Posted on March 27, 2013
by Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
Sometimes people can feel lonely in a crowded room and others can feel totally comfortable home alone all day.
Alone is not inherently an issue. Many ancient sages or meditation masters can be alone and content. But this might be after they have gone beyond individual ego, and 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 a communities because we need to.
We can’t do everything alone. We need help. 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 have contradictory ideas in this culture, that we are weak if we can’t do things independently.
But nobody, least of all successful people, do everything alone. Think of the top executives- they don’t do things alone. Same for life saving doctors- they don’t do surgery alone.
Think of world leaders-they don’t do things 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.
We all need each other and are there for each other. I don’t know anyone who does everything alone. Then why do we hold ourself to this standard?
I’ll tell you why. It is usually a question of worth.
It is usually a sign that some has a low sense of self worth, when they feel like they should be doing things alone. It’s a judgment against themselves.
On the other hand, lonely is totally different. Lonely is usually 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. We remember all of the evidence that points to this fact. (And for some reason, our mind gets empty of all the evidence against it.)
Loneliness makes us think:
I ruin everybody else’s life.
I can’t call anyone because I will be bothering them.
Nobody wants to hear from me.
I make bad decisions, I just shouldn’t make anymore.
I don’t know how to act in social situations.
I am awkward.
I have nothing to offer.
I’m a dork.
I mess up everything.
I can’t do anything right.
I can’t trust anyone.
I hurt people.
Everyone hurts me.
I am worthless.
I am unlovable.
Nobody wants me there.
Everybody leaves me.
Any of these sound familiar?
Even if none of these are true (which I can assure you they aren’t!), 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.
How to Deal With Feeling Lonely
If you feel this way, get to another person as fast as you can.
Go against everything you are thinking about yourself and reach out to someone.
You think you might feel worse, but it will make you feel better.
You don’t have to tell them how you are feeling, just talk about anything.
Even if it is the weather. You just have to get out of your head.
You know this works because it probably has worked in the past.
Don’t delay this time.
How about you? What do you do when you are lonely?
Get my free E-book: What Is UP In Your DOWN? Being Grateful in 7 Easy Steps.