Welcome back to my series on LONELINESS.
Part 2: Why do we end up feeling lonely?
Let’s now look at turning towards LONELINESS.
For those of you who read part 1 of this series, you would have hopefully read my blog “How’s your relationship with your emotions?” If not, I want you to go back now and read this article to help support what you will read next. If you have, keep reading.
….welcome back! Now you know the importance of your relationship with your emotions. Formulating a healthy relationship will go a long way to reducing your suffering and improving your overall wellbeing.
Now let’s apply this to LONELINESS by looking at your current relationship with LONELINESS by answering the following questions (please take your time and really explore with curiosity your experience).
Do you struggle or fight with your experience of LONELINESS?
Do you tend to ignore it or fight LONELINESS (i.e., “I shouldn’t feel that way I have tonnes of friends”)?
Do you judge LONELINESS as bad, wrong, threatening or a reflection of you as weak, unlikable, incompetent?
Do you do certain things to get rid of your LONELINESS (e.g., drink alcohol, take drugs, binge eat, over exercise, binge watch Netflix, etc.)?
If you answered YES to most, if not all of the above questions, don’t be concerned, there is something you can do about it. But first….
What impact does this type of relationship with LONELINESS (struggle, fight, ignore, suppress, judge) have on yourself, on your important relationships, on your ability to engage fully in your day-to-day life, or to do the things that matter in your life?
I am guessing for most of you this type of relationship with LONELINESS is rife with negative consequences, some of which may include the following:
- Frustration that LONELINESS keeps showing up despite your efforts to ignore and/or fight it. It just keeps coming back like a boomerang.
- Possibly a sense of defectiveness or weakness for experiencing LONELINESS….what’s wrong with me? swimming around in your mind
- Triggering or perpetuating depression and anxiety.
- Further away from the actions needed to help overcome LONELINESS – further disconnection from people and now yourself.
- Possibly struggling with addictive behaviours to try and suppress the feelings of LONELINESS, but now creating further suffering in your life and disconnection from others.
- Spontaneous emotional outbursts of sadness without any knowledge as to why.
If you read my previous article on relationships with emotions (go back now if you didn’t) you’d know that often this unhealthy relationship with LONELINESS was formed out of what you witnessed in your early formative years. Take a few minutes now to answer the following questions on your early life experiences of LONELINESS:
What messages did you receive growing up about LONELINESS?
What were you told about experiencing LONELINESS? Was it a good or bad thing?
What ways were you taught to handle your emotions in general?
How did the adults in your life handle LONELINESS? What behaviours did you observe them doing to deal with being LONELY?
For some of us our childhood programming for how to process and respond to LONELINESS wasn’t all that helpful. So, it’s not really your fault that you find yourself in this predicament of an unhealthy relationship with LONELINESS, however it is your responsibility to change it!
Tune in next week for the final instalment of this series on LONELINESS: How to overcome LONELINESS.
Lim, Michelle, H. Dr (Aug, 2018). Is Loneliness Australia’s Next Public Health Epidemic? InPsych, Australian Psychology Society (APS), Vol 40 (4).
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