I am lonely. I know, you just got the urge to do click off, repelled by this shocking disclosure of human frailty. Lonely = loser right? I realise that this is something of a taboo to admit to the humble state of loneliness, but try to stay with me in this embarrassing moment because there is a point we need to get to and it is called self-love.
Most of us will do almost anything to avoid pain. Being lonely – really feeling – it is indeed very painful. It turns vibrant cities into a catwalk for couples and parties become an audit of the things you have failed to achieve in life. Feeling lonely can put an eclipse over anything good. It does not, under this regime, matter if you really are a kind-hearted-rich-funny-sporting-hero with good cheek bones because being lonely means you have failed.
The pain of feeling lonely can throw us into a frenzy of narcissistic withdrawals. Sharp in-take of breath. Yes, I did just call you a narcissist. If it helps RiRi’s just been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and she’s still rockin’ it. Sometimes, when we try to avoid the pain of being alone we create a marriage with something that is entirely under our control. This can be drugs, booze, a fetish or two, a career, fashion, religion, politics, dog homes, anything at all that we can tie ourselves to with complete abandon precisely because it is essentially a relationship with ourselves. This appears to be a safer bet than risking a relationship with someone who is outside of our control and who might turn out not to offer a lifetime of undiluted devotion and even, gulp, reject us. For some people this withdrawal is actually another person, but one that follows orders. Some people call this co-dependency, I call it by its psychoanalytic name sadism but then I am a bit like that.
Uh oh, she just called us narcissists and perverts.
I apologise for the bluntness of the language here but at least you are in good company, Freud bottomed the whole thing out and apparently we are all perverts in that we regularly fill our hearts with all manner of fakery and random objects of desire, to the point that there is no room left for true love.
The good news is that there is a one way ticket out of this psychic predicament, which is to fess up to being lonely. Being lonely means an acceptance that you need other people to introduce the very real prospect of love. Although it might feel extraordinarily difficult to face up to the pain of loneliness, that is a good deal if you think about it. Humbling human disclosure for the thumping heart stuff of love. Do not be scared to put on your L plates because it means that you are Lonely and Lovable rather than a Loser.
Listen to the podcast Loneliness