This is an article about brave dating. One could assume that everyone who is reading it is brave and has a full life of dating and friendships. That would be nice if everyone was that way. But a real truth that is screaming at you right now is you are lonely. You are not alone in that loneliness. Christmas season has a way of increasing that loneliness with every Kay Jeweler and every Jared Jeweler commercial there is on TV. There are so many of those stupid commercials to remind you over and over again that you don’t have that special someone.
Because of loneliness, Christmas is a season of dread for you. You are able to find joy here and there but deep down, you feel the dread.
Have there been times in your life when you have done one of these things out of loneliness?
- Put up with behavior that is disrespectful of you
- Given in to behavior that are not in accordance with your values
- Settled for less than you really desire or need
- Stayed in a relationship that you know has passed its deadline
- Gone back into a relationship that you know should be over
- Got into a relationship that you know is not going anywhere
- Smothered the person you are dating with excessive need or control
Ugh, right? Now you can add regret and shame to your loneliness. All those emotions mix together into one soup which makes one’s life quite a miserable mess. May this blog be the light that you need to stop these destructive patterns in your life. There is hope. There is a Plan B. You are worthy of better than this.
Choosing dates from a lonely place draws you to people who can’t connect. Does that make you shutter? It does because you know it is true. Or loneliness makes you so desperate that you connect with anyone who will have you, no matter what values they have. Add more regret and shame to your loneliness soup. Know this: There is forgiveness for you. You are worthy of a new start because God never abandons who he creates.
Let’s start the process of healing with this truth: Loneliness is real. What you are feeling is real. Don’t try to numb the pain with shopping therapy (that is the continued message we receive on TV about Christmas) or alcohol or any other numbing behavior (like staying in that relationship you know you need to end). Don’t ignore the truth that you are lonely. Something is not wrong with you because you are lonely. This is a real emotion and you have it now.
You are not alone in feeling this emotion either. For generations people have cried out to God in their loneliness because they were actually lonely. This is okay. The Psalms have some of those most heart-wrenching cries. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Psalm 13:1. O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. Psalm 38:9. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Psalm 25:16. You’ve said nearly those same things, huh? The promise is that God does turn to you and sees you. Continue reading the Psalms and you will see this promise over and over again.
As real as it is, loneliness is not a “correct” emotion to have. For many reasons, to admit that you are lonely has baggage attached to it. So instead of feeling lonely you feel other things such as irritation, depression, addictive drives, and romantic cravings. These are often more acceptable and tolerable. But unhealthy. I hope by putting words on these other things you will recognize them in your life and not let these other things get in the way of you anymore. You are lonely. This is real. It is okay to have that emotion. But it is time to stop these unhealthy patterns.
In all realness, the emotion of loneliness is stronger than resolve, willpower, or discipline. It is one strong emotion! Do you recognize that now? Please do. It is okay. This will help your resolve, willpower, or discipline which I’m sure you want to have to stop these unhealthy patterns.
So Merry Christmas to you. Your gift to you is to stop these unhealthy patterns. To not let this loneliness soup be a part of your Christmas feast. This will be a special and better Christmas season for you.
Note: A piece of jewelry is not an expression of love. It is an expression of being duped by marketing people. Fact: The diamond marketing industry is bragging that they have sold $26 billion (that is BILLION!) worth of diamonds to Millennials just in 2015.