There’s this great site on the net called Tiny Buddha. I found it via Twitter a few months ago. Everyday different people write articles on a personal struggle/topic in their lives and how they’ve overcome it and let me tell you, I have a light bulb moment just about every time I read it. Today I read “How to Overcome Loneliness.” But it wasn’t actually the overcoming loneliness part that really struck me. It was these few paragraphs
First: Remember that feeling separate from others is the direct result of focusing on how others are different from us.
When you look for differences, you will find them. When you look for similarities, you will find them as well. There’s nothing wrong with doing either; however, each has their own set of consequences.
When we spend your time focusing on the differences, we begin to have thoughts about how “It’s different for him because he’s a man,” “She wouldn’t understand because she’s rich,” “He has kids so he wouldn’t have time,” or “She’s so attractive, she would never ‘get’ my situation.”
We start to place others into all sorts of categories.
Most of these categories include all the things that make them different from us. If this sort of thinking continues, eventually, we will find ourselves standing alone against the entire world—us verses everyone else.
There are indeed different circumstances and situations that we all have to deal with, however, it is also just as easy to see that underneath all the differences we may have, we all share a common human experience. We all feel the emotions of pain, love, loneliness, fear, loss, sadness, and joy.
When you start to understand that the human experience we share gives us more in common than the different circumstances we may be in, we can start to feel a lot closer to other people. This is the way to begin to mend feelings of isolation and loneliness.
The reality of my situation in life is that I am different than other people. I was born with something almost no one else in the world has. But I think for a long time I’ve been using that as a crutch. A crutch and an excuse not to get close to people because “they won’t understand” or “what’s the point?” I’ve always put a huge amount of focus on how I’m “different” from other people and how that “pretty” girl that just walked by me has no idea what it’s like to be me, and how nice it must be for her to have guys throwing themselves at her all the time. I make these snap judgments about people that I don’t even know, all because I have a disability.
I’m not going to deny that the reality is that most people can’t relate to me on the disability thing. But that’s only a small part of who I am. I’m a lot of other things too and who’s to say people won’t relate to me on those? Not to mention, we all have our own struggles whether that be a disability or a rough family life, etc. I’ve really started to come out of my shell these past few years and I think reading this article today will only help that. I’m going to start making a conscious effort to find the similarities between me and other people and not define myself by one circumstance I was given…and knock that wall I’ve built around myself down.