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Connection With Others Brings Us Healing

When we stay in isolation, our chances of achieving wholeness are slim at best.

Listen today to popular music and count the number of songs you hear about loneliness and isolation versus songs about being happy. Why is that? It has to do with the fact that most of us can relate to a singer’s feelings of anguish and isolation. When we hurt from loneliness, there are few more powerful emotions. It’s a universal condition.

As little ones, we get wounded—perhaps by parents who don’t give us what we need emotionally or, in the worst case, abandon or abuse us. Or maybe we are exposed to trauma. We develop patterns of relating to people based on self-protection, safety, and security. We tend to isolate, take care of ourselves, and be an “island unto ourselves.” We become suspicious of other people and begin to withdraw from those around us.

If we don’t find the healing we need, we may be “duped” by our brain into believing that people will hurt us, and that in order to survive, we must take care of ourselves.

Left alone in our pain, no matter its origin, we are cut off from the healing touch that comes from our relationships. Several factors reinforce our belief that it’s better for us to be alone with our pain:

We think others won’t understand what we’re going through.

We’re distrustful of others because of what we’ve suffered.

We’re unwilling to forgive those who have added to our pain.

We’re so depleted that we think we have nothing to give to another person.

Because of what’s happened to us, we don’t believe we deserve to be loved again.

In each of these beliefs, there is an element of truth. Yet it is only a partial truth. So how do we separate what is true (real issues) from the lies we believe that hold us back? Put differently, how do we cut through the misbeliefs that might have formed in the fog of our trauma?

Living with deep pain can be an all-encompassing experience. The pain keeps drawing our focus back to itself. When we’re inwardly focused, it’s easy to believe that other people don’t understand what we’re going through. We feel abjectly alone.

Suffering is universal. Since many of us choose to suffer in private, we are often unaware of the paths to healing others have taken. If we looked deeper, we’d be amazed at the wealth of experience, help, and compassion that’s available through others.

We need to be open and honest with each other about the pain in our lives. We need to be willing to ask. When asked, we need to be willing to share. This is the connection that brings healing. When we stay in isolation, our chances of achieving wholeness are slim at best.

Friends laughing
Source: BigStockPhoto/Rido81

Finding safe people to trust can be difficult, especially if you are coming out of an unhealthy relationship or lifestyle. But we were not meant to be alone. As you look around you and work to develop friendships, be aware that you need wise and thoughtful friends in your life, and you can offer that gift to others. Be approachable, express genuine interest in others, and demonstrate kindness. Everyone wants a friend who models those behaviors.

Find this type of friend for yourself. Be this type of friend to others. We can mend our broken hearts, exchange loneliness for companionship, and participate in the double blessing of helping others to heal and being healed ourselves.

More from Gregory L. Jantz Ph.D.
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