If you are struggling with loneliness, you are not alone.
Every person experiences feelings of isolation from time to time.
Being alone and being lonely are not the same thing. It is very healthy for each of us to create some “alone time” every day, away from the external commotion and daily demands of family and work. Alone time, in this sense, feels good because we are honoring our need to nurture and regenerate ourselves through our mind/body connection with Spirit and to feel the peace that lies within the silence.
Feeling lonely, on the other hand, generally does not feel pleasant. It is accompanied by a sense of sadness and disconnection from other people and life in general. Being around a lot of people is not necessarily an antidote to loneliness. In fact, loneliness can feel even more intense when we are in a crowd of people or in an unhappy personal relationship. Ironically, even in our present world of technology where millions of people can connect 24/7 via email, Facebook, and Twitter, we can still find ourselves feeling intensely lonely. How can this be?
In order to understand why we are lonely, it is important
to become aware of what is causing it.
Sometimes people choose to be loners because of childhood developmental factors:
- If one has been abandoned by one or both parents, there is a strong tendency to be reluctant to commit to intimate relationships.
- Being raised by critical or unaffectionate parents may cause a person to be emotionally withdrawn.
- If one has been raised in a family environment of substance abuse, there is a likely tendency to become distrustful of others.
Even without these factors, some people feel innately disconnected and simply never learn to communicate well or have a low self-esteem and avoid socializing for fear of being rejected.
There are also many situational factors in life that can cause us to feel alone:
- It could be that you are experiencing the deep, irreplaceable loss that comes with the death of a loved one.
- Suffering from a disability or long-term disease can cause one to feel that no one else could possibly understand how much courage and endurance it takes to just survive on a daily basis.
- You may be experiencing the huge void that frequently comes with divorce, or you may be feeling alone in your exhaustive, seemingly never-ending search to find the ideal partner.
- It can also feel very isolating to change jobs or to relocate to a new area, perhaps causing you to leave family and familiar friends and co-workers.
- A financial set-back may leave you feeling that you are alone in a world with fewer choices than you once had. Maybe some social setbacks have caused you to believe that no one else would be interested in your company.
Understanding the many factors that cause loneliness helps us to understand why all of us, at one time or another, feel like we are all by ourselves in a sea of humanity. While any one and all of these situations and conditions are compelling reasons for feeling lonely, they are merely symptomatic of a much deeper loneliness that is being felt at a soul level by humanity at large. We are longing, at a core level, to connect with something infinitely larger than ourselves and return to the Oneness of Spirit.
The only way we can ultimately fill the void within our hearts
is through the energy of unconditional love.
So how can we heal our loneliness?
Pray and Meditate – Commit yourself to create at least 20 minutes of silence every day to pray and meditate. This is essential in order to remember that, no matter what you are experiencing, you are unconditionally connected with Universal Love.
Be compassionate and kind to yourself – Let go of the self-judgment and allow yourself to just BE. Every person on earth has “their story” of the infinite ways in which they are being challenged. Life is not a pass/fail contest – it’s all about becoming whole.
Change what you can change – Be your own best friend and ask yourself what you most need to feel less lonely. Would it help you to schedule more social time with friends? Join a special interest organization? Attend church? Join a spiritual community? Go to the health club? Volunteer with a local charity? Spend more time in nature? Get an animal companion? Whatever it is, be conscious of ways that you can best help yourself to enjoy life more and then act on it.
Accept what you cannot change – While it is true that we don’t get to pick all the circumstances that challenge us in life, we can always choose the attitude with which we experience this spiritual journey. Cultivating an attitude of focusing on the lesson rather than the problem will help you to maintain a positive attitude that will attract other people who have optimistic outlooks.
Most importantly, remember that you are NEVER ALONE. We are all brothers and sisters walking this earth together, and we all have the same mission – to integrate our minds and bodies with the love of Spirit. Each of us is doing the best we know to do for now – in our own time – and in our own way.
Love and Light,
Dearest Kindred Spirit,
I want to thank you for this wonderful and simple insight. I often feel very alone but not lonely. And have been building a relationship with myself first before committing to one. Feelings of abandonment always lingered in the background due to a very special childhood.
I keep trying to break the cycle of my infamous archetype “the victim”, oooh pitty me because i am special and alone and need friends. but it seems that i want attention or company when i am feeling this way. and never tend to be consistent with developing relations. I feel like a floating leaf on a crazy river that can relate to its turmoil but never sticks around. i just dont like to be attached to anyone any more!
yes! i am that scared!
i was thinking about buying one of your books!
what do you recommend!
Dear Sali: Thank you for your courage in writing this heartfelt response to my blog post on loneliness. Your fear of emotional abandonment, based on your childhood, is felt by so many people. I find it very significant that you say you are building a relationship with yourself before committing to someone else. This is a very healthy choice and tells me that you have already done alot of healing.
Also, your sense of humor about being aware of when you are in a “poor me” mood indicates that you are very aware of when you slip into a victim frame of mind. When you feel this way and need attention, close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths and ask yourself: “What do I most need right now that would help me to feel more peaceful, nurtured, and happy?” Doing this helps you to get in the habit of accessing your inner wisdom and fulfilling your true needs in a self-empowering way. You may be surprised at the answers you receive. It might be as simple as taking a nice, warm salt bath; taking a walk in nature; or having lunch with a kind friend. In other words, give yourself the attention you are craving by treating yourself with love and respect. By doing this you are, in essence, parenting your inner child the way you wish your parents would have done. The advantage, of course, is that your adult self knows your emotional needs better than any one else in the world.
As far as not wanting to be “attached” to anyone anymore, this is also a sign that you are becoming more healthy. “Attachment” to someone is a term that describes needing another person in an attempt to feel complete. Really healthy relationships result from each person who is within the relationship taking responsibility for his/her own healing and then combining their wholeness with another.
It sounds to me like you are moving in a very healthy direction, Sali.
Love and Light,
Thanks a lot ! I feel this is true. God bless you!
Thank you so much Sandra…in the midst of being lonely, it can be very difficult to know where to begin again…I will start applying this immediately!
I really agree that being comfortable and enjoying your own company is healthy but isolation can be very destructive. This blog, http://www.psychalive.org/2009/06/isolation-and-loneliness/, talks about the dark side of isolation which can be associated with loneliness and depression. This blog gives tips on actions you can take to get you out of this negative space.