I’ve been reading this book called “Becoming Human,” by Jean Vanier. Although I haven’t completed it yet, it has impacted me to think critically about community, friends, and our own well being.
As a society, we are becoming more “ME” oriented. On one hand this drives individualism and creativity but on the other it disconnects us from other people in our community. Vanier states “where we do not feel any responsibility towards others, there is no reason for us to work harmoniously towards the common good.” It seems as though we have become more self-centred, less empathetic and unaware of our actions. It has become easier to talk about someone and break them rather than help them. In essence, our words and actions have the ability to debilitate an individual.
Jean Vanier explains that the lack of unity can create a stronger feeling of loneliness. He states that “a sense of loneliness can be covered up by things we do as we seek recognition and success.” He also proceeds to say “loneliness is part of being human, because there is nothing in existence that can completely fulfill the needs of the human heart.” We have all felt despair in one form or another in our lives and it is human nature to feel happiness and loneliness but it seems like we work ten times harder to prove to the world we are happy rather than acknowledging our own despair, loneliness and fears and working just as hard to minimize them. Social media is a great example of this. Posting vacation pictures, casually including expensive and luxury items and of course the “happy couple” pictures. It is not to say that these are not genuinely happy moments in ones life but they are just snippets of happiness from an individual’s life. We tend to manifest those ideas as “ complete happiness” and compare and measure ourselves to those standards. We should never compare ourselves to people because we are all dealing with loneliness in one way or another.
Although we talk about loneliness as a negative factor in an individual’s life; loneliness has the ability to spark energy of creativity and change which in turn can cause certain shifts in your life. Vanier goes on to explain “are not all our lives a movement from order to disorder, which in turn evolves into a new order?” Life is always evolving and change is always constant. He goes on to explain “when we refuse to accept that loneliness and insecurity are part of life, when we refuse to accept that they are the price of change, we close the door on many possibilities for ourselves; our lives become lessened, we are less than fully human. If we try to prevent, or ignore, the movement of life, we run the risk of falling into the inevitable depression that must accompany an impossible goal.” For example if you are in a horrible relationship, friendship, or work situation, deciding to ignore any signs due to fear of change will only damage you. Although it is terrifying to take that leap of faith to change your surroundings, it is in your best interest to listen to yourself and your feelings. The more you comply with loneliness the harder it is to get out of that vicious cycle. We tend to leave things how they are because it’s the easier choice and change is scary, but with each decision made to better yourself, there is a door and window of happiness and success that is open and waiting for you. Revaluate your life, and make the necessary changes to stop loneliness from taking up the majority of your energy. Remember to love and respect yourself because if you don’t nobody else will.