Loneliness is a vicious cycle. It happens when we feel like we can’t express our truth.
Whenever I find myself out of a situation where I was constantly critiqued (in a destructive, non-constructive way) and consistently seeking validation, there is a part of me that feels such relief – even if I’m heartbroken over the ending.
It’s just like stretching an inflexible body. Of course, it’s going to feel uncomfortable to stretch at first (it may even feel painful at times). But as you are stretching, there are certain muscles that finally, get to relax amidst the ones that are causing temporary discomfort from being stretched.
When it comes to your emotional muscles, unplugging from chaos is the ultimate exhale, however, the surrounding muscles (your triggers) will get tested and cause pain. And if you don’t know how to give that pain a purpose, you’ll start feeling lonely and depressed; like you are socially isolated even when surrounded by talkative people.
This quarantine has literally unplugged you from life as you knew it.
It has removed much of the chaos of our daily lives and replaced it with the kind of uncertainty that would make anyone miss even the most dysfunctional aspects of an existence that temporarily, does not exist.
Yet, somewhere, deep down… there is a relief to be found, a certainty to implement, and peace to be experienced. There is a light within that no matter how much your fear, other people’s bullsh*t, and your insecurities try to dim, it can never be fully extinguished.
The purpose of this post is to get you to amplify that light. I can’t do it for you. Neither can your friends and family, a course, a seminar, or a TED Talk.
Only you can do this.
I am not into sensationalizing, fear-mongering or theatrics but I am into acknowledging that an unprecedented time like this will present you with *exactly* what other people (yourself included) are made of. And that reality can be extremely shocking and heartbreaking. It can also cause shame and anger.
How can your best friend be so needy right now?
How could you be so needy; so angry and reactionary?
How the hell could that family member blow up on you like that for no reason?
Why is your toxic ex now realizing what really matters? And how are you supposed to trust him/her?
You’re left with feeling lonely. Crippling loneliness.
And whenever you were feeling alone like this in the past, you’ve at least, been able to go out; to do everything that you temporarily cannot.
When it comes to dealing with loneliness, Mother Teresa once said:
“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love…”
I totally agree with this quote, but if you’re struggling in the love department, it makes having an absence of love (both self-love and love from others) seem like loneliness will kill you. This gives birth to fear and before we know it…
We’re giving second chances that were never earned, benefits of the doubt that aren’t needed, and allowing our loneliness to not only lower our standards, but endanger our health – both mentally and physically.
Experiencing loneliness is an extremely common emotion. However, because it varies in origin and complexity, it is unique to each individual. There is no common cause of loneliness, which makes the road to overcoming it, uncommon (and different) for everyone.
And as much as the cause has varied throughout my life when it comes to loneliness, these reminders have helped me keep my light amplified…
How to deal with loneliness and isolation
- We are taking precautions like never before when it comes to our health. Let this time be a reminder that we are just as susceptible and fragile with our mental health. We need to be just as cautious and just as quick to act on the smoke (red flags) that always leads to fire, as we are quick to act on someone sneezing in our direction.
- During times of distress, it’s perfectly normal to think about the people we could never get more than a crumb from. We know that the current state of affairs will work to our advantage in getting another crumb (maybe two?) of the attention, empathy, validation, response, and concern that we could never consistently get in a relationship with them. Emotional nostalgia sets in and we become vulnerable. And when we become vulnerable, we forget that crumbs are ALL these people will ever have to offer. Our thirst for the connection that we know they are not capable of, translates to them that we are more comfortable being their option than we are being the only option to ourselves. This is a time to band together, to have your own back, and to value the good – not dumb yourself down and wonder if the current circumstances can turn a weed into a rose.
- Don’t start thinking, “I feel so alone; I’m so lonely and life is short! He/she can change; I know it. In The Notebook, Alli came back to Noah. This is a sign to give him/her another chance.” NEWSFLASH: Life was just as short 2 months ago, it should not take a worldwide pandemic for someone to realize your worth, and Alli came back to Noah because he was someone who had proved that he was worth coming back to. He never dishonored her.
- Feeling lonely is normal – even more so when emotional isolation is matched with the kind of physical isolation that we are currently experiencing. Isolation is scary, but it was through isolation that I was able to completely change my mindset and my life years ago. Isolation and loneliness have a lot of firepower to them. Instead of allowing them to emotionally paralyze you and keep you mediocre and desperate, use them to sharpen your focus and gain the kind of self-respect that only discipline (keeping promises to yourself) can provide. I had to isolate myself years ago to change – to change my beliefs, to silence the outside noise that was robbing me of a life, and to gain the perspective I needed in order to evolve past everyone who doubted my ability to.
- When you feel like everything is out of your control, focus on the things that you will always have control over: whether or not you choose to react or respond, what you put in your mouth, your belief system, and how much you move your body. You have a choice, right now, to take complete ownership of these things or, give in and lose respect for yourself.
- You will overcome loneliness by making others feel less alone. I am living proof of this. I connect with people all around the world, every day. Connect with and help as many people as you can.
And remember, everything comes to an end… Everything.
Make sure that when this ends, you come out of it a survivor instead of a victim; self-validated instead of validation-dependent, and with an allergy to toxicity instead of an attraction to it.
The New Year may be another eight months away, but the time to make these resolutions is now.
We have each other and you are never, ever alone.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.