My solution to loneliness is…
“Loneliness does not come from having no people around, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.”
—Carl Gustav Jung
One of the most influential experiences of my life was the pervasive childhood sensation of not being listened to or having my experiences be valued (i.e. not being able to communicate what was important), and of consistently being dismissed or told I was wrong (i.e. holding inadmissible viewpoints).
My biggest, deepest, most driving pains are around loneliness and abandonment.
My parents didn’t abandon me per se, they simply consistently minimised or dismissed my experience or perspective, and my child mind internalised that, as Dr. Jung describes so lucidly, as loneliness.
I imagine that I’m not the only one with this experience.
This is why being listened to and understood is such a profound healing experience for me, and also why having my perspective be validated instead of dismissed is so meaningful.
It literally dissolves my loneliness.
Sometimes, my deep desire to be understood and validated shows up as argumentation, excessive forcefulness, or making unfair demands on friends or partners.
I imagine that I’m not the only one who does this, too.
If there’s one thing that you can do for someone that you love, listen to them.
Listen with your whole heart. Listen for the subtext, for the subtle and subterranean desire to be acknowledged and truly understood. And then, validate them. Let them know that their experience is legitimate just because it’s theirs.
You don’t have to see it their way, and validating their experience in no way invalidates your own, so you don’t have to worry about “losing“ just because you fully validated them. It’s not a zero sum game.
The solution to loneliness is not having more friends or going to more social events or finding “the one”.
The solution to loneliness is opening up a space between you and someone else where both of you can be heard and seen, and in a way, made more “real” – and certainly less lonely – by the experience of having someone witness you being you.
The solution to loneliness… is love.
What’s your solution to loneliness?