I often wonder how I can feel so lonely when I’m surrounded by people whom I know truly love me. I think sometimes I just need to know my place with people. I need to feel pursued and chosen. I need to know that I matter to people more than a passing thought here and there.
I’m struggling with my place right now. With no job, I feel dislocated. I didn’t realize how much my identity had been wrapped up in what I did. Now, with no job, I’m finding that I’ve been putting my trust and identity in who my people are. I have a lot of friends but I don’t know where my landing places is. Where do I go when the chips are down? Other than home, I just don’t know.
To be honest, I felt silly and juvenile wondering where I fit into people’s lives. I’m not in junior high. I don’t need to have the title of BFF in order to feel like I mattered, right? It’s just that the phrase “best friend” means that you are chosen and you have chosen someone as “your person.” You know how you feel about each other. You don’t have to worry about where you go when times are hard. You go to your best friend. It’s what you do.
I’m aware you can have more than one best friend and I know without giving it a title officially, I have quite a few. I have several people I go to when I’m needing to talk. Then there are those friends who were best friends in the past that I don’t talk to often anymore, but I know I could call them and they’d drop everything for me. I’ve got a lot of good friends, great friends even, but I guess I want to know who gives a damn as much as I do.
Like I said, as I process through these thoughts, I felt so petty. As I talked through some of this with a few of my people, however, I found it wasn’t as silly as I thought it was. People are lonely out there. We long for connection and we want to matter to someone. As my friend Sarah used to say to me about our kids, we long for someone to pick us first, to like us best. We are all born with that innate desire to be loved and accepted. We need to have a place we belong and a person to lean on. We need to know that we have an anchor that won’t move and we need to know that we can lean on someone that won’t walk away. I have a fear of the trust fall. I don’t want to fall back on someone and they decide they don’t want to catch me or they are preoccupied and don’t have the time to.
Social media amps this feeling of insecurity up 100 billion notches. When people post pictures of themselves with their best friends, it immediately stirs up my own insecurities because it reminds me that I don’t know who I have as a best friend and it makes me feel like I’ve been left out or that I don’t matter to someone. It makes me feel that I’m lame when I see how much fun people are having without me.
Why am I writing this long rant? It’s because I’m realizing that it’s a universal desire to be chosen and to belong. It’s not something I should be embarrassed about. I’m shocked as I’ve talked about this lately, most people feel this way. Lonely. Unimportant. Pushed aside. Disposable. I’m not alone in this. I want people to know they aren’t alone or silly to feel this way, either.
Is there a solution? I think we need to be more open with those we love and let them know they’re important to us. We should let people know they’re on our minds.
I can proactively brighten someone’s day by sending someone a message and telling them they’re important to me. Maybe those people will send a few messages to others doing the same thing.
If you’re feeling like I’ve been, I encourage you to think about some of the people who are important to you. Let them know you love them and care about them, that you see them.
Ultimately though, we cannot let our jobs, our friendships, or our circumstances determine our worth. Who I am is not based on what people think about me or don’t think about me. I have to work on choosing myself, loving hard and figuring out who I am in my God. That is the biggest and hardest lesson I’m learning right now. When we we wait for other people to make us happy, we will be waiting for a very long time.