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  • Paula Thompson
    Paula Thompson

    Why Companionship Matters: Searching for Understanding in All the Wrong Places

    Very often, we all find ourselves in a seemingly desperate search for someone to talk to and be with. Whether it’s seeking connection, albeit fleeting, with a stranger in a bar or investing far too much of ourselves in looking for something lasting and true with someone who is unavailable or uninterested, the desire for companionship can manifest itself in many different ways for many different people. In its most basic form, it’s an unshakeable need to be understood, and often times without it, we may find ourselves feeling isolated, misunderstood or unexpressed.

    The search for understanding can be tricky and confusing, especially when so often what we think we want is not what we need. We may look for validation from others, or maybe we want our partners to be exactly like us. In some cases, we may search for a bond that goes deeper than platonic, wishing to find a romance where one doesn’t exist.

    While it’s natural to crave companionship during certain points throughout our lives, something that can bring protection and comfort, the wrong kind of connections can bring danger and further confusion to already murky waters. This can make it hard to recognize when you’re making the right decisions. Consider it a red flag if you feel tied to somebody; any positive feelings you have should be based on wanting to be with them, to share experiences with them and learn from them - not needing validation from them. Check in with yourself, ask yourself if your needs are being met and remember to remain firm in your boundaries.

    It’s also important to talk to yourself kindly and analyse your own thoughts and behaviours. If things don’t feel right, then they usually aren’t. Are you engaging in destructive patterns such as seeking out harmful relationships, forming bonds that don’t serve your highest good? If you find yourself repeating these same unhealthy patterns, take note and consider therapy as a way to gain insight into bettering your relationship with yourself - which paradoxically is the key to finding giving and receiving healthy bonds with others.

    It’s okay if you don’t know how to live without having somebody to turn to. It’s okay to struggle and to ask for help and understanding if we are unable to provide these for ourselves. But it helps to be aware that when looking for the strength and support we (believe) someone else can offer us, it begins with surrendering to our own courage and grace. Take the time to explore what brings you joy and pleasure. Recognize that it’s not always easy to rate communicating with another, but finding someone to get to know - and be open to being known - can often provide unexpected rewards, even if it isn’t a lifelong friendship.

    Finding fulfilment and self-compassion begins within us. While it can be immensely rewarding to invest in a friendship, no matter how close or new, understanding our own needs and wants is more important than enduring attachment. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind. Listen to your intuition. Know that companionship is built upon genuine mutual respect and understanding - so look for that above anything else.

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