Causes of loneliness. The three phases of loneliness. How to overcome the inner emptiness and feel connected with others again?
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Loneliness, inner emptiness, the feeling of being superfluous and unloved: why do we feel lonely, how can we prevent loneliness and what can we do when we feel lonely??
What is loneliness?
Loneliness has taught me that being with others is something quite beautiful. And being with others has taught me that loneliness is something quite beautiful.
Not all people can find something positive in loneliness. Most people experience loneliness and being alone as very painful and stressful. So Sandra, a client of mine. She experiences her aloneness and loneliness that way:
I am so lonely. My loneliness eats me up from the inside. It’s a feeling like sitting in a dark room all alone. I long so much for love and security. No one has taken me in their arms for years. I no longer know what to do. For 6 years, since I have been working, I have had colleagues, but I have never managed to get to know any of them properly. I talk to almost no one, unless someone talks to me.
Somehow I have always been shy, am totally insecure and anxious when dealing with other people. When I see couples, tears come to my eyes. This is hell. Everyone has someone but me. What is wrong with me that I am so unlovable?? Emotional music like Xavier Naidoo gives me the creeps. I sit in my apartment in the evening and brood about myself. I have no strength at all anymore. What sense does life still make?
Many people, including younger people, feel lonely, unloved, left alone and cut off from life. The loneliness and isolation is just as painful for them as a physical illness.
Many people confuse loneliness with being alone. You think you are bound to feel lonely if you are single and don’t have a partner. However, this is not the case. Being alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely!
Feelings of loneliness can occur even if we are
- are married,
- have a job,
- be liked by others,
- are young,
- Have children,
- to be in company.
Being alone does not necessarily lead to feelings of loneliness!
Many people are afraid of loneliness or isolation, while on the other hand there are people who deliberately seek solitude and seclusion by going to a monastery for a few weeks. Loneliness can make us (physically) ill if we feel at its mercy. But it can also strengthen personality if we consciously seek it out to z.B. to meditate.
Why are there so many lonely people? With the help of modern means of communication can make contact faster and easier than ever before. We can send a message within a few seconds by email or text message, be reachable by cell phone at any time and reach others. We can interact with others on social media at any time of the day or night.
Causes of loneliness – why we feel lonely and isolated
Scientific research shows that certain negative attitudes make us susceptible to feelings of loneliness. People who feel lonely believe they are unlovable. They think they absolutely need a partner to be happy.
The feeling of not being lovable very often arises in childhood. Sandra describes her childhood like this
Ever since I can remember, I was an outsider, had to endure teasing, no one wanted to play with me. My parents themselves lived very secluded lives, were content with themselves. They always told me friends were important, but couldn’t help me either. I would stand at the window and look longingly at the other children having fun in the street? had. I don’t know how to go about finally making friends. If someone ever approaches me, I put myself under insane pressure to please them. Yes, and yet I am probably always not interesting enough.
Like Sandra, many sufferers suffer from a strong fear of rejection and reject themselves. Because they reject themselves, they rely heavily on the recognition, praise and encouragement of others. Sometimes they come across as arrogant and overbearing because of inner insecurities.
Conversely, people who can be content with themselves alone, but who are also in contact with other people, are characterized by the following attitudes. You can be
- Accepting themselves and believing they have something to give to others
- cope with the fact that another person rejects them and recognizes their weaknesses
- Accepting other people with their weaknesses.
So whether we feel lonely depends not on whether we are alone, but on our attitude toward ourselves and our lives.
Changes in life circumstances can also promote the development of feelings of loneliness.
When our partner separates from us, when the children leave home, when we retire, when we get a chronic illness or physical ailments limit and hinder us.
How chronic loneliness develops
1. The momentary, temporary loneliness
Feelings of loneliness last only a short time and are a reaction to external circumstances such as a move, hospitalization, unemployment, children moving out. Triggered by these events, we can be cut off from contact with others familiar to us. This phase of loneliness is not harmful, but can be helpful to adapt ourselves to the new circumstances. It indicates a change in our lives.
2. The slow retreat
Loneliness begins to be our constant companion. Our ability to make contact and converse with other people slowly diminishes. We forget to smile and talk about everyday things.
3. Chronic loneliness
The feelings of loneliness last for months or even years. We petrify. All our abilities to make and maintain contact, to be attractive to others, to accept and give recognition have disappeared. Others do not know what to do with us. We feel rejected and unattractive and lose more and more confidence in our abilities. We withdraw, isolate ourselves, or become increasingly dismissive and irritable toward others.
factors that promote emotional isolation and loneliness
The following factors can contribute to people feeling lonely:
- Many people live in the big city. Contact with relatives is or can no longer be maintained in the same way. Besides, anonymity is greater in a city than in the countryside.
- One in three marriages breaks up, leaving two single people to begin with.
- Life expectancy is increasing. As women live longer, there are more single women as they age.
- People are setting more and more goals, focusing on success and achievement, thinking first of themselves. Thus, partnerships become more difficult or the formation of partnerships is neglected.
- The arrival of the computer in the professional and private spheres makes social communication more difficult. People are no longer used to talking to each other and reaching out to each other.
- It is unfashionable for many young people to join a club or volunteer.
- Many parents are both working, so they have little time to talk to their child, to train him in social communication. It is difficult to give the child a feeling of security and acceptance. If you are not enough for yourself, you need others to make you feel lovable.
Can we completely banish feelings of loneliness from our lives?
No. There will always be moments when we feel left to our own devices and alone. Moments when we feel unloved, helpless and completely isolated from everyone else. However, there is something we can do to prevent occasional loneliness from becoming chronic loneliness.
How to overcome loneliness? Ways out of loneliness
"I am lonely and alone, what should I do??" This is a question many people ask me in therapy and in letters to the editor. Feelings of loneliness are an alarm signal that something has changed in your life and/or your needs are not being met (anymore). Take these feelings as an opportunity to find out what you are missing and to learn to be content with yourself alone and/or to learn to reach out to others.
TIP 1: Treat yourself lovingly like a good friend.
If you have the attitude that it is not worth cooking something nice for you alone or setting the table, that going for a walk alone can’t be fun anyway and that you should therefore rather stay at home, then you are treating yourself disparagingly. You are not "worth it" to yourself, Do something good for themselves alone.
TIP 2: Get in touch with other people.
Do not expect any "high-minded" factors from yourself Conversations, because otherwise you don’t make contact with others in the first place. Start talking about everyday things: the weather, the TV program, a magazine article you read. Take an interest in the other person and also tell something about yourself. This will keep you in practice and give you the impression of belonging. Practice small talk.
TIP 3: Don’t set too high expectations for those around you.
You may be able to talk about children with one person, go for walks with another, perhaps pursue a hobby with yet another. A single person does not and will not meet all your needs.
TIP 4: Give meaning to your life
Give your life meaning by finding a purpose such as volunteering. By volunteering, you feel needed and you have contact with other people. So you help others and yourself. To satisfy your need for attention and to be used, you could also z.B. Go to an animal shelter and offer to walk a dog there on a regular basis.
TIP 5: Learn to accept yourself more.
To the extent that you like yourself and consider yourself lovable, your feelings of loneliness will diminish. TIP: Learning to love yourself.
TIP 6: In a loneliness forum you can share with others and ask for advice.
A forum also offers the opportunity to make contact with people who feel the same way.I wish that you manage to free yourself from the prison of loneliness and feel connected to other people.
Feelings of loneliness and isolation are not an insurmountable fate. You can overcome your loneliness.