ARE YOU LONELY?
The most prevalent feeling since leaving the church was loneliness. I've thought about this a lot.
Actually, I started to realize that I was just as lonely within the church, but I didn't feel it as acutely because I was surrounded by people.
I did have some meaningful relationships, but the fact that almost all of them vanished upon my departure from the church caused me to question the genuineness of the friendships.
The truth is I was going through a great deal of internal anguish as my ideas, philosophy and theology were changing. I had to keep much of what I was thinking inside. I had to hide a huge part of myself, and that created the sense of alienation and loneliness I was feeling in the middle of a church community.
When I did let some of what I was going through leak out through this blog, that's what finally got me into trouble. This is why I left the ministry and the church at that time.
Strange, isn't it? My internal feelings of alienation from the church actually lead to my external alienation from the church.
What helped me survive was I didn't feel alienated from myself.
This is what I conclude:
We are all lonely in the universe. Alienation is a human condition. We can surround ourselves with other people. But as long as we aren't self-aware and living openly with ourselves, then we will continue to experience this loneliness at a very deep level.
Find at least one other person with whom you can be your authentic self. I have a few people locally who I am open with. Especially my wife Lisa. Then a few local friends. That is growing. I'm also friends with people online who help to alleviate loneliness.
But, if you are having to hide your true self, it doesn't matter how busy you are with other people, you will be like those in the cartoon above: lonely in a crowd.
Loving yourself unconditionally is the first cure to your loneliness.
Finding others who love you unconditionally enriches it.
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