Not good to be alone

Yesterday I blogged about the idea that being made in the image of God means that we need people. In Genesis, God says, "It's not good for a man to be alone."

Marriage is probably what most people think of when they read this verse. But I think it may be helpful to see this in terms of other kinds of relationships too. This story sets the scene for the beginning of all human society. There are many ways to be with others.

Joe Myers' four ‘spaces’ of belonging in life, public, social, personal and intimate are a framework to think about different kinds of relationships.

It is not good for someone to be alone – in the public space.
Why? You miss out on togetherness. There's no sense of belonging to a bigger picture. You miss out on difference. You’re a unique part of a bigger whole. You don’t see yourself in proportion. You miss out on interdependence - the wonderful feeling of a whole group achieving something bigger than you could do yourself.

It is not good for someone to be alone – in the social space
You miss out on togetherness – the feeling of belonging to ‘these people’. You miss out on difference – opportunities to get to know different others, to learn new information, to experience new things. You miss out on interdependence – the neighbourliness, the asking of little favours, being able to serve people in those ways.

It is not good for someone to be alone – in the personal space
You miss out on togetherness – the warm care and acceptance of others. Experiencing your own feelings, and sharing others’ joy and burdens. You miss the joy of a friendship, and the excitement of working towards something together. You miss out on difference – the fun of trying to understand your friends, learning from them. You miss the ability to demonstrate and receive grace. You miss out on interdependence Needing to need and be needed, the sharpening of your mind and refining of your character.

It is not good for someone to be alone – in the intimate space
You miss out on togetherness – the joy of being with someone who really loves you and sharing the deepest part of your soul. You miss out on difference – loving someone who is not you. You miss out on interdependence – the joy of being completely accepted, learning stronger lessons about love.