“If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company” is a famous quote from Existentialist Jean Paul Sarte. I find that there is a lot to think about when I read it. First of all, it poses the questions; are you co-dependent or independent? Do you always need other people around to make you happy, or can you be satisfied when you are alone?
I think that is normal to crave others’ attention, reactions, and company. People, even introverts like myself, need some social interaction to remain happy and to prosper. But do you crave this attention to the point that whenever you are alone or bored you drive yourself crazy? Do you get lost in your own negative thoughts and spiral down an unhealthy mental path? I know that I have before. Because sometimes, when other people aren’t around, we hyper-focus on ourselves (and sometimes we hyper-focus on ourselves even when other people are around). We wonder and make assumptions about what other people are thinking about us, and compare those assumptions to the thoughts we already hold about ourselves. Usually, this turns into us sitting around the house, negatively comparing ourselves to others, and feeling worse and worse about ourselves. Why? Why does it turn out this way? Because we sometimes rely on other people to dictate for us the way we feel about ourselves. So many people are not conscious that we do this. But once we become conscious of it, it’s easier to stop the cycle.
Example: teen boyfriend says to teen girlfriend– “You are so beautiful.”
…And that’s all it takes. The girlfriend feels so fulfilled by this statement, and therefore feels that she always needs her boyfriend around. He makes her feel beautiful–and thus she allows the way her boyfriend feels about her to also dictate the way she feels about herself. When he is around, she feels that she is beautiful, and she really likes that. When he is not around, he isn’t there to tell her that she is beautiful, and she really does not like that. Somehow she doesn’t have the power to give herself confidence–only he does. She has let him into her head and now he has all power over her whether he realizes it or not.
What do you all think of the quote “hell is other people”? (also by Sartre)
I will talk more about that later.
We each have our own reality. The way I see things can be different from the way you do–we have different lives, live inside our own bodies, and so on. It’s important to realize that most of the things that others say and do is a reflection of their own reality. Don’t choose to be a victim of everything others say and do, and subject yourself to needless pain and suffering. The things that others say [about you] don’t always come from a truthful place, and to hyper-focus on those things is really an injustice to yourself! Don’t make that stuff part of your reality! The best thing you can do for yourself is to always seek the truth. Yes, always seek the truth. Never make assumptions, though.
Again, what is the significance of the statement “hell is other people”? This statement refers to the individuals whose sense of self comes predominantly from others’ judgments, thoughts, and beliefs. This person cannot look into themselves and see anything authentic, for their sense of self only contains things which are external (ie: others’ comments/thoughts). This person judges him/herself based on the way others think of them. To have a sense of self that is built on external sources is to not have a self at all. Not having a self is to feel lost and always at the mercy of other people. That is one version of hell. This hell has only been built by other peoples’ thoughts and assumptions that have been thrust upon you, and that is why hell is other people.
It is really hard for me to explain, and maybe I didn’t bridge the gap enough. Basically, if you let other people get into your head all of the time, and believe what they project onto you, you lose sense of your own authenticity.
To view my newest blog post on loneliness and the self, click here –> https://kristineserendipity.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/loneliness-a-feeling-or-an-illness/