Lonely Hearts Club

The lonely hearts club. This concept, this reality places me in a pensive mood. I am aware and sensitive to folks of unknown numbers who are characterized by the following: The individual has carved out a rich (not necessarily monetarily speaking) work-career life and yet silently realizes an emotionally somewhat empty life outside of work.

This characterization is not exacting, not black and white. Each has her/his story which has not been revealed. Each individual’s story is complicated by obstacles that obstruct holistic growth.

Again, unknown numbers, for example, go to work, express their diligence, devotion and still effectively and later return to an empty home. That empty home may house others, family, roommates for example. The emptiness refers pointedly to the individual’s emotional state, the inner workings. Some pour out their heart and soul at work in touch with deep myriad feelings yet return home to experience numbness. The contrast sometimes is deeply entrenched. At home, the individual feels robotic/mechanical. Strong attachments and deep intimacy may be unavailable and therefore, missing.

I think about a person in the medical field whose specialty meant daily life and death experiences with patients. This person was proficient at work, highly capable and even able to feel emotions for the patients and their family members. This was the ideal person for the job. Yet, this same person, after long work hours, went home to an empty place, no people and no pets. A quickly prepared meal ensued and bedtime followed only to repeat the aforementioned for each work day. Days at home were replete with housekeeping, bill paying, occasional family visits. One more piece to ponder, this person silently longed for intimacy. There was no one to share the exuberance of an exciting work life. This person was, admittingly, emotionally starving. The self-doubt expressed was, again, in contrast to the animated expression of work life. In short, this person’s life was out of balance.

The emotional deprivation is necessarily a purposeful or even a conscious experience. A story needing to unfold may reveal a painful past, emotional wounds insulated over time for self-preservation or survival. This person performs a masterful feat of protecting his/her heart from real or perceived hurt. Hurt your body, you naturally protect it to prevent additional pain. Hurt our emotions, you protect the soul. Energy is invested into work and career, leaving little time for the balance of personal-emotional intimacy.

Taking a risk and seeking counsel may enhance and balance the flavor of one’s life. Reaching out for assistance, remember, can be a courageous and healthy overture for well being. Best of health.

Marshall Greenstein holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and is a licensed marriage and family counselor and a licensed mental health counselor in New York state. He has regular office hours at Hutton and Greenstein Counseling Services, 501 E. Third St., Suite 2B, Jamestown, 484-7756. For more information or to suggest topics, email editorial@post-journal.com.