I've talked about this before, but just needed a refresher for my own sanity.
Something that has been on my mind a lot is the concept of overcoming loneliness. It's been on my mind not just because it has shown up in other blogs recently, but because I've had some really big issues with it this past week and have been becoming more and more depressed. I've started to hermitize myself because of my depressive state, and that in turn isolates me from the world and only increases my loneliness thereby adding to my depression. It's a vicious cycle that feeds on itself trying to consume my happiness.
Why do I get lonely? I know a lot of people. I'm a crowd pleaser, so people usually like me. Why do I always feel like an outside observer? Why is it that even though I know people enjoy my company, I often feel like they don't so I don't make an effort to associate with them? Why do I look around the room when I'm at church on Sunday and think that I really have no desire to be friends with any of those people? If I'm lonely and want friends, why don't I just hang out with the ones I already have?
I was talking with a friend over lunch about being restless with my current situation. I've lived in So Cal for 7 years. I've seen it. Done it. It's a great place with plenty to do, so why do I feel like I never have anything to do? I've been in the same ward with essentially the same group of people for 3 years now. I just don't want to hang out with them any more. I want something new. Something different. I told him that if my business is not flowing well by the end of the year that I'm seriously thinking about renting out my condo and moving away. But where would I go? Would any other place be any better than the place I'm at right now? I would still have all the same problems. I would still be me. I would still be a Moho. I would still feel inadequate around other people. The only thing different would be what I saw when I walked out of my house in the morning. The rest of my life would be pretty much the same.
So I have all of these downers in my life that spiral me into loneliness and depression. I had been feeling worse and worse as the week wore on until Sunday night, when I was on my computer and my IM window popped up with a message "Hey buddy!" from AtP. He had some issues he was working through and wanted someone to talk to. Surprisingly enough, I had my loneliness issues and wanted someone to talk to. So, we complained about our problems to each other for a bit. Then a funny thing happened - I started to feel better. Eventually our conversation drifted into happier topics and by the end of the chat I was really feeling quite content.
That was great. It assuaged my loneliness. And yesterday and today I have felt really good too. And it all came to me. Not something new. Not something different. Something that I have known for a very long time, but sometimes forget about. Loneliness for me (most of the time) is a byproduct of focusing on myself too much. I was given the opportunity to sit and chat with AtP, and for a while I completely forgot about myself and my problems and focused my attention on him. I listened to what he had to say and did my best to be uplifting and encouraging. And you know what? It brought my mind out of the hole that it was in.
Being there for other people and helping them out is what it's all about. That is how I overcome loneliness.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Get out of yourself. Get out and help others. The loneliness goes away when you do that. I guarantee it.