I think it is one of the most basic human desires to be truly known. I don’t mean just being recognized/remembered, having someone know your name when they see your face. I mean being truly known—understood for who you really are by another human being. The writers of that movie “Avatar” understood this. When the Na’vi people looked at each other and said, “I see you,” this connection is what they were expressing, because of course they SAW each other—they were looking right at each other—that wouldn’t need to be noted. No, they were expressing something much deeper than just physical seeing. Did you ever meet someone who just really “got” you right away? If you did, you probably recognized that right away as something rare and good, and you probably had an immediate and maybe lifelong connection with that person.
If a person is lucky he finds at least one other person in the world who he can say really knows him. Some are lucky enough to have several. I know that the search for this connection is the motivation for so many of the things that people do, whether they are aware of this motivation or not. For me, I know it is one of the reasons I write. All my life I have written thoughts down in order to process them, understand them myself and maybe—hopefully—make myself understood to at least one other person.
The lack of this experience, this connection is, in my opinion, what loneliness is. Loneliness has nothing to do with whether or not there are other people with you. That’s why a person can feel alone in a crowd, or even with one other person who should know him/her, but doesn’t really.
Worse though, than simply not being known, is being actively and purposefully not known, not understood—because someone values their own ideas and interpretations of you, more than they value you. They would rather keep these, than bother to find out about the real you.