about how we can feel alone in a crowd.
I wonder what it is. Why it is exactly that we can be in a roomful of people and feel lonely.
As far as I know, it happens to everyone. Maybe it happens more to us shy ones. It certainly would seem to occur more for those who have less self to rely on. Still, I’m thinking that those conditions aren’t enough to explain how humans can feel isolated in the company of other humans.
We have a way of not listening. We have a way of not seeing. We can look engaged when we’re really thinking about how we wish someone would stop talking.
We’re kind of clumsy about picking up when we’re asking too much of someone’s attention or being too involved in relating events they find less than compelling. It seems we understand that much about ourselves well enough. What we don’t understand is how to tell when we’re doing it.
We gather together without noticing the one who was too shy to join in. We define ourselve by defining those who are unlike and different. It’s unconscious. Even the most generous of us do it.
So we apologize when we don’t need to or we rush in interrupting. We’re like pendulum people knocking around our self-esteem because our trust falters.
Trust seems at the core of feeling connected. Without it we’re lost in small conversations.
We find outselves inside the promises that we keep.
If only we trusted enough to give and receive feedback gently. If only we felt a responsibility to help each other feel safe and supported.
Fewer of us would fall down. Fewer of us would feel like we’re drowning.
Fewer of us would have that feeling of being alone in a crowd.
We’re each one in a million.
Alone isn’t lonely. Not being heard is.