Every few months I go through a lonely mood. I get the feeling that no one really cares to know what I'm up to or what happens in my life. I start to feel as if I have no friends (that's not hard to do, since the few people I do call "friend" live out of town/out of state in relation to myself) and no one to talk to about anything on my mind. It is during times like these that I have come to appreciate tools such as this blog or an old-fashioned journal. I used to slip into a depressive slump when I realized that my daughter did not care to hear what I had to say. I used to feel self-pity when I thought no one wanted to be around me because their lives were so much more important or fascinating than my minuscule blip of an existence. Thankfully, my perspective has morphed as I continue my journey toward self-actualization (look up Abraham Maslow's theory).
Today I sensed that this is the beginning of another one of my lonely sessions. Yes, at first I was truly upset (and a little peeved) when I felt that no one cared about me. After some reflection, however, I decided to not let it bother me. That's right, I took a page out of Maslow's (and many cognitive theorists') book and chose to react differently. I choose to see this session of loneliness as an opportunity to quietly contemplate things in my daily life. I refuse to see it as a threat to my self-esteem. This is also an opportunity to be more observant of other people's lives. You can see much more when you blend into the background. Plus, as no one really cares what I am doing, I am free to work on surprise/secret projects without having to worry about hiding things. I can hide in plain sight when no one cares to see.
I truly am thankful for this lonely time. As an extreme introvert it gives me much more time to recharge my batteries. I have to talk in front of 80+ students every day as a part of my job. And while it is only for about 2.5 hours each day, that social interaction is quite draining for me. With alone time I can take the opportunity to sift through my thoughts each day and "breathe" without worrying about more social interaction. True, I do still miss human contact during these moments (ALL humans are social creatures and require some amount of social interaction with other humans), but I think this will be a good "vacation" for me to organize my thoughts and get some things done.
I'll just be blending here into the background until someone needs me or decides that they want to pay attention to me again. Until that time, I'll be sorting through my thoughts and trying different perspectives to interpret the world around me. With 7+ billion people on the planet, I'm glad I'm not the one that everyone's scrutinizing; that's just too much anxiety I don't need (ever).