I just spent the better part of an hour and a half writing and talking about the issue of self-trust. It’s a biggie and the umbrella under which each of us travels through every day and night of our existence. It is the most often hidden motivation behind an endless array of personal choices we make, especially in the arena of relationships, as well as a multitude of others.
We are drawn to and attracted by others who validate and help us to like and love ourselves. We need others to let us know that we are not alone, or incapable of being loved. We are born knowing we can’t survive alone and we spend an inordinate amount of the rest of our lives trying to prove that that isn’t the reality, but that scared feeling will arise and eat away at us at odd moments because we first learn to trust others before self.
I trust myself, but I have also spent many Friday night evenings waffling through feelings that don’t seem so clarified at any other time. Why is that? Because on Friday night, the rest of the world is off celebrating the beginnings of a weekend that holds a world of possibilities and I am alone. If I am going to find myself wallowing in a trough of self-pity, it’s probably Friday evening. That very definitive knowledge doesn’t seem to stop all of those feelings, however.
One of the biggest problems with all of that is that when we do get lonely, we have a tendency to look inward and start picking at ourselves. Being our own best bully is a Universal trait. Why didn’t I make plans? I know that Friday evening comes around with precise clockwork efficiency, so why didn’t I act to eliminate the possibility? Well, because. I didn’t really think about it, that’s why. So, week after week, Friday after Friday, that horde of feelings rises up and pretty soon I have created a habit out of it, and those feelings are just doing their part in the way I work.
What a wonderful little circular tread I have created for myself. I’m lonely, or feeling lonely, and that must be my own fault. It would help if I could just remember that Friday night is going to arrive no matter what else I might be engaged in doing. I have to get into the habit of making plans for Friday night so I don’t have to sit here and be bombarded by all of these feelings.
But, I’ve done just that in the past. And yes, it even worked for a while, years in fact, and the fear of Friday evenings was actually diminished for a time. I had a good time instead. Until I got tired of all the running, and discovered that I could feel just as lonely in a crowded room, surrounded by friends, as when I was sitting alone in my easy chair at home. And the awful part was that I was at least more comfortable at home. Didn’t have to deal with looking my best, being on my good behavior, or worry about what someone else might think of the outfit I had on, or the way my hair wouldn’t do anything but fly away.
So, I took my fly away hair and flew home. Ah yes, my own little comfort zone, where I can just relax, listen to my music, read my books, eat whatever I choose, and just be me. Watch tv, or get out an old sketch book, maybe do some drawing or coloring. I could even write, what a novel idea. And that worked for the longest time. That Friday night feeling was all just a myth, a boogey man story to scare little children, and little old ladies.
Wait a minute. I am now one of those little old ladies. And that Friday night feeling seems to be creeping back in, separating itself from the rest of the shadows, and no matter what I might be engaged in, those feelings are being felt again. I put in all this effort, all these years of reading, writing, coloring, and tv watching, just to come back to this place again? Crap! Unadulterated crap.
Okay, let’s go back to the beginning. Do we have to? Yes, afraid so. The beginning was all of those Friday night feelings, right? Well, not exactly. The beginnings were actually the fear of those feelings. They are so heavy and depressing. So what are those feelings, exactly? Number One, I am not okay if or when I am alone. That is absolutely not true. Prove it. I’ve been alone for a whole lot of years and I’m still breathing. I have not deteriorated into some slavering idiot, or worse, some anti-social monster.
As a matter of fact, its been just the opposite. I’ve found a great deal of value in what I do and who I am. Furthermore, I don’t need anyone else to tell me those things because I know them to be true. Ahhhhhh, did you see that light bulb go on? So what does that all say to you? Mainly it says that yes, I am alone, but that does not automatically mean I need to feel lonely. The two things are not the same. Alone is not lonely, and lonely does not mean alone.
As a matter of fact, being alone on all those Friday evenings has only served to show me that there are a world of things I can do to eliminate those feelings. Not just shove them back into the shadows where they came from, but actually get rid of them. Dispel them, altogether. And all those ‘alone’ Friday evenings taught me one other important thing I needed to learn. I can trust me to deal with those feelings. I can trust the person I have become to see them for what they really are. Just feelings.
Left overs from a past in which I was genuinely lonely and, most often, blamed myself for that reality. It must be because I wasn’t a good enough friend, or failed to make them. I was a bit off, didn’t really fit in anywhere, heard a different drummer, and was always humming some other tune. The most amazing part of those lonely feelings is that they somehow convince one that no one else ever feels them. At which point, one becomes either self-pitying, or beating oneself over the head with a stick of accusations and punishment.
And all of this just brings up a really big question. Do I trust myself enough to be alone with me? The answer is yes, been doing it for years. So much so, that I had to get on the page and explore the whole subject matter, trusting me to get me where I needed to be. I rather like what I have found. Do you trust yourself enough to be alone with you, even on a Friday evening?
Now I’ve moved in with Mum, I find my own space and stay there for hours. And I can feel lonely here too, despite the fact that human company is right downstairs, parked in front of the TV. I agree it often has to do with brow-beating or questioning self. Sometimes it’s because other human company isn’t always what you were hoping (people do or say the unexpected, or are in moods themselves).
Sometimes it’s the blind assumption by others that everybody’s lives is following a set pattern that causes the problems.
We were brought up spending time on our own; the lady next door (fairly recently married) came from a large family and was not used to being alone (while her husband worked). She came across a lot to talk to Mum. She would tell us stories about being terrified on her own when there were odd noises around the house. 🙂
(Reaching for the edit button again… sigh).
did you ever think that the lonely feeling might be some aspect of yourself, reaching out for closer contact, or maybe more direct contact? I was surprised to learn that that is all too true. One of the things I do when I get that feeling, is to stop and ask myself, what part of me isn’t satisfied in this moment. It’s amazing what you can learn by doing that. What you are doing is asking yourself, the only expert on you, what you can do to satisfy that feeling. That’s not a bad question, and it’s truly valuable when you get an answer.
That’s interesting… and sounds very likely. I’m not sure I’ve found any answers yet, though. 🙂
Oh, I think you may have. Some of the answers come during that time when we explore our own creative energies, and you have been doing just that. The trick is to listen as well as play.
Sometimes I think we have such short memories though… have you ever thought “how did I get that bruise?” and you just can’t remember! The last time I knocked a hand against the door, I said to myself “if I get a bruise there later, it will be because of this…” and a little while later, I found a bruise just there, and thought “wait, how did….? Oh!”
People are funny that way. 🙂 I find I’m always coming up with explanations why I’m in such and such a humour, and then later I’m asking again, “why…?”
That is exactly why I keep a journal. When we make a note of things, we remember them more readily, and make connections far more easily. When you remarked about the possibility of a coming bruise, you marked it in your memory and when you asked the question, the answer was there.
I think it’s a good idea to take note of our moods. It can often reveal a pattern which can then be resolved in favor of a better emotional level. My memories were intruding on my alone Friday evenings. I had made notes of that in my journal years ago. And that’s why I wrote about it again in this blog. While doing so, I realized why and just what I was feeling and resolved it, right there in the writing.I have also taken my own suggestion and write out a very brief Emotional Weather Report on a daily basis. That has proven to be both difficult and revealing.
PS you used a physical bruise for your example. Emotional bruises can go unseen, unnoticed for years. Yet can also complicate our lives in countless negative ways.