Are You Feeling Lonely?

23 comments

Are you feeling lonely this holiday?

Loneliness is one of the worst feelings in the world. So many people feel alone, and holidays–since it seems as if everyone besides you is happy and warm–enhance these feelings.

are you lonely?

I am aware this season of so many people feeling incredibly lonely for all kinds of reasons. I know many of them personally. And my heart has been breaking.

Sometimes people can feel lonely in a crowded room and others can feel totally comfortable home alone all day.

(Being alone is not inherently an issue. Many ancient sages or meditation masters can be alone and content. However, this is after they have gone beyond individual ego, when they no longer feel separation from Oneness of the Universe.)

But for most of us humans, biologically and emotionally, we are social beings. We live in communities because we need to. We can’t do everything alone and we are interdependent. Collaboration is our biggest survival skill. Our species would die off without it. If you are alive, odds are you have given or received help in some way.

We also long to be needed by others. Since this gives us worth and purpose.

Lonely individualistic culture

We have contradictory ideas in this culture, that we are weak if we can’t do things independently. But nobody, least of all successful people, does everything alone. Think of the top executives–they don’t do things alone. Doctors don’t do surgery alone. World leaders don’t lead alone. Independence is overrated.

Also, co-dependence has gotten a bad rap from substance abuse recovery terminology. Think of the word literally outside of recovery’s negative connotation. It quite accurately describes life in my family.

I don’t know anyone who does everything alone. I definitely don’t.

Unfortunately we hold ourselves to high independent expectations. It lowers our sense of worth when we hold ourselves to this impossible standard.

Being Lonely

Lonely is totally different. Lonely is upsetting. It brings a melancholy, or worse, depression. Lonely is isolation, it breeds negative self identity, increasing sadness and anxiety. When we feel lonely, we feel like nobody loves us. Then, we remember all of the evidence that points to this fact. (And for some reason, our mind gets empty of all the evidence that we are loved.)

Even if none of the negative self image is true, when we are alone, sad and anxious, each of these thoughts can take on a life of their own, twisting through our memories to find even more evidence of why they are true. Pushing us further into our sadness and firming our commitment to even more isolation.

The Power of Negative Thoughts

When we feel alone, our mind gets has huge power over us and our self critic is dangerously not interrupted. Sometimes our loneliness increases our self critic, and sometimes our self critic increases our loneliness.

Let me explain.

Sometimes people feel alone because they believe there is something wrong with them that makes them unworthy of companionship, not good enough for relationships, or unlovable. On some level, they conclude that this is why people are mean to them, criticize them and blow them off. It feels so vulnerable.

This actually happens to all of us, but the more you feel negatively about yourself, the worse it is. Usually, it’s something from your past–difficult relationships or events–that has you feeling this way.

Some people have described this to me as a “darkness inside.” They feel like they live in fear people will find out “who they really are.” They feel this darkness with every fiber of their being, and it is more truth to them than anything solid in the room in front of them. This dark feeling brings with it an incredible amount of fear for the world and shame for who they are.

Did you ever feel this bad?

When you are upset inside and going about life, you get the sense that nobody can see how bad you feel. Nobody can see the darkness. You feel invisible and unacknowledged. You think you are hiding it and maybe are terrified to be discovered.

It separates you from the world. If nobody knows how bad you feel, then nobody can truly see you.

And you feel lonely. Something that seems like such a HUGE part of you is hidden away.

Dealing with Loneliness

You may think that nobody knows how bad you feel, and you don’t really want anyone to know, yet another part of you desires with all of your sadness that someone could understand. But you have no faith that anyone would or might care. Then no matter how many loving people are around you telling you that they love you, you will feel alone because if they knew you fully they wouldn’t love you. (As if you don’t deserve love given under these assumed false pretenses.)

And this loneliness will give you incredible suffering added to the dark feeling.

Loneliness is becoming an epidemic, says Canada’s Globe and Mail. They said 40 percent of Americans describe themselves as lonely. Yet another consequence of our individualistic culture.

This does not surprise me. We desire relationship above all else–acknowledgement is how we heal, and that happens in relationships. Connect heals us and separation breaks us up.

Have you ever felt that you are outside looking in a window at a party going on? And you feel instinctively that you don’t belong. And you long to go in there because it looks warm and happy, but it feels way too scary to because people might see you for who you really are and realize you don’t belong. (You assume you are this darkness you feel.) You feel separate, undeserving or unable to be part of the party.

Do you pretend that you are OK?

And everyone else around seems better than you?

Take it from me, someone who gets to hear the secrets–everyone else is pretending, too. Yes, of course they are OK sometimes, just like you are OK sometimes, but during times when they feel bad about themselves, they feel just like you: like there is a darkness inside that feels overwhelming and that nobody knows.

Believe me, the people who love you see the real you–maybe better than you see yourself. The darkness you feel is guilt and fear, not essentially who you are. They see the light in you and THAT is the real you.

They do see who you are. If you are isolating yourself, stop! Reach out to someone. You don’t have to worry about trusting them. You just have to worry about trusting yourself.

mother teresa loneliness quote

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
~Mother Teresa

Watch my video about how to deal with loneliness.

loneliness asks you to find yourself

How about you? What do you do when you are lonely?


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23 Comments

My Inner Chick

Wonderful Advice, Jodi.

Thank you for being a light in this dark world.

Merry Christmas!! Xxxx
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Jodi Aman

It’s been a hard year with tons of tragedy to so many close to me. But I still see the light. And I’m going to stay focused on it! Xoxo

Harleena Singh

Hi Jodi,

Yes, I’ve also been reading and hearing a lot about how this holiday season can be a lonely one for so many people, but there’s a vast difference between being alone and lonliness. You gave some lovely advice how they can leave their loneliness behind and do something to feel better.

Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂

Jodi Aman

I think you wrote recently about this, too! A very good post! I keep them All in my hearts. That’s all I can do.

Kelly Hashway

I know a few people who feel alone around the holidays. I really feel for them. Holidays should be good times spent with loved ones. It breaks my heart to see people yearning for lost loved ones and not able to overcome that loss and loneliness they are left with.
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Jodi Aman

People grieve at their own pace. However, all too often, there’s judgment that makes it all worse! Once this is eliminated people can begin to find some peace.

lisa thomson

What an important topic, especially this time of year. Yes, I’ve definitely been there. I’ve been lonely in my marriage. I’ve been lonely in my friendships (in the past). Writing and reading has always eased my loneliness. But going further and reaching out to good people can really make a difference and show us that we are worthy. We are all worthy of love.

I love the part in Home Alone, where Kevin meets the old neighbor at the church by chance. He finds out how lonely the man is and even gives him advice to reach out to his son. It’s a symbolic moment in the movie.
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Jodi Aman

I have felt lonely so much in my life, and now I can see why. The perspective has changed everything, but on bad days I still go there. Hope you have wonderful holidays! Xo

Nikky44

I am feeling lonely this holiday, but this feeling is not justified because I’m feeling spoiled too. It’s an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude for all the support and love I got from everyone.

The part I don’t agree with is “since it seems as if everyone besides you is happy and warm” because this is my consolation during this time. The more people are safe and happy around, the happier I get. It might make me feel “different” “not normal””difficult to please” but not lonely. It enhances my anger towards myself.
“Sometimes people can feel lonely in a crowded room and others can feel totally comfortable home alone all day.” I feel both. The more people around, the more people I have in my life, the lonelier I feel because of the “false belief” that no one understands, whereas alone at home, I feel I can be myself, I have no expectations, no need to be different, no need to please anyone or do anything. I feel free to be.

It’s true that no one can do everything alone. The reason why I have always kept trying to “do it alone” is fear of judgment, the fear of not being good enough.

“You may think that nobody knows how bad you feel, and you don’t really want anyone to know, yet another part of you desires with all of your sadness that someone could understand” For me, this says it all. I desperately need to let the people I love know how deep the suffering is, and at the same time, I do the best I can to hide it and pretend I am OK. It would be such a relief to stop pretending, to stop hiding, to say things as they are, to cry when I hurt and laugh when I feel like it and yell when I’m angry and ask for help when I need it without being ashamed for needing it.

“Believe me, the people who love you see the real you–maybe better than you see yourself. The darkness you feel is guilt and fear, not essentially who you are. They see the light in you and THAT is the real you.” I LOVE that. I love to believe it, but is it real? I know you do. I know there are others that do too, but unfortunately it is so rare that people accept to “see” a person through the eyes, beyond their life or circumstances or appearance. People who know “me” are so rare. For the majority, we are labeled, things like “the fat one” the abused woman” “this depressed person” “the sick one”.

Thank you Jodi. I have read this post many times already and it helps to know that I’m not alone, that people understand. Love you.

Jodi Aman

You’ve got it mixed. The majority see the real you and only a small number of limited people have labeled you these things. (Because of your own limits.) You know this cognitively but still feel the opposite is true. It’s because it’s your story and so you see just that. If you stop seeing yourself that way, they won’t be able to. X

Nikky44

i want to be the person you believe I am. I don’t want to live my story anymore, don’t want to be “me”

Tat

I don’t feel lonely anymore, but I used to. Improving my relationship has definitely been the key for me. Now I enjoy my own company and I also find it a lot easier reaching out when I need to (although reaching out is still not a strength of mine).

Jodi Aman

Relationships really are so connected with how we feel about ourself! So glad to see you around here! Hope the babe’s doing well!

totsymae1011

I may have transitioned into sage stage. I just don’t feel that aloneness associated with the holidays anymore. I don’t think so much about me because this holiday isn’t about me anyhow. I’m feeling really good about that too. Plus, I’ve got Beatrice keeping me company and she’s a real good time kinda girl. 🙂
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Monica

Beautifully written, thoughtful piece. I hope those who need it can take solace and comfort in the advice, knowing that it came from the exquisite light inside you, Jodi. Cheers!
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Marie

Very good tips and advice Jodi.
I felt a lot like this for many years. Then I decided it was time to get out of this place of worry, fear and sadness. I reached out to people. I found solace in trusting the words they said to me. I still find myself a bit lonely sometime, but I know what to do. Thank you for sharing your light Jodi.
Take care

Bella

Jodi, what a wonderful post! Having read it, I feel like my IQ went up a couple of points! That’s what I love so much about your blog–it’s educating, insightful, and full of compassion. Rare qualities in the world we live in. Nevertheless, I’m glad you made the distinction between being alone and feeling lonely. So many people seem to confuse the two. What I most love about this post is how you mention that going beyond ego allows a person to be one with the Universe. So true! I remember when I was young, I would sometimes tell nana, “None of my friends are here. I feel so alone!” Nana would wisely reply, “Child, you are never alone. God is always with you.” Ah, how I miss that wonderful sage! Happy New Year 2014, Jodi! 🙂
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Nikky44

Sometimes I believe I messed up with someone and did something wrong that ruins everything. I decide to stay away. Like it’s easier to step back rather than let the other person leave. That is when I get the worst feeling of loneliness.

Jodi Aman

We all do that. Not just you. That’s why I wrote this. It’s just self doubt and fear making things up again. Try not to make decisions based on self doubt.

Maneesha Malhotra

Hi Jodi Aman, It’s really nice to meet you ! Well Jodi if I talk about your post so yes I’m truly feeling lonely & I have been feeling lonely not for this holiday. I’m feeling lonely Because of my life 🙁

Jodi Aman

I am so sorry Manessha, I am sending you a big hug!

Nikky44

This is one of my favorite posts. I sometimes still feel lonely, but not like in the past. I used to be lonely and alone. I could do nothing about it. Now I feel lonely, but I’m no longer alone. So when I get these sad feelings, I do something that makes me feel closer to the people I love, something that reminds me that I’m not alone, I am loved, these are just emotions and they will pass <3

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