Five steps out of loneliness

Over many years a young man had grown accustomed to taking five mental steps that, as he later came to see, brought considerable loneliness into his life. On his arrival—say, at the company cafeteria, a party, a business gathering, or a new job—he would:

(1) Affirm to himself that he would like to be somewhere else; (2) confirm what he had dreaded—he knew no one there; (3) convince himself that nobody seemed to notice or need him; (4) observe that everyone else seemed self-assured and happy while he languished in a fearful sense of inadequacy; and (5) decide that most of the people were of a different age or social group and thus would have nothing in common with him.

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Spiritual honesty
November 2, 1981
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