Loneliness is an interesting feeling. There has been a ton of research done on the subject because apparently it is rampant and destructive to the human psyche.
I spend a lot of time alone and I sometimes feel guilty that I am rarely lonely. But through this prompt I am learning that perhaps not feeling lonely is healthier than I had previously understood. The descriptions of loneliness are heart breaking. I think of older people who may be house bound and lonely and feel sad for them. I picture myself as one of them one day and that causes me some angst.
From this brief research I conclude that loneliness is more of a state of mind than a state of being. I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to solitude and spending time alone, and enjoying it. I also continue to mull the purpose of seeking new relationships and cultivating the ones I currently have. It does take effort. All relationships take effort.
Most of my closest friends are a lot like me. We agree on things like politics and religion and view the world in much the same way. I have other friends that see things slightly differently and then others who are extreme opposites from me.
You may wonder how do I become friends with those who are so different or maybe you recognize these friends from your own life and know that time and circumstances change all of us. People we bonded with over things like highs school or the neighborhood we grew up in, over the years have lived separate lives and as it turns out many of them view the world differently than I do.
The question I continue to ponder is do I keep these people in my life even though I disagree with their outlook so vehemently? Am I able to socialize with them without causing a riff when I voice my own very different opinions? Or do we simply agree to disagree and instead of focusing on our differences embrace our similarities?
Even though I continue to give serious and careful thought to this in the end I find it easy to come to a conclusion.
First, I think that it is healthy to have people in your life who see things a little differently. Although it is nice to share similar views with friends ignoring dissimilar viewpoints I believe breeds ignorance.
Second many of these friends are actually blood relatives. I’m not dumping them for their opinions any more than they will dump me for mine.
Third, part of my liberal attitude is forcing myself to have the mindset to accept diversity. I would be a hypocrite if I only accepted and encouraged diversity in my work place and in my neighborhood. If I really feel as strongly as I say I do about my convictions I should stand behind them and practice them in my own life.