sweetly (sort of, maybe) conveyed that I was going home; I think my exact words were, “I’m going back to Dallas. Are you coming?” I was lucky. I was not too far gone to take action. Others are.
What I have learned that I would like to share with you fabulous recruits (see last week’s post) is that loneliness, if it is not nipped in the bud at a very early stage, is soul crushing:
“When we already feel lonely . . . there’s a natural tendency to withdraw . . . So we hide our true feelings even from those who may try to connect with us. Shame and fear thus conspire to turn loneliness into a self-perpetuating condition, triggering self-doubt, which in turn lowers self-esteem and discourages us from reaching out for help. Over time, this vicious cycle may convince us we don’t matter to anyone and we’re unworthy of love, driving us ever inward and away from the very relationships we need most.” Together, Vivek H. Murthy, MD
As you and I work to eradicate loneliness, it’s important we understand that this is not a suitor people choose—it chooses us.
For those who can’t take action quick enough to save themselves they need people like us to extend them a hand. Literally. Call someone you know to just say hello. Or, smile and welcome a stranger to your gathering. Or, better—do both.
Because no one in OUR world should EVER feel unworthy of love.