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Isolation

Isolation is a separation from oneself as much as from others. The isolation from one's true self keeps a person from connecting and contributing to the larger social order in more productive ways. People are isolated and defended by their own false identities. Out of their own fears, they erect walls to prohibit the connections they most desire. It is interesting that both existential beliefs of relatedness and isolation are important. Although people are ultimately alone, they have the potential to connect through relationships and find meaning.

Meaninglessness/Meaningfulness

Out of one's will to love and live, one arrives at meaning in one's life (May, 1969). In gaining a deeper awareness of oneself, one also gains a deeper sense of others. People's efforts to gain understanding involve confronting aspects of themselves before they develop the heightened sense of the world that gives their lives meaning. Yalom (2009) and Bugental (1978) described the despair of the reality of meaninglessness in the world. Nye (2008) asserted that in the search for meaning, a "tragic optimism" can emerge rather than increased suffering. People transcend – that is, find meaning in their world – by fully being aware of themselves. Truly being oneself involves being more integrated inwardly and outwardly.

It is my hope that by grasping, really grasping the human condition – our finiteness, our brief time in the light – we will come not only to savor the preciousness of each moment and the pleasure of sheer being but to increase our compassion for ourselves and for all other human beings. (Yalom, 2009, p. 277)

Paradoxically, as people become more open to their true feelings, they are better able to join with others and be one with the world. They are more able to love. Through transcendence, they also become more capable. When people are most truly themselves, they are also more creative, aware, and productive. Life is not as painful a struggle. People are more aware of the potentialities in their lives and within themselves. Meaning is implicit in discovering oneself and in one's awareness that one is not alone.

 
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