In order to become aware of the inner patterns and guiding images we all carry, we need to stop and look. This will need times of being alone with ourselves in order to grow in wholeness. This is essential so that we can also be there for others. This aloneness is a transformative, ‘pregnant’ waiting. It is not the same as loneliness, which carries with it feelings of lack, desperation and incompleteness. We dare not postpone living, waiting for our dream to materialize and for our present life to pass. This invitation to deepen intimacy with God and ourselves is done reverently, but not without fear. Indeed, intimacy implies this as ‘in timor’ means ‘into fear.’
Fundamentally, our inner development leads to the ability to balance the needs of our self and that of the other. If our self hasn’t been nourished, it will be ‘me, me, me’ now, and never enough. If we have no real sense of self, we will look outwards to find it and tie others up in unhelpful control. This will overload our relationships with something untenable as we see in them an image we want to fulfill us. If, too, we’ve had to prematurely give out to others and to deny self, there will be no sense of a self and a co-dependence with others will develop.
True friendship happens when we move into a place of union where we share our deeper emotions. But we have also to become best friends with ourselves and to face our difficult emotions, our painful woundings. Each of us needs to deepen commitment to our healing. Friendship with ourselves must not become conditional and self-critical. We are learning to embrace all of ourselves. This means to accept the unacceptable parts, to recognise what we’ve been taught and to understand the patterns of living we have learned. Then it is to say without any rejection, ‘This is me.’ We all have aspects of ourselves that we don’t feel okay about. Do we then disconnect with those parts, lose self-esteem or inflate ourselves in order to cope?
The pain we suffer in our aloneness is not to punish us, but to drive us inward and outward to seek connection with our self and others in a real way. So we can let our pain guide us to what needs attention, to what isn’t right. It will alert us to the state of our relationships. Our feelings will tell us what each relationship needs, but so often we don’t want to listen to those feelings. We can find great solace from people who understand and have worked with their own pain. For our needs are not shameful and we need people with whom we can be simple and straightforward so we can stop tap dancing around reality and face what’s really going on.