The Remedy for Loneliness
2020 was one of the most lonely years in history. Many of us chose to remain at home during the many lockdowns. Anecdotally I have found that introverts cope with isolation better than outgoing. Even introverts can feel some loneliness at this time. This is a great time to confront and find a solution to our loneliness.
First, let’s look at the mythology around loneliness. First, there is the myth that being lonely means you are alone. This myth is entirely false. You can spend long or even in deliberate solitude without feeling lonely. We need to learn how to be loved and popular to avoid loneliness. This is the second most damaging myth. This myth can be debilitating as it makes us feel unworthy and can lead to dangerous depressive episodes. The third most common myth centers on the “if only”: Everything would be fine if I only had friends. If I could only find a partner, I would be fine. I would have friends and find a partner if I were a better person. Then I’d be okay. These “if only” statements are based on my belief that I can only be okay if there are friends, a partner, or if I become a better (i.e., more likable) person.
All of us need emotional support. We all need a solid group of people who are there for us, even small ones. The last “if only” is what puts the cart before it. You see, other people can’t solve loneliness. It’s counterintuitive. It’s true. The cure for loneliness is to be with yourself. This is the first. After that, the support group follows.
Many of us will often accept abusive or toxic relationships because we fear being alone. We fear loneliness because it is one of the most distressing and painful feelings. We are willing to do whatever it takes to feel supported. Despite all the laughter and parties, we will eventually realize we are still alone.
Why? Because there is no relationship with the self. What does it mean to have a relationship with oneself? When we were introduced to our parents and families in the early stages of our lives, we intuitively knew what they wanted. We were too vulnerable to say no to these expectations, so not to feel lonely, we absorbed the projections of our families and parents for us to be accepted. We lose our identity with our true selves in this way. It was gone, and we became the person they wanted us to be.
As adults, we still try to please our loved ones in the same manner and behaviors as our parents. We often do the same thing repeatedly, hoping for different results from our parents. We don’t realize that our authentic selves call us home whenever we reach a brick wall with these behaviors.
It is essential to feel at home within our bodies, minds, emotions, and behaviors. This feeling of being at home with your body, mind, and emotions is the cure for loneliness. A strong sense of self is essential. It is not about what others expect or project on you but what feels right to your more profound spirit, deeper soul, and self.
Once this is done, finding other people who can relate to you is possible. Even if we are with other people, we don’t know ourselves. So how can we truly relate to them? Only when we first belong to ourselves can we genuinely belong to others?