Marina Keegan, once said there wasn’t a word for the opposite of loneliness but she sought it just the same. So do I. No one word can describe the feeling I’d like to obtain. I know in my heart there is a feeling that can be achieved.
Belonging and Community..
Belonging to something or someone is a tricky thing, because even when we do that doesn’t banish the loneliness. I belong to many groups. I belong to many things. But even in their midst I would feel the pang of loneliness.
The belonging I’m referring to is a state of being. It’s not when you belong to something or someone, but rather when you feel you belong among them and you get and give either one or all of these: purpose, friendship or love. You simply feel like you belong. You create a connection.
When you feel like you belong with people there is a sense of connection. That you give and receive purpose, love, respect, admiration. These small things can bring you fully present in the moment and fully in sync with yourself.
When those things are absent from our relationships or we are absent from the presence of those that we belong with. Then loneliness takes its place and that’s a tough place to be. It’s hard to express. It’s hard to reach out. When you sit in a room full of loved ones who laugh and interact with each other and you sit on the couch. A ball of small black whirling in your heart. I try so hard not to let that ball touch or affect those I care about.
In truth, there may not ever be a word to describe the opposite of loneliness. But I know that it is belonging, purpose, community. I will never stop trying to find that place. Whatever word we call it, it won’t matter, because it’s more than a word, it’s a home we all seek.