Dear Dr. Norquist:
I do not feel as though I am enjoying life the way I could or should be. I’m going through the motions, not really living. I have a great family and great friends, yet I tend to push them away and feel I am better off alone (but I always feel lonely and ugly and all of that). I want to feel connected to God and the meaning of life … can you help me?
Dr. Norquist responds:
You have not yet experienced your loveableness. Love is the spirit and soul of life. Love is what gives life meaning. I’m not talking about love in the traditional romantic sense of the word. Love is an experience that we recognize inside ourselves. It melts away fear, self-consciousness, and any sense of separateness or aloneness that we feel. It opens us to experiencing the fullness, depth and richness of life. You do not have to do anything to be worthy of love. It is the essence of who you are. You just need to allow yourself to recognize and experience it.
Everyone has their own path to this experience, which is often described as feeling “connected to God”. The fact that you long for it is a good sign. The longing is the grace that starts you on the path. No one can tell you exactly how to have this experience. Loving and feeling loved unconditionally helps. Meditation and inner stillness helps. Compassion and heartfelt service helps, along with letting go of negative self-statements and negative behavior. Practice resisting the urge to push away your friends and family, and allow yourself to feel their love for you. Choose to see the best, and think the best of others and yourself. This will allow for a more positive daily experience.
Learn to listen inside to your needs, your feelings and your intuition. This will guide you on your quest. Pursue knowledge of spiritual and religious orientations that feel right to you. Let this lead you to people and churches or other spiritual organizations that feel right to you. There is no magic answer to your question. You have your own inner guide on this path. Start by practicing listening to what feels right, what “rings true” for you. God speed you on your journey!
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.)Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2012 Chaitanya Counseling Services