Dat Fifty Five
In week two we explored how we moved through the world as a friend, and I discussed how I felt like a bag of neuroses who was unworthy of friendship. This made me prone to isolation. I preferred superficial friendships with people who didn’t truly know me, and it created a challenge in the genuine friendships I had where I had to suffer the agony of being known and loved. I needed to feel worthy of being cared about.
I had felt lonely my whole life, even when surrounded by people. There have been moments where I was lonely due to my rejection of people’s love and care, but on the other side of the coin sobriety can be a genuinely lonely experience. Our friends who may not understand us, or who are too triggering to be around, may disappear for a while. This can cause loneliness to become a trigger in its own right. What is useful for me is to draw a line between loneliness and alone. When I am lonely I can reach out to people I don’t reach out to often, people who make me feel seen, or connect with family. Or, one of the most beautiful of all, I can connect with myself. Everything is cyclical and we will not be alone forever – even if our circle can get smaller periodically. If friends drift from me it can give me space to work on who I want to be in a friendship, that I can offer when they circle back around or to new people who inevitably come into my life.
My first reaction to FOMO is “Well, I never wanted to go anyway.” When I perceive abandonment I tend to declare myself a sovereign nation who doesn’t need anyone. This can cause me to lash out at genuine care – with mistrust or pessimism. I had a therapist who told me once that optimism isn’t weakness, and it certainly isn’t protecting me when I reject every hand of human contact – and he got me to consider what would happen if I trusted, after consideration, the good things people were reaching out to me with.
How do you deal with loneliness, whether it is loneliness we engineered or an unavoidable position where we are alone?
Three tiny things:
- If someone compliments you this week try not to bat it away, accept it.
- Make plans to meet with someone, whether from a distance or in person.
- Celebrate something about yourself today. I have started to celebrate my goofy qualities more, and every time I pass my bathroom mirror I do a wee dance into it. It’s a really fun way to trick myself into smiling.