Do you feel lonely because you do not have family around you? Do you feel as if the earth is throwing a party and you are the only one that was not invited? Do you feel that you have not arrived until you have a family to validate your purpose in life? If so, you have made family a priority because you have a terrible fear of being alone. Family means everything to you, and you will do anything to keep it together. You will, if needed, compromise and sacrifice yourself and your happiness in order to have or hold onto your family.
This fear is fueled and perpetuated by those that place significant emphasis on their family, especially during the holiday season and to the importance which they have been conditioned to place on family at that time. You have been programmed to think that you are not complete unless you have a family or someone close to you in your life.
Am I degrading the nuclear family or personal relationships? Of course not! Remember, what is important is that you have a relationship with yourself first. And what may be interfering with your having a relationship with yourself is the fear to feel the pain of loneliness.
Let's put loneliness and being alone in its proper perspective. If you have a need for a family then the relationship you have with your family is based on fear and not love. Which means you cannot take or leave your family, because you have your identity in them. Loneliness is the offspring of fear in this relationship.
If you want to be with your family, which means you can take them or leave them, then your wanting to be alone is the offspring of love in this relationship. You have your own identity and you do not need a family to be happy or to validate you. Before you ask, "why would I want to leave my family?" Allow me to explain what I mean by this.
As you know, everything changes and evolves, and also those that make up families change and evolve. Family members such as children will eventually go on with their lives or possibly even proceed you in death. No matter how much you try to hold onto them, the inevitable fact is that they will pass on, as we all will. If your happiness and identity is dependent on the family, what happens when the family is no longer there or becomes separated? You become devastated and lonely.
Do you see why a lot of cultures have been destroyed once they were separated as a tribe? Their relationship with their tribe was not based on want but need, which fathered a dependency on the tribe for their well being and existence. The destruction of the tribe resulted because each one had unresolved issues regarding loneliness and the pain associated with it. And being in a group buffered the feeling of loneliness and pain.
But sooner or later they, like anyone else, had to deal with their pain. They created situations in order to become liberated and free in identity rather than having to identify with a group. The tribes were destroyed because after the tribe separated they lost their identity and began to see themselves as victims rather than individuals.
I think that loneliness is the worst pain that anyone can feel. The reason is because loneliness is a hollow pain which only truth can fill. There is a key distinction between being alone and feeling lonely. Being alone is when you voluntarily spend time alone in order to heal your heart by entering deeper into it and discovering more about yourself. The time you spend alone is productive because you are aware that you created the moment to heal and, as a result, you are not coming from a place of fear but love.
However, loneliness is when you are feeling completely alone and empty because there is no one to fill that hollow feeling that either your family or someone else filled. The hollow feeling is a result of your fear of being alone. You are afraid to go within your heart and allow truth to fill that void. You are unaware that you created the moment to heal, so instead you think of yourself as a victim does. Before truth can fill the void you must first feel the pain of loneliness and then embrace it.
If you are going to heal the loneliness and the pain that is deep within the heart, then you must find time to be alone. Presently, you may be having a difficult time with your children, spouse, etc., and feel as if you need to escape or get away. Your need to escape is your way of creating a situation to heal that part of your heart that has been deeply wounded by the pain of loneliness. So, rather than resist or delay the healing, either find time to be alone and begin to feel the loneliness and the pain or tell your family that you want to have time alone because there is something in your life that you want to heal.
Once you are alone, do not occupy yourself with television or some other type of entertainment -- this will only distract you from feeling the pain of loneliness. When the pain surfaces, begin to appreciate it and then embrace it. Search your heart and find the time in your life where you really felt the fear of loneliness and then replay that scene. See the scenario of the situation but change the reality by saying, "I have no need for anyone or anything. I am alone at this moment because I want to be alone not because I need to be alone. From this moment on, my time alone will be productive because I choose it to be. When I want to be around people I will be around them and when I don't want to, I will not be around them but be with myself."
You will not only begin to feel the fear leave you but also the pain. You have begun to heal the heart and remember, if you are beginning to cry deeply that is because the heart is releasing the sadness it has been holding onto for a very long time. As a result of this exercise you will not only have a freer and closer relationship with your family but also you will subtly find yourself no longer needing but wanting to be with them.
This article is excerpted from:
I Am That I Am
by Richard C. Michael, Ph.D.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, New Earth Press. Copyrighted.
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I Am Whole Now That I Have Cancer: Reflections on Life and Healing for Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them by John Robert McFarland.
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About the Author
Dr. Richard C. Michael has a Ph.D. in nutritional science and has been practicing holistic medicine for over sixteen years. He is also a writer, author, teacher, lecturer, poet, and professional speaker. He is founder and director of Professional Holistic Healthcare in Central Florida. He is the creator of The Barrier Breakthru Technique. For more information, visit his website http://www.barrierbreakthru.com or call 407-671-8553.