A Parable for the Lonely

Parable for the Lonely by Em Capito, LCSW

Parable for the Lonely

The Undoing

I find myself alone. Again.
I am exhausted from the weight of life.
I cannot go on like this.
What if I must go on like this?

I am doing everything right!
I am a wonderful person.
I have attracted wonderful people.
I do so much!
And, still, no one chooses me.

How simple it has been all along!

It is the doing that keeps me from being.
It is the doing that recreates this cycle.
It is the doing that triggers insecurity and fear in others.
They feel the obligation, the need, emanating from me.

Do as I do, I ask, unknowingly.
Give yourself fully to me, as I do to you.
Be dependent on my love and approval, as I am on yours.
Carry this burden with me.

They see a powerful, independent, generous person.
They feel a lonely victim trying to share the weight of their past.
They witness me shift, twist and pretzel into their perfect person.
The fear of being alone is now so obvious in my doing.

There is no real love in the doing.
There is only need and fear.
I can never do enough to con a healthy partner into carrying my burden.
It is not their burden.

If they could, they would say:

I cannot help you with this.
Set it down.
Be free.
Then we can be free together.

You will have no need of me, and no fear of my abandoning you to an impossible weight, because you will be weightless.

You will love that freedom so dearly, that you will gladly give it to all those you love.

You will not wish to burden anyone with your past, your present, or your future, especially yourself.

You can be weightless.
Happy just as you are.

But under the boulder, I only hear:

I will not help you.
I will take advantage of your generosity.
And then I will leave you crumbling under the weight that life has given you, just as everyone else has and will.
You are not enough.

Blindly I carried it onward, and tried to do more in order that I might one day be enough.

I polished the boulder. I embraced it.
I called it my own.
It was part of who I was.

Until I finally saw another struggling under their boulder.
I recognized that I do have a choice now.
The boulder is only holding me back.

I set it down.

What has happened to me is not still happening to me.
What has happened is long gone in the past.
I cannot change it.
The boulder does not mean anything except that meaning which I ascribe to it.
It is just a boulder.
It was such a part of me that I was scared to see it as separate and let it go.

I thank it for strengthening me.
But I am ready to be free.

I am weightless.
I need no one to save me.
So I naturally stop doing.
A free being, I love without fear or need.

I see other weightless people who can finally reach me, be close with me.
We love freely, because there is no weight between us.
No demands, no expectations, no weight to carry.

The doing was self-serving.
The doing was driven by fear.

Love is freedom.

So many have loved me.
So many do love me.

So many did not actually use or abandon me.
They simply could not carry my boulder.
They had to love me from a distance;
waiting for me to set it down so that they could embrace me freely.

I see now with more relief than I had ever hoped for:
I have been surrounded by an abundance of freely given love the entire time.

  1. Thanks, Tamara! Yes! That is an insightful way to describe the difficulty: the boulder is not who I am. Just something I am carrying and can choose to let go of.

  2. Em,

    All I can say is wow! Your words moved me and I resonated with your words on a VERY deep level. That abandonment trance we can all get into given heavy burdens of responsibility we learned as a matter of survival in our childhoods are hard to put down because they form a bedrock of our identity. If no one helps us understand that carrying the boulder is not who we are, it is difficult to want to let it go because what is there to replace it? Becoming overidentified with that part of us takes up so much room that it isn’t obvious why other things are having a hard time taking root. . . thank you for sharing a vulnerable part of yourself. I appreciated your bravery! It has helped me.

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