by Kenneth Justice
~A few weeks ago a coffee house acquaintance of mine told me that he and his girlfriend of two years had finally called it quits. After numerous ups and downs in their relationship they had decided to part ways…..he said “all things being equal it was basically a mutual decision; we both realized it wasn’t going to work”
For some time now he had been sharing with me various details of their tumultuous relationship but now that they had broken up there was one thing that he really wanted to talk about; ‘I feel so alone now” he said.
Obviously, the reason the majority of human beings end up in relationships is to enjoy companionship. There is something comforting and wonderful about being with another person in a relationship.
Actually, there is something wonderful about simply being with other people….
—) Road trips are always fun when there are a number of people involved
—) Parties are usually more fun when there is a crowded room
—) Holiday’s are usually more special when the whole family gets together
The bottom line is that we are social creatures; we enjoy being around other people….yet…..that doesn’t mean we have to be miserable if we are alone…does it?
The older I get the more I notice that there are a lot of people who haven’t learned how to be alone. In recent years psychologists have begun writing essays on the subject and have connected various correlations with the phenomenon suggesting that people who aren’t able to be content by themselves are more prone to end up in bad relationships or in bad company.
Sadly, I have seen more people than I can count go from one bad relationship to the next with no break in-between….all because they are afraid of being alone.
Oddly enough, this subject of learning how to be content when alone encompasses people of all ages;
—) If you are a parent you want to teach your children how to be content
—) If you are single you will want to be able to be content in order to prevent yourself from jumping into a bad relationship
—) If you are in a relationship you want to be able to be content so that you are not entirely dependent on your significant other
I’ve known of a number of instances where a person’s spouse died and they were entirely unprepared at being cut off from their loved one. Death is rarely easy to deal with but when we are too dependent on another person it can send us spiraling into a difficult chasm to crawl out of; in a couple of instances the people I know are still in therapy and grieving and its been more than a decade since the death of their loved one.
Its also odd that our vocation comes into the conversation when we talk about being too dependent as well. I know one person, who when fired from their job, became so distressed that it landed them into a mental hospital. They were entirely too dependent on their vocation and not prepared for being let go.
Learning to be content with whatever life throws our way is a difficult skill to master. I’m not going to pretend as though I am king-of-the-hill when it comes to being content in all things. I still get angry, upset, and ticked off when things don’t go my way;
—) When friends have suddenly stopped being my friends
—) When longtime clients suddenly stop paying for my services
—) When relatives treat me poorly and refuse me their friendship
All of those things can hurt and can leave me feeling lonely…….
Yet in despite of it all, learning to be content, no matter what our situation, is a skill that can help see us through the most difficult challenges of life.
The fact of the matter is that life is rarely easy. Girlfriends might break-up with us, spouses might die, friends might stop calling us……but the true measure of our inner character will shine in the face of those adversities.
We are all going to make our share of mistakes in life. Hell, I long ago lost count of all of the F***-up’s I’ve made throughout my life. But when it comes down to it…..the real question is who and what we are in the end.
Will we stay faithful to our values? Will we stay faithful to the principles we believe in? Will we find contentment even in the face of loneliness?
Or will we let the disappointments in life swallow us up? Will we allow the feeling of being alone drive us toward bad decisions?
For now its time for another coffee,