Let’s talk loneliness.
When do you feel it?
What do you do about it?
How is loneliness different to being ‘alone’?
I feel lonely when I don’t feel heard or understood. When I feel like there is no one in the world who puts me first or even really considers how I’m feeling. It is all-consuming sometimes.
I am trying to sit with it and read, watch movies, cry if I need to. I don’t want resist it because it feel like a sign that I need to pay closer attention to myself. I am also trying to commit myself to things I enjoy doing, rather than just talking about doing them.
I am not technically alone, but I often feel lonely.
Who else relates?
Hi @earthmama thanks for such an interesting thread. It sucks not feeling understood! Sometimes you just need someone to listen and who is going to empathise with your point of view. I feel lonely sometimes, not in regards to friends because my friends are incredible, but romantically. Lately a few ex’s have been contacting me about hanging out again and even though they’re nice-ish people, I know that I’m better off without them. I just keep on thinking about this quote I saw on Twitter “Don’t be afraid of the solitude that comes with raising your standards”. I don’t mean that in a snobby way, but I think it’s really important to remember what it is that you deserve, and sometimes feeling lonely or alone is better than the alternative which is spending time with someone who isn’t what you truly want or need.
I definitely relate to this. I think being alone is a physical thing and being lonely is emotional. To use the cliche, you really can be lonely in a crowded room, without actually being alone.
I’ve got a reputation as the ‘planner’ with my friends, so while they will say yes to going out with me, it can be a little isolating to always be the one reaching out, instead of them instigating a hang. I’ve had to work at it a little bit to stop myself from feeling like I’m the problem. And it seems to be going okay – recently, they’ve invited me to a few things which has been a nice change of pace.
I’ve also lost a few friendships over the past few years, which has mostly been good as it’s clear as we’ve grown up a bit that we’re no longer compatible, but it still doesn’t help things.
I don’t necessarily like the feeling of being lonely and don’t try to sit with it as much, because I find it stops me from engaging even when I might be in social situations.
Thank you for such great responses!
@purple I love that quote and think it is truly a sign of maturity and of knowing ourselves better to choose loneliness over the company of someone who doesn’t truly feed our spirit.
@Aunt_Flo I can 100% relate to being the ‘planner’ and the loneliness that it brings. It’s a weird one too, because in some ways you can reason that you are so important to the group, given you hold it together. And people tend to really appreciate your role, and yet, it is a lonely place to be. I had a a good conversation with my friend about this recently and had to explain to her that whilst it benefits those around when you are a giver, when you don’t get the same treatment back it actually ends up being quite shit. It is so important to self-care and know our right to expect as much back as we put out there.
I am interested in your dislike of sitting with loneliness- do you feel that loneliness is an unproductive feeling?
@EarthMama yes that’s true, I see my friends appreciate that I’ve picked a restaurant that suits them, or taken them somewhere cool that they might not have been to before. But yea, sometimes the return isn’t always equal.
Not so much unproductive, I think it’s more the associated feelings. So, if I’m feeling lonely my mind might start to wander into, ‘maybe they don’t like me’, ‘maybe I said the wrong thing’ territory. This might sound a little weird, but I don’t think I really get to ‘enjoy’ the feeling of loneliness, because it’s always wrapped up with too many other emotions.
@aunt_flo interesting! So you don’t like to venture too far into loneliness because of the thoughts that accompany it? This is quite different from my experience as to me, it feels kind of like a dead-end road. Whilst sad, it is definitely an unmoving place I can sit and ponder the feeling for what it is. Of course the loneliness arises from all those nasty thoughts though…
How does everyone else experience loneliness?