Saturday, 7 January 2012

A Quiet Taboo

A lot of people in the world hurt quietly, often for years on end, giving little or no clue as to what's going on inside. You pass them in the office, in the street, perhaps even in the home. You may exchange the occasional joke, or a kind word, or an inane aside. And then you move on. And the thing with these people is that what they're dealing with isn't huge or dramatic; just a prolonged ongoing feud with the great taboo known as human loneliness.
I've touched on this before, and I've wondered why it is people find it so difficult to admit to themselves, let alone to others, that they might be feeling isolated, detached, alone. We seem to foist the whole idea with some additional baggage; as if any acknowledgement of loneliness, of vulnerability is somehow an expression of weakness. 
Many people build successful and fulfilling single lives, but I think most of us want companionship in some form. We're social animals, we flourish in groups and I think deep inside we tacitly seek the approval and acceptance of others even if we find that hard to stomach. I've tried to fool myself into believing that I don't need approval or affirmation, but I find myself wondering whether I'm being truly authentic? When people do show kindness, or go out of their way, or just notice me I expect I appreciate it as much as the next person.
I genuinely feel for people who close their doors at night to an empty home, especially if that's not what they desire. There really are times when silence can be deafening, when the smallest place can seem cavernous. Funny thing is, I'm starting to suspect that many erect barricades in public; no obvious clue to suggest what's going on inside, no heart being worn on the proverbial sleeve. Perhaps that's just our natural armour, a kind of defence mechanism to stop the  melancholy. I also suspect that our ability to self deceive can sometimes get in the way of changing things, taking steps to make the world a less solitary place. As always, and perhaps with a boring predictability I cannot help but feel that the solution lies within. We have to make a decision to act, to swap out the life we've got with the one we desire. There's no assurance of success, but our chances increase if we take positive steps. So I guess, as with many things, it begins with a choice. A stark and simple choice to either accept the status quo or resolve to change. 
So what are you going to do? Are you happy? Are you where you want to be? What is it that you want to change?
Whatever it is, own it.  Because if you don't then you've left it all to chance. 

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