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Have you ever found yourself staring at the person across the table and felt as if they were a total stranger?

It’s an unsettling discovery for many that the person with whom they share their house, children, and life will never know who they truly are.

It can happen at any time and to anyone.

Most people feel the need to do something about it. Run away. Get divorced. Start an affair.

I often deal with the clients seeking guidance around the challenge of feeling alone while being surrounded by others. This is also something that I often have to deal with myself seeing that my conditioned pattern of behaviour is prone to steer me towards being an outsider.

Once we come to grips with the fundamental truth about what it means to be a human being, we learn to view our aloneness from a totally different perspective.

Nobody, not even your soulmate or that friend that shares the same perceived experiences can feel what we feel and therefore we should stop expecting others to understand us and “be with us” all the time. This realization leads us to the conclusion that all people (your spouse also) are existentially alone.

This truth implies that we should let go of any expectations that our partner must always be one with us and experience what we are feeling. Conversely, this relieves us of the burden of trying to do the same for them, which, if not achieved, always leads to needless guilt.

The more disconnected we are with ourselves, the greater the need for someone else to join us inside of our unique emotions and mind.

It is important to see how easily we can turn our own insight of existential aloneness into a disaster by telling ourselves that we are not understood and therefore loved by our partners.

I often realize the futility of trying to get anyone to be with me in my inner world. While people can share many things, and get very close to each other, the plain truth is that they can only know each other on the surface. Their inner beings are strictly off-limits by virtue of their very humanity.

Existential aloneness can be a source of great strength as well as a source of big unease. The discomfort caused by it can serve as a motivation to look at the parameters of your own reality.

Should any of this ring true for you then I invite you to halt your lifelong, futile effort to have a partner and children feel what you are feeling. Instead, use your existential aloneness as a source of strength and a call for an inner connection. People who have had the greatest impact on mankind, who have helped the greatest number of people are those who have consulted their own inner feelings, rather than doing what everyone else said they should do.

In this context, strength means being able to stop trying to get everyone else to feel what you are feeling, and stand up for what you believe.

No man is an island that can function entirely as an antisocial hermit, but internally we are islands, unique unto ourselves, and coming to grips with this idea will help all of us build bridges to others, rather than erecting barriers by being upset when we see that others are not like us.