I hate feeling lonely. Separate and isolated, even in the presence of others. I presume in every situation I am unwanted and unloved. It’s often of paralysing intensity. It happens more than you know. I’m detached from reality. I can’t feel or think a way out of it, everything is heavy. If I wait long enough, it will usually pass.
But other times someone acts. They penetrate the encompassing blanket of emotion. They show me love and connection, they count me worthy. It’s that moment, the moment of support and encouragement, the reaching out of someone else into my situation which I seek. The times where we show love, a deep love that connects. I seek to provide that moment of love for others.
A love that is considerate, authentic and sustaining.
I need to learn what will help the other person. Often my default is to act in ways that would support and encourage me. I want a hug, a big firm hug. Hold me close and let me rest in the knowledge someone is with me. Sound comforting to you? Perhaps it would be. But someone having a panic attack, stuck in a large crowd unable to find an exit, I exacerbate their tension. Someone with heightened sensory input would be more stressed.
I need to be genuine in my intention. I care about pretty much every person I meet, even when I’m freaking out about people. But am I talking to the lonely person because I recognise their loneliness or because I care about them as a person? Am I talking with a friend’s housemate because my friend is burnt out with supporting them or because I care about the individual? Am I having coffee with someone after a recent break up because I know they have lost their social circle or because I care about their wellbeing? Sometimes I need to remind myself of the person more than my identification of their situation.
I need to be able to continue to love them. A season of intensity, an extended constant connection, a check in chat every few months. There are times I have slept next to someone for a week to strengthen their control; times when I met with someone weekly for a year (or two) to provide stability; times when I call someone every 3 months to ask the same battery of questions.
Those ideas about loving others have been hurtling around my consciousness for over 20 years (I started young). But lately I’ve added thoughts about how to be loving toward myself. Turns out when I am feeling secure and loved, when I regulate my emotions well, I am a happier person and better equipped to love other people.
Another recent development is providing space, permission and opportunities for others to connect more easily with me. In my current season of struggle, I have been more open with the details. Sharing the details of where I am at and also details of how to support me and my husband. What do you know, people have been loving us deeply and well.
So this blog is an exploration of how to love people deeply. To love myself, to love others and to allow others to love me. It tracks some of my previous thinking and experience, but my hope is for my own growth, for our growth. So expect short posts with a smattering of previous learnings and my recent thinking.
I’m currently in a very low place so the site will stay messy. Anything on the back end of the site, editing or tidying will have to wait a few months.
But let’s start talking. Together, let’s explore how to love people deeply.