Loneliness makes you feel empty, alone and unwanted. You crave human contact while feeling that it’s difficult to form connections with other people. And even if you like to spend time by yourself, in your own company, deep down you know that humans don’t do well if they’re completely alone.
We’re social creatures and have evolved to rely on a community, however small, to survive and thrive. And so, the absence of social connection triggers the same, primal alarm bells as hunger, thirst and physical pain do.
The longer you live with your loneliness, the worse it gets. Because we tend to think that there’s something wrong with us for being lonely in the first place. The more alone you feel, the more you start to think that you don’t belong or fit in anywhere. You start to feel utterly rejected and if you’re left alone with your thoughts, they’ll become your worst enemy.
Because isolation is the perfect breeding ground for negative and self-critical thoughts. The negative thought patterns you get stuck in are what make up your critical inner voice, an internalised enemy that leads to self-destructive thought processes and behaviours.
And it’s this inner critic that feeds into your feelings of isolation and encourages you to avoid other people, pushing you to remain in a state of loneliness. Even when you’re surrounded by people, you can still end up feeling alone and isolated. And even when often you choose to enjoy your own company in solitude (which is healthy and good for you), you can still feel a crippling sense of loneliness.
Learning how to deal with your feeling of loneliness is critical for your mental health – your inner critic is doing you no favours and only wants you to get swept away in shame, isolation and sorrow. When you’re really hurting, background noise and having loving pets can help, but don’t make you handle the feeling itself any better.
Use this one simple technique I describe in the article to master your feeling of loneliness and take back control of your mental health in those fragile moments with compassion and self-love.Continue Reading