Episode 52: The Antidote to Loneliness: LOVE (the kind that conquers FEAR)Jan 09, 2022
"I want someone to look at me the way I look at a bowl full of jelly beans."
I just read that recently and I loved it because, actually, I think it said, "The way I look at a chocolate cake" but I'm more of a pure sugar kind of person. I am truthfully a self-professing Sugaraholic. I go to sugar in response to everything in my life whether I'm having fun, am bored, if I'm with family for a get together or if I'm anxious or fearful.
I turn to sugar. It's my go-to. Believe me, I'm not proud of this. I struggled with the battle of the bulge as a result of that all my life. And I know my brain suffers. This is truly an addiction.
I tell you this because sugar fills up some of my holes inside. At least I try to use it in that way.
We all have these empty holes inside of us. I kind of picture them like bowls... Or deep caverns, depending on how long it's been "eating" away at us, no pun intended. Our caverns - the longing for something to fill them up - can be very deep.
And often that one deep cavern can be the longing for love. In every human being on the planet, including me, including you, this is one of our heart needs. This deep intrinsic need to be loved.
The love we long for
The love we really want is " the look at me in the way you look at a bowl full of jelly beans kind of love". Over the moon, Never Leave Me no matter what I do, no matter what I say, no matter what my quirks kind of love.
But often that kind of love is scary and it's hard to find.
So we settle for the next best thing which is connection. Just to be connected, heart to heart, to other human beings. We hunger for it an we're lost without it.
In my observation, in my own heart, as well as in watching all the wonderful people in my life who have aged and either passed away or are in the process of getting older, what I see is that cavern for love becomes deeper and more prevalent as we get older.
We feel it more.
Maybe it's because we're not as busy anymore.
Maybe it's because we begin sorting out our priorities looking toward retirement.
Maybe it's because aging makes us step back and really think about what life looks like up ahead. We're coming into that last quarter.
And we know this is all the time we have. The path is ending.
Can I remind you, once again, that you are a heart. A beautiful, incredible gifted heart walking on a pathway. A pathway you enter when you're born and a pathway you leave when you die.
As an individual that is special and unique and different from everybody else, you stand out all on your own on your path. And suddenly, when you're looking ahead to the path ending, it starts to get a bit scary. It starts to get real.
No one wants to do the aging thing alone
And suddenly you realize that you can't do this alone.
You don't want to do this alone.
You don't want to be alone.
Now, this can show itself as a longing for a companion, somebody close to share the rest of your life with you. Or it can simply be a wishing that your kids were closer to you, that they weren't so busy and would take the time to recognize that your needs are escalating a little bit and you are longing for their love and their attention in a different way.
How many elderly people do you know who go through this exact thing or have gone through this exact thing? You just have to look inside of a nursing home or a home for retired people and you'll see lots of them.
Lots and lots of loneliness. Lots and lots of longing for that connection, longing even more for that unconditional love. It's an epidemic in our society.
And it's an epidemic that actually ends lives.
I had two aunts who were older, getting into their eighties and nineties, and they both became very sick. One moved to be closer to family and one was moved into a temporary care home to wait for a bed to open in the facility they wanted for her. Both ere moved with good reason but the surroundings were strange to them.
And I think, even if it wasn't intentional, it may have increased that feeling of isolation, of being alone. Even though their kids could come more, visit more, both were in strange places. And both of them passed away within a very short time of being moved.
I think it says something.
The Stories we tell ourselves
Feeling alone leads to all kinds of stories that we tell ourselves.
Sometimes, especially as we are further along our path in life, the stories pop up without even being able to help it. It's as if they are automatic. Like my story about jelly beans filling up my need for love, the stories are our "go-to" explanation about why we are alone. This is a human response to anything that comes up in life. We tell ourselves stories about things and what they mean to us.
When it comes to loneliness and, and being alone on this path, sometimes those stories can sound like:
"It's because I'm not lovable" or
"It's because they don't care." Or
"I'm just a dried up old shoe that nobody wants anymore."
Those are the stories that can pop into your mind and cause you to send your heart into hiding.
The thing about being in our 50's, 60's and further is that you are already well on your way to the place where you decide that it feels less risky to hide.
Remember the story of Sleeping Beauty who pricked her finger on a spindle of pain causing her to fall asleep.
That's how I picture our hearts. When we allow the pain in life to permeate us, we put our hearts to sleep.
As a result, this thick wall of thorns grows up around our castle where our hearts are sleeping and we don't let anybody in anymore. We become too fearful of what might happen if they leave or what might happen if they stay.
You make a firm decision that "Nobody's getting in there". It feels safer.
The problem is that you end up missing out on love, the most precious in life.
Who are you going to be?
NOW is the time to think about this, lovely lady, at this stage as you walk on this path BEFORE you get to the end game.
You become what you think about. What you believe.
If we're longing for love and you conclude that nobody cares, that, you're just an old shoe, then you're going to close your heart down and end the last chapter in your life thinking that you're unlovable. You'll end up feeling sorry about your life because nobody was there for you. When you pass away, that will be the story going through your mind. Is that what you want?
Or do you want to leave a legacy of love? Of living life to the fullest - someone who gave it her all? Embrace the gold that was enhanced by the fire?
And that is the key question we have to always be asking ourselves: "Who am I?"
"Who do I want to be in this last chapter of my life?"
For me, I say that's not who I am. I'm not that person.
You know what? I'm going to propose that we start a new club. Yes, we've had the Secret Inner Hero Society but I want to start a new club.
A new club called "I refuse to get old". The "I Refuse To Get Old Girls Cub". How does that sound? If you're with me, If you refuse to get old, the you need to know how to get past the hurts and transform them into the gold that shimmers and shines.
And to start with, I'm gonna tell you the antidote for dealing with that feeling of not being loved. This is what will cure the sadness, the temptation to let your heart fall asleep.
The antidote is to give love away. To decide that love is going to be greater than the fear - to become Fearlessly. Loving.
The antidote to the despair of not feeling loved
Look around you. Feel the fear and stop it.
You can do this by shrinking that big ol' Fiery Fear Dragon from overwhelming to this little toy animal that's so fuzzy and cute. Go ahead - pretend you have a magic wand in your hand and swing it over him. See him shrink? Now...name him 'Fred'.
Then you take Fred who is still spouting off about you not being loved and you put him in the corner. Say to him, "Thank you very much for wanting to protect me, Fred, but I have something more important to do. It's not all about me. I'm not on this journey alone.It's how I see myself and how I see others.
And if I'm feeling this way, then others must be feeling this way, too."
Then you consider: what can I do to help in some small way? To give in some way so that someone else isn't feeling unloved; someone else isn't telling themselves the story about being an old shoe.
See someone else in the same way that you feel when you look at a jar full of jelly beans - or whatever your special treat is.Care about them that much.Or at least head in that direction.
Loving, supporting, defending, uplifting...caring becomes the antidote to not feeling loved because the only way to cure not feeling loved is to give love away.
You may think, "How? I'm not sure what I can do."
Look around you and see who is lonely in your circle.
Who is feeling all by themselves?
Who stays in their house and never comes out?
Who doesn't answer their phone sometimes?
Who do you know of your friends that are struggling with feeling valuable?
So what could you do to lift their spirits? Could you bake them some cookies?
Could you take them a bowl of jelly beans? Just to say, Hey, you are sweet.
Could you paint them a picture? Could you just paint a picture in general to help people who are lonely to feel better about themselves to express that from your own heart?
How about sewing something or writing something?
How about just showing some sort of kindness - scraping the snow off of their car windows, putting something under their door just to cheer them up.
How about just listening?
How about inviting them out for lunch or coffee and just having a conversation to get them out into the fresh air?
You can do this. The best way to end your own suffering is to end the suffering of others.
Shift the focus of your love from what you're lacking to what others are lacking and how you could possibly fill that need. You could do this if you are 50, if you are 60, if you are 70... if you are 95! You can find some way to cheer somebody else up.
The question is, again, who am I?
Who do I want to be as I age?
Do I wanna stay hiding with my heart locked away, feeling bad about myself and my life?
Or am I someone who sets fear aside, my own fears aside, and focuses, grows the fearless love I have inside to fight for the hearts of other people? To bring them some light. To bring them some love, some cheer, something that is gonna let them know they are not alone. And there is someone who sees them.
Season 2 of Brave Enough for Love: S.O.F.T. & Strong, the podcast, is coming up in February. And in that season all the next 12 months, I am going to be talking with you about
- how to define who you are
- how to recreate your identity going forward into the last quarter of your life. To become the person that you're proud of, who you really want to be.
It's gonna be so much fun and I'm looking forward to hearing how you're growing and seeing your hearts come alive. I will see you in the next podcast.
Stay connected. We all need to be connected to a group of people going in the same direction as we are.
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