“It is astonishing how little one feels alone when one loves.” ~John Bulwer
If there’s one thing we all want, it’s to feel loved.
We want to feel deeply connected to other people, fully seen and appreciated by them, and secure in those relationships.
We can have a million and one acquaintances online, but if none of our connections feel intimate and meaningful, we will ultimately feel alone.
There’s actually some interesting research that shows we tend to value physical possessions less when we feel loved and accepted by others, because relationships can provide a sense of comfort, insurance, and protection. They truly are the most valuable things in our lives.
I remember when I completed my last promotional tour. It’s something I used to do for work—travel around the country promoting products at sporting events, concerts, and retail locations. I chose this career partly because it seemed adventurous, and partly because it allowed me to distract myself with constant change and motion.
Although there were more than 20 people on the tour, I frequently stayed in separate hotels because my responsibility was to care for the tour dog, and the group often stayed in places that didn’t allow pets.
I’d just decided to leave NYC shortly before this job, after slowly climbing out of years of self-loathing, depression, and isolation. I wanted nothing more than to make real friendships, but I simply didn’t know how.
I saw it happening all around me. I saw women forming bonds that I knew would last for years, while I frequently felt awkward and insecure. I saw romantic relationships blossoming, while I had a superficial fling with someone I hardly knew, who hardly knew me back.
Though I was trying to open up to people and create space for them to open up as well, I still felt alone, love-deprived, and terrified that these feelings would endure. As a consequence, I frequently sabotaged myself and potential connections.