Tuesday

Overcoming Loneliness, Separation and Misunderstanding


Photo By: AaronMSB

Overcoming Loneliness, Separation and Misunderstanding
by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna

How to get from I to we? How to dissolve the invisible wall of loneliness, separation and misunderstanding most of us surround ourselves with and become available to the relationships we crave so much?

To begin, we must understand what it is that drives us within and will cause trouble and symptoms of all kinds, if it is not listened to and and fulfilled. There are 3 fundamental needs that all human beings have and that they will do anything to fulfill. The first need is for love, the second need is for more love and the third need is for even more love than that. We are all born with very hungry hearts. When we listen to our endless wishes, dreams, plans, symptoms, and complaints, if we open our heart to what is underneath them, we can easily realized that all of our assorted cravings boil down to one need only - the need to be known and accepted for who we are. The need to be acknowledged – all a form of the need for love. Is this an impossible dream? No. There are specific steps we can take to make this a reality in our lives and the lives of others. (This particular journey can’t be taken alone. As you perceive others, you will also perceive yourself-as you treat others, the same treatment will be returned to you).

In order to embark upon these new steps in our lives, first we must develop three aspects of our being that may be dormant in us right now. These three aspects area Awareness, Authenticity, and Courage. Living from these qualities will bring a new sense of spirit into our lives. Einstein said you can't get out of a problem by using the same thinking that got you into it. In the same way, we can’t get out of a rut, or an emotional habit pattern, by using the same kind of behavior we had in the past. Awareness, helps us wake up to how and who we are right now. Instead of blocking out, rationalizing, or hiding from what we are doing, Awareness practice, helps us open our eyes. We take a look, we listen. This can also be called assuming responsibility, or growing up.

Awareness is simple, but not easy. It asks us to become aware of what we are doing, moment by moment, taking note of what we are feeling, sensing and thinking. It does not ask us to judge or change ourselves, but simply to become aware. The moment judgment, criticism and upset come in, oddly enough awareness is blocked. Just awareness itself is a great, powerful teacher, like turning the light on in a dark room. By becoming aware of something, over and over, that thing, by itself, begins to change. Awareness is a way of making friends with ourselves. This is crucial for us to do and something most of us have avoided our whole life long.

The first step in getting from I to We, in forming long lasting, satisfying relationships, is developing intimacy with who we are right now - making our own acquaintance. As we embark upon the exquisite journey of discovering and accepting ourselves, our ability to do this with another develops. Without knowing and accepting who we are, and how we change, moment by moment, how can we ever know or truly accept someone else?

Authenticity - Taking The Mask Off

In order to dissolve the invisible wall of loneliness that surrounds us, and keeps us separate even from those we care for the most, there are three vital steps we must learn how to practice. The first step we dealt with in the last issue was Awareness. The second step, which we will look at this time, is Authenticity. Authenticity can also be thought of as sincerity, simplicity, or just "being who you are".

When we have relationship problems, or are feeling lonely,we try to spice things up by presenting a wonderful image of ourselves, making promises, trying to be better, or give more. It's always a question of do - do - do. We feel we must work hard to earn love and keep the relationship flowing. But before we arrive at true action that builds real connection, there is a crucial step that must be taken. We must first be real ourselves, be authentic - true to ourselves and to the other. We must, one way or another, take off the masks that hide our true face.Actually, it is the mask itself that keeps us separate and lonely hiding behind a false self.

A wonderful quote about this was written by the great teacher Lao Tse. He said, "Give up, sirs, your proud airs, your wishes, mannerisms and extravagant claims. They don't do you any good, sir! That's all I have to tell you."

There is no deeper gift you can give another than who you truly are. In fact, this wonderful present helps the other to be who they are as well. When we stop struggling and pushing to be loved, wanted and approved of, and start the process of being who we are, of knowing and accepting ourselves moment by moment, we start the amazing process of building true bridges between ourselves and all of life.

Our entire life consists of building bridges. Each person we meet is another bridge, another link, a new way to deep the love and understanding we can become capable of. Yet, so few of us know how to do this. In a sense we are all like longing for the light while we keep our petals closed. There is plenty of sun and light available, but if we are closed we cannot let it in. If we are hidden behind false masks, fronts, games and images, we cannot reach out to touch or be touched.

In order to become authentic we must look closely at the roles we play,the identities we cherish so much. These roles, dreams and images are often exactly that which keep us secure in our loneliness. Roles can be hypnotic. We can fall in love with a role or fantasy of who we are or who the other is. This never lasts long though, and it can come as
quite a shock to us when the person drops this role and we are face to with someone different - or face to face with ourselves.

Exercise: Take a few minutes and look at this carefully. Look for a moment at what being "authentic" means to you. Write it down. Write down when you allow yourself to do it, and how you feel then. Also, take some time to look at the roles you use to hide in. See if, little by little, you can let them go, and allow yourself to respond naturally to the person you are with and what the moments presents to you, ever fresh, ever new.

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