In school, I had all types of friends. I was a likeable kind of guy and I was one of those chameleon like people who could morph their personality based on who they are with. So, with the studious kids, I could discuss corollaries and theorems, with the arty ones I could pick up a brush or even do a cross-stitch, with the sporty ones I could talk about NBA and politics of Indian sport, and with the 'no-gooders' I could get into their inner circle by hanging out with them and speaking their bad-ass lingo. I even had a few different ‘lunch-time’ groups. We sat together in a circle under a big Pipal tree as ate our lunch boxes together.
Yet, I think I was lonely. I yearned for a friend. Someone with whom I could just be myself. Someone to hang with when I didn't feel like being a part of any of the ‘groups’. Someone who I could just call over to my place to chill or just land up at their place. Someone who would understand me and not judge me when I had my mood swings. Someone who wouldn’t feel possessive if I hung out with my other friends. Someone who would know when I’m sad and say or do a few kind things to lift me out of my blues. Someone who can see my goodness and make me want to be even better. Someone who can reprimand me gently but firmly. Someone with whom I could go out and have fun together. Someone who could make me laugh and who would laugh at my jokes.
Hahahaha. Now I hear you laughing! Is it too much I’m asking for? I just want a friend!
Such friends do exist. Actually, I’ll correct that. Such friendships can be nurtured. It takes a bit of a chilled out attitude, openness in communication, the strength to hold on to my own identity, flexibility and adjustability, and lots of patience.
All that takes a little practise. It takes some work. But it's worth it.
When I have even one such friend, I don’t feel alone.
When I have even one such friend, I feel strong.
When I have even one such friend, I believe I am a winner.
I’m blessed to have a couple of such people in my life.
On my part, I do my best to be that kind of friend in a few people's lives. Of course, it's a work in progress.
If you think you haven’t yet found such a friendship, despair not. There may be one just lurking around the corner. Start by believing it is possible. Become open to the possibility. Be vulnerable but be smart. Ask for what you want, but don’t beg. Share how you feel and be watchful about how they reciprocate, or not. Allow things to evolve. It will happen. And it's ok even if it doesn't. Try again. I truly believe there are abundant opportunities for us to find such friendships.
The trick is to be open to these possibilities. We must not be fixated on our ideas of who should or should not be our friend. Look around. Surely, there is someone who wants to be my friend. They could be half your age or double your age. Maybe they are not dressed the way we'd expect them to be dressed. Maybe they don’t speak English the way we’d expect them to speak. Maybe they don’t drive the car we’d expect them to drive. Maybe, we were so busy wanting to be someone else’s friend, that we just didn’t notice the one who wants to be our friend. But maybe, just maybe, they could be that kind of friend for us.
Maybe it’s time to expand our idea of who can be our friend.
So smile, relax, and allow a friendship to happen!
Friendship is not a way to fill your loneliness.
Relationships won't take away your loneliness. And being alone won't kill you.
Relationships will make you feel better for some time, especially when things are good. But soon you'll be craving for more, or desperately trying to hold on to the beautiful thing you have. The desperation of trying to hold on will exhaust you. "I hope I didn't say something wrong.", "What are they thinking about me now?", "Should I call?" - you will be plagued by these thoughts.
True friendships can only exist when you first take away your loneliness. Relationships don't complete you. First, you have to find your completeness, only then you can truly relate with another.
Loneliness is a vacuum deep inside my heart. It is like a thorn that is embedded inside me. It is painful.
You can either keep protecting the thorn so that nothing disturbs it. But then you become extra-sensitive, and life becomes miserable. Or, you can take the one-time pain of removing the thorn. Then you become free and you can enjoy every moment with abandon.
The choice is yours. It is possible to remove it. It is possible to fill yourself with something beautiful and enduring that takes away your loneliness.
But, like every other good thing in this world, it requires some work. You have to be willing to do it.
5 explorations to remove the thorn of loneliness from your heart:
Watch your loneliness.
Don't try to fill it immediately. You will find that it is a physical feeling. You will feel it in some part of your body. Focus your attention on the physical feeling. Just watch it. Don't get involved in thoughts like "No one likes me" or "I wish he would ...". Just watch the feeling of loneliness. If you watch it long enough, it will transform into something beautiful.
Connect with the divine.
Whatever is your concept of the divine connect with it. Whether it is the universe, or the sky, or the greenery, or a name, or an object even -- see it as a symbol of the divine -- and become one with it. Fill yourself with your love for the divine. Don't ask for anything, but to be allowed to fill yourself with it. Try it, it's very easy. You can do it now. You just have to open your heart.
Be vulnerable and ask for what you need.
Dismantle the wall you have built around yourself. Once you start practising 1 and 2 above, you will find that you have the strength to handle rejection from a human being. So ask. It's ok if you are rejected. Ask again if you really want. And again. But ask with strength and love. Don't ask with desperation and neediness.
Give your energy to someone who needs it right now. Be there for someone. And don't expect anything back. Give because you want to give. Give because you have the opportunity to give. Give because you have.
Don't be scared to receive. This is a big problem many of us face. We are too scared to receive. If the universe is giving you, please receive with open arms. Don't think you will become obligated. Receive with the confidence that you too will give when you are ready to and choose to give.
That's it. It is as simple as that.
But simple is not easy. It's hard work.
Do this work. It's worth it.
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