This is quite a spontaneous post. Apologies if it does not really make sense, I am going to have to reflect on it over the next few days, hopefully, to make a it little more reader-friendly!
Well since writing my last post about overcoming loneliness I have not been actively looking for a solution. I have not been praying about it which I’m not very proud of. And sure enough, the same emotions have continued to assail me.
But you know what, I think that I have actually thought of a solution, which I’m going to eagerly put into practice!
You know, something that I have been asking myself is this: why has this overwhelming loneliness seemingly crept up on me over the last few years, as if from nowhere? Why is it that when I look into my own past, ten years ago these feelings were completely absent? I’m sure that part of the answer to this is that I have been fixating on these feelings through writing this blog to a point where these feelings feel overwhelming. But here is the thing, they are feelings after all, there is nothing tangible or inherently substantial about them. If they can be stimulated and worked up then they can also be deflated.
So if anyone else struggles with this, this is the solution I’ve thought of – to consciously focus on the other person when I am talking or interacting with them.
It’s like there are two boxes in my mind when I am speaking to someone. The first box represents all my thoughts about myself. When I am focused on the first box, it is like I am busy thinking about myself then I start thinking about my loneliness, and I entertain my fear of where my loneliness could lead and I get preoccupied with this and I start acting awkward.
However if I were to focus on the other box that would be like concentrating on the other person’s issues, refusing to even think about myself and hopefully there won’t be any time to even consider my own loneliness or my fears about that.
So then the solution is to completely focus on the other person when they are talking, and to refuse to entertain any thoughts about myself. I’ve got to be very determined in throwing out any thoughts about myself that occur to me when I am interacting with other people. As I am writing this a further thought occurs to me. Why is it that I only get awkward around a very small number of certain people (men)? And there will be other men and we will talk and laugh and it will be absolutely fine, day in day out! Perhaps because those people who cause awkwardness are the people I might naturally be attracted to, and because of attraction I can’t help thinking about myself a little when interacting with them, and thereby I bring my thoughts to that dangerous self-conscious zone.
In a way this is a way of admitting that I have been quite self-preoccupied, but it has been a fear thing. Developing a big pre-occupation with my own self is a hazard of writing a blog like this but clearly I am not going to stop writing the blog because of this, I’d rather learn how to deal with it properly!
So I have to be extremely honest with myself. When I see a man and I know that I find him attractive, I have to prepare myself. I have to acknowledge that because of his attractive features my thoughts are going to naturally want to keep visiting that dangerous self-preoccupied awkward zone, where I cannot help thinking about him in relation to myself. When I first see someone and I realise that he is attractive, I am going to have to acknowledge that he will cost me that extra mental effort, on an ongoing basis, of constantly dragging my thoughts away from thoughts of myself with him. So with men I find attractive, I am going to have to work extra hard to refuse to think about them in terms of myself, to rather focus on what they say. Which sounds quite a lot like how men are often encouraged to focus on what a woman is saying, rather than her physical attributes that they might find attractive!
And here is the supremely frustrating thing: as the solution occurred to me, I instantly remembered that I’ve thought of this exact same solution before! I can’t remember how far back it was, but I have definitely thought of this exact same solution before! And back then it was also explicitly about dealing with loneliness. But it clearly was not able to get rooted in my mind, and in the cut and thrust and hustle and bustle of life I simply forgot it as a solution. And in the meantime I have been wandering around, crying, confused, and avoiding contact with attractive men, who happen to be the people I would most like to interact with!
I don’t like you?!
You know when you observe someone’s behaviour, and you notice that they are acting noticeably different to you to the way they are acting towards everyone else; if with everyone else they are effortlessly friendly and natural, and “laughy” (I’ve now officially baptised that as a word!) but with you they are stilted, act maybe a little bit cold; if I am the person in question, and you are a man, and you happen to have arms of any description but especially arms that could possibly be mistaken for being strong, please do not be offended. Rather, please allow yourself to feel immensely flattered! Because if I am the one in question, it will invariably be due to attraction. Invariably! I find it so much easier to be friendly and natural with people I secretly dislike than with men I am deeply attracted to! (And you know it, TDA!) 🙂