Misery Loves Company, Companies Love Misery

A friend told me that she was helping someone who is lonely because she is lonely, “I am one lonely person helping another lonely person. Lonely people stick together.”

Maybe that’s true. It seemed a contradiction to me. There were two people who consider themselves lonely, they were together, helping one another. I only know how she felt and I know she was feeding and keeping her loneliness close to her. To the outside eye they were friends together helping each other. Would we have been able to tell who was helping whom? Can we ever?

Sometimes even when we have a chance it is hard for us to let go of what we might think of as a defining emotion – “I’m angry, I’m sad.” We name our dogs and our children “joy” but we rarely define ourselves as joyful.

Does happiness feel like a solo occupation when you know that misery loves company? It’s a real question for me, and one for which I don’t have an easy answer. For myself, when I find anger or sadness taking root I do find it hard to remember that my default emotion is joy.

I wonder if my lonely friend does not believe she can feel anything else. Looking around, I see stores filled with solutions for every aggravation. I would never have to find my own solutions if I believe what is on all the labels. It looks like I need to depend on everyone and everything apart from myself.

We’ve created a world of answers, but what are the real questions?

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