Why do we get lonely?
Fear of being alone as a fear of not being able to create one's own happiness alone
But there always is a choice
Left over from childhood
A particular belief system creates more of it
What is the opposite?
Can it be lessened or eliminated?
What to read?
Articles on coping with loneliness
Strategies for filling the hole
"As a child, we create the idea that someone must be there for us, or we're in danger. As an adult, there is no such need, though we keep perpetuating the belief, hidden under lots of rationalizations that justify it. The truth is that you do not "need" to be with others. And, knowing that, you have freedom to choose how to live your life relative to people in it."
WHY DO WE GET LONELY?
Why do we get lonely? Why do some people get more lonely than others? Why do some not get lonely at all?
Surely we're all human, so it "should" be true of us all. Though people say that and believe that, it is not a factual statement.
Logically, however, there would seem to be a difference in beliefs that would account for the difference in how people react to it, or at least the intensity of feeling that results from it.
It may also be true that we have some instinctual drives, such as the need to be in a tribe in order to survive, but it is not true that we have to be unhappy about it. We do not need to be reactive or a victim of it in any way.
We need only pay attention to the message from Dumb and Dumber (mid-brain and lizard brain), which is doing its job simplistically based on how it evolved. But the brain is strictly a mechanical thing that brings up records to match against what has worked and what is predicted to work, all for one reason: survival. It is not the determinant of how we must feel about any one thing. We are the masters of creating how we feel (of course, within the parameters of how the body and mind work, which is why we need to learn how the brain works!). Just because there is a primitive signal from a primitive belief comes up does not mean we have to "buy into" it - we can, instead, see that the signal and the belief have no relevance now with regard to our survival - and we can simply note the signal, thank it for "sharing", say "I'm OK right now", and move on to create the life we want.
There is nothing fixed and permanent in a human being that dictates that he/she must be lonely even if the person is largely isolated from other people. Some are perfectly happy that way. It is all based on a belief system that was made-up by the person.
I feel compassion for the emotional pain a person might feel around this. That pain is real, a real experience, real suffering. And I know that I must acknowledge that pain and do what I can to soothe it. But I know that acknowledgement only soothes the suffering, the symptom. In my compassion, I yearn for the person to solve what causes the suffering: the belief that creates the suffering. We make up that being "not alone" is a need. The best solution is to change the belief.
But to eliminate the suffering, we need to change the belief and/or create a way to fill the believed need.
Note that loneliness is not an emotion, but is a set of beliefs. The emotions are sadness and/or fear, which are strong signals that something is wrong - and usually it is that the thinking is distorted or based on false concepts.
FEAR OF BEING ALONE AS A FEAR OF NOT BEING ABLE TO CREATE ONE'S OWN HAPPINESS ALONE
"The thought of being all alone in the world is not in itself something to panic about. While some people panic at the thought--others delight at the thought. If you believe that you can take care of your own needs well and be happy even if you are alone, then being alone is nothing to fear. If you believe that you need others to take care of you and "make" you happy, then you are too dependent on others and their absence is something to "panic" about.
PRACTICE: Examine the degree to which you can create your own happiness--even when alone. Examine how too much dependence on others for happiness can undermine your feelings of confidence with others and lead to fear of rejection."
Read: Being self-sufficient, giving oneself what is needed and Self-Nurturing, Self-Soothing (in the Loving Oneself section), as, if you suffer from loneliness or are fearful of the very thought of it, you've got to learn how to provide for all of your needs in order to be able to powerfully be and do that which you really want to do in life. The items in the two articles are learned skills that every adult should develop. They are especially helpful to free one from being dependent on others, as is connected with keeping oneself in the role of being a child.
BUT THERE ALWAYS IS A CHOICE
(Some people will read this section title and feel a sense of disappointment, which is an indication of a desire to be rescued/sympathized with instead of taking charge and being responsible for making all of one's choices and fully being at cause. I say this with empathetic concern over how bad that feels AND I am simply noting here that that way of thinking doesn't work - and should, quite simply, be reviewed and revised to line up with reality. There is a reason that that is a particular way of thinking, as discussed later.)
We have the choice of how to deal with that signal, as we do with all emotional signals and primitive thoughts.
LEFT OVER FROM CHILDHOOD
Loneliness is an old childhood "feeling" (not actually a feeling), which is actually the belief that "if I am alone, I'm screwed!" (...I will not survive...) Of course, it doesn't come out that explicitly, but this is the rough equivalent. One can tell that an emotion is about survival issues by the level of intensity - the primitive (useful) system pushes harder for survival than any other need.
Essentially, we make up that we are threatened by not being with someone and/or not receiving assurances that someone is there for you (to help you survive).
Test it out. What do we hear from some people? "Im so lonely. I'll just die from it. It makes life not worth living!" [The latter two statements are not true, not aligned with reality - but the effect of saying them reinforces crude recordings that have them be as if they are true.]
Again, the primitive mind comes out with thoughts that are untrue. They often are alarming, as they are trying to "motivate" you to handle the perceived, believed danger - so that's fine that it does that. However, we must learn to examine such thoughts as to whether they are true and worth paying attention to.
Ironically, if we repeat those thoughts either by speaking them or entertaining them in our minds, then we get more information going to the danger center implying that there is danger. We are saying the equivalent of "Danger! Danger! Imminent threat to life!" No wonder the amygdala goes into a frenzy!!!!
A PARTICULAR BELIEF SYSTEM CREATES MORE OF IT
It is interesting to note that it occurs more often in people hoping for rescue from other people, as they are not fully in their adult nor confident that they can handle life on their own. They even provide evidence that they can't handle life, as they (exaggeratively) say they haven't in the past and therefore they can't in the future. Of course, they are disputable statements (use for this: Rational Self-Analysis Form) and disputation is one of the key practices to handle such utter BS. Read Child, As An Adult and The Rational, Nurturing Adult.
(Remarkabley enough, I have seen people go through training about not believing in things that one makes up or in stories - and then they proceed as if they never heard that! It simply is 'insane' (= disordered thinking based on unsupportable beliefs) to believe in primitive made-up thoughts repeatedly generated by Dumb and Dumber! Would you believe something if a person you knew as a fool said it? [I don't mean to insult anyone here, but insanity is defined as "keeping on doing the same thing, but hoping for different results! Well, that applies to repeating the same (nonsensical) thing, but hoping that it is not harmful!])
WHAT IS THE OPPOSITE?
You're probably aware of the generally true principle that if you don't like the results you're getting, simply do the opposite. Toward this you would make up statements that are the exact opposite (or enlightened person's probable thoughts) of the ones you're saying to yourself that are not true. (You'd do this sort of thing in general in the Beliefs section and in the Affirmations section. You should read, learn, and know those, as they are a base of knowledge from which you can handle numerous areas.) A person who sets himself up to do the Power In Life actions, traits, and conversations will be doing the opposite of the powerless person. (Duh!)
Study those as part of your overall attack on the thinking habits behind loneliness and feeling sorry for yourself (a quasi payoff for a child).
CAN IT BE LESSENED OR ELIMINATED?
If a person is often crying wolf and saying how terrible things are, we suspect there is an alternate reason for complaining about loneliness or even placing oneself in it. But if another person brings that up to this person, the person will deny it and most likely say "you just don't understand" or "you should be more sympathetic" or the like.
Changing one's belief about how bad it is to be lonely is certainly doable.
And changing one's situation, when one looks at this proactively, will lessen the loneliness. Most loneliness is self perpetrated and self perpetuated, as it is a choice, even if one is shy. One can simply go places where other people go, participate in group activities where one does not have to interact much socially, one can take lessons in conversation and in relaxation techniques while in a situation, and one can have friends who are more comfortable and less fear-inducing to one.
To some degree the loneliness can be alleviated. And to the degree there is some residual, one simply needs to accept that and grow up by realizing that life has some tradeoffs in it and some not so good parts (but overall is great, on the average!).
Handling loneliness: Altering the underlying beliefs AND use coping strategies.
If we do both of these together, the ill effect will be substantially diminished. Meanwhile, the ultimate solution will only come from curing the "cause", which is the set of erroneous beliefs.
MY DECLARATIVE STATEMENT
This is sort of a set of affirmations, though it is actually in the "statements" category under Empowering Statements.
"I am fully self-sufficient. I can access the vast network that is already set up to have everything available in this country. I fully provide for myself and I take care of and nurture myself. I am dependent on no one person. I have the power to do and provide all I need. I now choose to be in my power, as a way of life."
"I have the power to create situations where I am around people in a way that is more comfortable and where there is no major threat. I accept some discomfort but I will regulate myself to be in a safe enough situation to not be too uncomfortable. I will have plenty of being around people, to the extent I want to. I need not make up any beliefs about how the people I associate with should be of a better or higher level sort, as I accept that it is appropriate for me to be dealing at the level I am capable of and that is suitable for me. I need not have an ego about it nor try to be better than I am at this."
"I always have the choice and the ability to learn the necessary skills to manage my anxiety and socialize adequately with comfort and to accept what is appropriate for me. It is I who create most of the quality of my life and not outside circumstances.
HAVING SAID ALL OF THAT, STILL...
When we have anything built into us instinctually, we will tend to "be stimulated" with hormones, etc., that feel good. When we socialize, many of our senses are involved and we exercise our complex thinking abilities, paying attention to signals to read and making sure we respond to them. (We needed to do so in order to survive the caveman days, for making a mistake in reading a stranger's signals could be fatal - so we got good at it. And the signals that indicated we could trust the other individual and be safe with him/her felt very good and reassuring - and the primitive mind loves assurances of being safe!!!)
Anyway, we humans tend to benefit (feel good) from the stimulation of social interaction, even if it is not needed for survival purposes. So... thusly good social engagement is good, and especially needed as one gets older, as it stimulates the mind (though there are some people who are able to keep their mind stimulated without needing social interaction).
WHAT TO READ
Read the links above and decide what you'll tackle and/or read later. Read the
articles below, as they suggest ways to cope with the mental concept of loneliness, though they differ in opinions (some buy into the victimness or givenness of loneliness).
ARTICLES ON COPING WITH LONELINESS
Read these articles but also his book on the web:
STRATEGIES FOR FILLING THE HOLE
Joining groups of like minded people is a real winner and even more fun if you can take a friend who shares your interests.
Read more and give to yourself, fulfill yourself
Alter your skills in the area of relationships
Learn conversational skills; Select one book at your local bookstore.
Read Norman Vincent Peale's "How To Win Friends And Influence People"
WHAT TO DO NOW: THE PROGRAM
Don't expect a result if you don't do the work, of course. Also, doing this program is expected to alter your perspective and your results by around 80%, though you must implement the Strategies For Filling The Whole
Check these off as you do the steps. Estimated time 10 to 30 hours.
Revision of beliefs and statements
___ Write on one sheet of paper (with a line down the middle) what you say to yourself (and/or others) about how you feel lonely - plus all of the reasons why you think the way you do (I learned it from x parent, etc.). Then write on the other side, a statement that would, instead, be made by a theoretically perfectly insightful empathetic person. Also, it is best to get input from an actual person to help you determine what is a statement that aligns to reality and does not align to the statements on the left. Use the Rational Self-Analysis Form to help you go through some of the thinking and disputing.
___ Determine the affirmations and the true statements (from the right side of the sheet) and repeat those daily for the next 30 days or until you've internalized them. Revise them later, as you go through the program.
___ Consider and possible include or revise the My Declarative Statements
Modification of knowledge
___ Read Dependence, Independence And Interdependence (you don't need to read all the references for now, but note that doing the suggested reading is a good basic training to overcome dependence beliefs - and you'll need to schedule a few hours to learn them)
___ The related articles linked from the above piece.
Implementation (Keep items you will reuse in a referenceable medium, either on the computer and/or in your Reminders Notebook.)
___ Do the affirmations/statements for 30 days, then decide whether to continue.
___ Implement, above, "Strategies For Filling The Hole", adding your own
___ Realize that there are many supporting pillars (beliefs) that are untrue and that
this area will get even better as a byproduct of dealing with those supporting
pillars (such as the ones that link from the Dependence article above
Notes for later additions:
Why is it that people spend years being lonely while others rarely feel lonely? Could it be that it is strictly a belief system - and that loneliness is not based on reality.
Loneliness will enforce a fear in you that nobody cares about you.
Are you afraid of rejection and this is why you spend all your time alone? If so, this is a fear that needs to be tackled head on. Facing this fear is the only way you will overcome loneliness. Note that it is based upon false beliefs.
Loneliness is a painful emotional feeling of being disconnected, cut off, or isolated from the rest of our world. It is a feeling that something is missing from our lives.
Some people fell disconnected or left out because they don't know how to approach or contact others socially. Many fear being rejected, so they don't attempt to make friends or develop relationships.
The real culprit though is how we interpret being separated or alone. Intense feelings of loneliness are generally accomplished by thoughts like "I don't have lots of friends because I'm not really worthy of them." or " I'm not interesting enough to be noticed or attractive." (Or something like those.) People with low self-esteem often believe that others would not be interested in knowing them and that their loneliness is evidence of their weakness as a person.
Challenge the reality of your pessimistic or negative thought.
The best thing to do might be to explore your problem of loneliness and try to figure out what underlying assumptions are leading you to feel that way.
How is that different than the way someone who enjoyed being alone and could make themselves happy think and act?
Commit yourself to finding out more about your loneliness, its causes, and what can be done to solve it on a long-term basis.
Everyone with the fear of being alone needs to accept the possibility that they may at some point be alone the rest of their lives and be at peace with that thought. Otherwise the fear of being alone will haunt them, cause them to feel very dependent ("needy") upon others, cling to others, be easily hurt by others, or even become hostile toward others.
Young people also often tend to look around at others their age and perceive them as being happier and more popular than they actually are. They are susceptible to a societal norm that equates happiness with popularity and being surrounded by friends.What is even more depressing is that young people often think that they're the only ones who feel this way. To be lonely is bad enough, but to look around and think that everyone else is popular and fulfilled makes matters that much worse.
One of the keys to overcoming loneliness is to stop comparing yourself to other people.
The key to beating loneliness is taking action in getting rid of false beliefs. Tim Arends http://www.shyFAQ.com