I recently read a blog by one personal growth guru or another about how each of us has a “theme” in our lives. Perhaps if we have more to learn (or maybe it’s just if we were cursed with a particularly challenging life) then we have more than one “theme.” These themes will show up in various situations until we have successfully learned the lesson.
I knew in an instant what my theme was: loneliness. Apparently I haven’t passed the test, because this is something that’s lurked in my periphery for years.
There have been times when I thought that I had tamed the beast — formulating umpteen lists about why being alone was actually rad and creating new mantras that said, in so many words, “I am enough.”
Yet, it continues to reappear like one of those spiders that’s been smashed by a shoe, swatted with a newspaper, and sprayed with Lysol — but still manages to scamper across the floor unscathed.
I hate loneliness just about as much as I hate spiders.
The truth is, I’ve deliberately chosen situations that come with a side effect of loneliness — not because I have some sick need to make myself miserable, but because each of those choices were the best thing for me at the time.
In high school I opted to leave what was familiar, for a slightly less “normal” situation: homeschooling by myself in the morning, then heading off to my local high school in the afternoon — a school where I knew maybe two people.
In college I said “hell no” to dorm life and opted for a commuter school instead. (Making friends is a bit harder when a good portion of your classes are with the 40+ crowd.)
After college I decided I wanted to create my own schedule and thus opted to call myself boss and work from home.
Add to that a long-term relationship with a military man turned overseas contractor and you have one huge life recipe for loneliness.
I’ve always had friends — good, lifelong friends — but these individual ties seem to connect me to people who do have a “community.” I don’t think I’ve ever fully felt like I’m apart of something larger, a group that would say that I belong.
In the past, this thought led me to experience some pretty dark patches in my generally sunny life. Now I simply see it as an observation — an invitation to welcome change and stop seeing this as my “story.” After all, I’d rather say “I sometimes experience loneliness,” than “I’m a lonely person.”
There’s much snazzier adjectives I’d like to have describe me.
Maybe it’s not an “aha” moment that we need to stop our “themes” from reappearing, maybe it’s just the ability to recognize them for what they are and acknowledge that they’re there to serve as a reminder. A reminder to tweak our thoughts and our actions so that we do get the outcome we desire.
Our outside circumstances stem from our internal experiences — so using what’s happening “out there” as proof that we are right in our feelings is actually looking at the outcome and saying that it caused the steps leading up to it.
It just doesn’t make any sense.
I’ve created this feeling of loneliness, not by choosing the wrong place to live or people to be friends with, but by selecting that “loneliness” as my reality — no matter the situation I’m in.
What’s your reoccurring theme?