"It is not good for man to be alone."
This is the first social commentary on the human condition in the Bible and these ancient words are still so true in our modern world today. Prolonged social isolation can have devastating effects on an individual and yet for many of us withdrawing is the first thing we do when we experience pain. We run. We hide. We lock ourselves in. We lock others out, often the ones who love us the most. We feel that we need to process the pain alone, but this is a very dangerous game we're playing. Getting into the habit of shutting others out when in pain can lead us down a very dark road where we find ourselves unable to find the light again and too far gone for anyone to see us lost in the dark. So why do we do it? Why do so many of us shut others out when we need them the most?
- People say the wrong things: This one is just unavoidable. The people who love you will want to help and will try to say something to make you feel better. This usually doesn't end well with me. I hate false comfort. I hate the cliches that people tend to use. They always fall flat in the face of real pain. When I am hurting I don't want advice; I simply want someone to be present. Don't be in such a rush to make me feel better because you can't. Just sit and listen and be still with me for a little while.
- Fear that people won't be able to handle it: This is a big one for me. I am a passionate person. I experience my feelings intensely. When I am happy I am just beaming. When I am sad I get really, really sad and I fear that people won't be able to deal with seeing me in that state. I fear that people won't be able to handle my pain, that it will be too much for them so many times I simply keep it all in and bear the weight of it all alone.
- Risk of disappointment: I hate disappointment and I do not handle disappointment well. I'm not a trusting person and the risk of letting someone in and then possibly having this person disappoint me is sometimes too much for me.
And yet despite these reasons and the many others you could also add, it is so important to let others into our pain. Why? Because this journey that we are on was never meant to be taken alone, never. God intentionally created us to need not only God, but one another. God intentionally left a void in us that only another human being can fill.
Even when people say the wrong things they say them because they love you and it is that reminder, that you are loved, that you need most when you are hurting, more than any specific thing anyone can say. Even if some people can't handle it there will be someone in your life who can. Find 1 person you can trust and let that person in. It is worth the risk of disappointment. In life even the people who love you will disappoint you from time to time. It's ok, you can survive disappointment. What you may not survive is shutting out everyone around you and getting so lost in your pain that you can't find your way out. That is a risk you cannot afford to take.
So whatever you may be facing in life right now I implore you, do not suffer alone if it is at all possible. Don't bear the weight of it all on your shoulders because your shoulders were not designed to carry that kind of weight on their own. Let someone in. It's scary taking the risk sometimes, but it is worth it. You and I were never meant to take this journey alone.
Following The Way,