Do you ever feel like you are the neediest person on earth? Do you look for things to “fill” you every day? If so, perhaps you are like the rest of us.
We, all of us human persons, are forever searching to fill what Pascal called a “God-shaped hole” within our hearts.
A Depressing Idea?
Do we place unrealistic expectations on those with whom we live to fill this void in our hearts? Or do we place unrealistic expectations upon our friends, with the idea that we should always be everyone’s “best” friend, and therefore the first one to be consulted and considered in every circumstance?
Perhaps we are unfair in this aspect. We lash out at those closest to us when we undergo feelings of hurt or loneliness. We expect our spouse to read our mind and come immediately to save us from our sorrows. But are we showing similar compassion to them?
If we examine our hearts—really examine our hearts—we may find that nothing, and no one, can or ever will completely satisfy us. This idea doesn’t sound new, because we may have heard it from our childhood: “only God can really understand us, only God brings true happiness”.
If we have heard so much that we find the phrase ingrained into our memory, we are fortunate indeed.
Yet this idea may sound depressing and we may find that we desire a new, more concrete explanation for our troubled feelings. We don’t like to accept that only God brings real happiness, because we depend on the joy of being with others to keep us going. We yearn to be understood and loved, exclusively and entirely.
Why else does it hurt our pride to be left out, forgotten, or misunderstood?
Why are we on a constant quest of explaining ourselves, and worrying that others have misread our true feelings? There seems to be an unspoken fear within all of us that cries out that we will never be understood, that we will not be the center of attention, and therefore we cannot ever be truly happy.
Truly Understand Me!
It can be incredibly frustrating (and sometimes hurtful to others) when we pour out our anger and sorrows upon an unsuspecting victim, expecting consolation, and only receiving indifference in return. Or worse, we may receive a correction if we are at fault. Why, oh why, we mourn, is there no one who understands me and can read my soul… even my parents, or my spouse?
How easily we justify ourselves and condemn others. And how quickly we create an atmosphere of self-pity within our souls, which is difficult to eradicate and more dangerously, develops into an indifference to our sins. We think: we should not be the one to ask for forgiveness. We only need to be understood correctly and then everyone would see how wronged we have been.
This mindset is dangerous indeed, for when our self-justification extends beyond our need to ask for forgiveness, then our own delusions can create a mental cycle of self-pity which truly does rob us of all joy.
A Profound Peace
Only by coming face to face with Christ will we realize our fault, and our desperate need of His love and mercy. Only by speaking to Him and listening with a humble heart, do we begin to realize our true worth, and that yes, we are made for an exclusive, personal, and perfect love which can only be glimpsed here and now.
Yet He does desire that we begin to experience this relationship now, and to know of His total and personal love for each of us through a deep life of prayer. If we do not stand firm on this conviction, we will surely go insane, ceaselessly competing and comparing for the entirety of our mortal lives.
Only when Jesus remains in our hearts, and we rely on Him as our rock of support, can we let go of our selfish demands of others. We can rest assured that someone truly understands our needs, desires and fears. Someone cares, and someone wants to help us live joyfully despite our failings. He will not judge us, or think ill of us due to our mundane conversation or lack of spontaneity.
He sees into our hearts and knows all that we yearn for and all that we are going through.
Let’s work to free others from some of our selfish expectations, and therein we will discover greater happiness and peace. Let us ask for the grace to not read into things, and not to look for ways that others have wronged us.
Let us expect the best of another’s intentions, and learn to be happy being ourselves in front of them. It is okay if we don’t connect with every person in our community, but what is important is that we make an effort to reach out to those persons with whom we are in contact every day.
Let us ask God to place within our minds a profound peace in knowing of His all-encompassing love for us, and to believe in it with all of our heart, soul and strength.
Tunnel image © Mangojuicy / Dollar Photo Club