This piece is part of our 2022 Community Flash Series showcasing new writing by the Wandsworth Carers Centre Writers Group. You can read more about the background to this project in our introduction to this series, find out more about Wandsworth Carers Centre on their website, and find them on Twitter @CarerWandeworth.
They say “no man is an island”, maybe it’s more of a truth to say everyman is his own island. How often it is in the depths of loneliness, that we reach a deeper understanding of what is truly needed in order to nurture ourselves fully? There can be no clearer truth than to look in the mirror and see the reflection standing in front of us. How often are we looking on the outside for our needs to be fulfilled? when the things we seek the most can so easily be sourced from within. Often it is the things we seek most from others that holds a clue to the things we deny most for ourselves.
It’s a sour pill to swallow, feeling on the outskirts, invisible and alone even if surrounded by physically people or in a group. To hear the Soul, scream out to be seen and heard and to belong has been a common thread throughout my life. Yet where I have felt it the most has been in my role as an unpaid carer where I’ve struggled most with the empty void of loneliness. Somehow, it felt easier to cocoon myself in a bubble of self-protection, rather than face the risk of not fitting, being seen and not heard, judged or misunderstood. So, I kept myself to myself and purposely cut myself off. It was only when I enquired within? I realised that it was “I” who was casting the finger of judgement towards myself. “Could it be that the situation I was in, was mirroring my internal environment?”
I wanted to be included, yet how much of myself was I including in the world around me? How present, curious, proactive was “I” being? How often I was I picking up the phone and reaching out? Was it that I felt so disconnected to myself that I lacked confidence and felt resistance connecting with others? If this was so then surely it was “I” who held the key to the solution.
I wanted to be acknowledged. Yet how much was “I” acknowledging my strengths, qualities, successes? I wanted to be heard? Yet was “I” really listening to myself? my needs, my desires, my boundaries. I wanted to be seen, yet what was the self-image “I” was creating? I want to be loved? Yet in what ways was “I” creating a loving relationship with myself?
The formula was simple - change the way I think, change the way I feel. And do it with a full heart. When the heart is full it gives and receives unconditionally, without expectations or the need for validation from external sources. And so, the answer came “think love, give love, be love” Love is nourishing, kind and forgiving, where love exists there can be no fear. The homework now, was to put it in practice.