Many people who want to be in a relationship stop trying to find a companion and lull themselves into a life of quiet desperation and loneliness. The need for companionship is very human, very normal, and very necessary. It gives us emotional balance and lets us enjoy life. It is also in our DNA, so to deny that we need others isn’t facing reality. Dr Abraham Maslow, who created the hierarchy of…
Many people who want to be in a relationship stop trying to find a companion and lull themselves into a life of quiet desperation and loneliness. The need for companionship is very human, very normal, and very necessary. It gives us emotional balance and lets us enjoy life. It is also in our DNA, so to deny that we need others isn’t facing reality.
Dr Abraham Maslow, who created the hierarchy of needs, listed “belonging” as our next need after food, safety and shelter. For almost everyone, this need pulls at your heart, and even if you have given up in your head, that other organ still yearns for the company of another person.
Staying in denial about what you need to be happy, or even to be content, won’t help. Getting past your reluctance to reach out is something that you have to do for yourself, if not completely on your own. There are many people, both professionals and personal, who can help, but you are the one who gets it started and keeps it going.
I totally understand that at times you will feel like you want to give up. You may make yourself believe that though life alone may not be what you want, you will accept it and find a way to deal with and mask the pain. Unfortunately, too often that decision leads to unhealthy choices like self-medication with drugs or alcohol, which will only make you feel worse in the end and may damage your health and, at worst, end your life.
Let’s agree on one basic premise: It is better to be here, even if you are lonely, than not. Now a second premise: A lonely life is better than none at all or one spent in a concentration camp. When you realise that things could be much worse, it will help you appreciate what you have, and that gives you more desire to make it better.
The real truth is that we all have moments of wanting to give up, not just on ourselves but on the possibility of a full life. You need to become unwilling to accept that you are destined for sadness and that there is nothing you can do to change things. That is untrue, plain and simple.
Yes, it is okay for you to have moments, or even some days, where you just want to hide under the covers. That, too, is normal. But you do have to use every ounce of energy you have to pull yourself out of it and start making your life better again. It can only happen if you don’t give up and you continue to look for new and different ways to help you through the process of making your life more enjoyable.
When you feel that you may be resigning yourself to a life you really don’t care for, it is time to reach out. You need to start talking about how you feel.
By getting this kind of emotional support, you are breaking the negative cycle and allowing yourself to move forward again.
One final thought. There are a number of people who, for whatever reason, are better off not being in a relationship. If this describes you, there is no shame in not being part of a couple. You will find love where you can.
– Dr Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith, or e-mail him at Barton@bartongoldsmith.com
Last updated by 11:16 PM 7th February 2015 By Barton Goldsmith/Tribune News Service