Loneliness is a feeling

Loneliness is one of the scourges of humanity. It seems to affect everyone regardless of age or ethnicity. Whether you’re a PhD or high school dropout, rich or poor, you’re equally vulnerable. What exactly is loneliness? It is a FEELING that intimacy, understanding, friendship, and acceptance are missing from one’s life. It is a FEELING of isolation or separation from others, a FEELING of being all alone. We need to realize that loneliness is nothing more than a feeling. After all, you are not your arms or legs, for they are just parts of your body. Similarly, you are not your feelings, which are just parts of your psyche.

Words are a lot like cars. Both are loaded with power. Cars are used to drive home. And words are used to drive home a point. Words and cars are very useful, but when used improperly, they can harm us. There are many poor drivers and poor thinkers because we learn about cars and words from unqualified instructors, such as our parents or friends. Now, let’s get to the point. Did you ever say any of the following to yourself or others? “I am lonely.” “I am sad.” “I am angry.” If you did, that is a misuse of language that leads to harmful effects.

Here is something to think about. The words we use imprison us or set us free. For example, if I were to say, “I AM lonely.” That is just like saying, “I AM white.” or “I AM a male.” You see, there’s nothing I can do about being white or a male. There is nothing I can do to change what I AM. So, when I say, “I AM lonely,” the implication is that I cannot change. In other words, I use words to imprison myself with false beliefs.

However, when I acknowledge that loneliness is a feeling by saying, “I FEEL lonely,” I open the door of my prison cell because feelings can and do change. Of course, as long as I continue to say, “I feel lonely. I feel lonely. I feel lonely,” nothing will change. For although I opened the door, I have chosen to remain in the cell. To completely set myself free I have to take that extra step by saying, “I feel lonely, SO I’M GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.”

Loneliness is much more than an inconvenience. Left unchecked, it can be a precursor to the solitary confinement of drug and other addictions. For the pain of loneliness may cause one to look for solace in drugs, alcohol, sex, or gambling. There is also the danger of loneliness developing into anxiety and depression. One can become completely immobilized by feelings of self-pity and helplessness. Also, one may try to mask pain by oversleeping or putting in long hours at the office. Finally, the stress imposed by loneliness leads to a weakened immune system, heart disease, and other physical ailments. The moral is clear. If we’re suffering from loneliness, it’s time to decide to do something about it.

All right, I feel lonely and want to do something about it, so what must I do? Start by understanding a simple law of life which can help solve almost any problem. That law is: You have to give away what you wish to receive. Our actions are balls that bounce back to us. A corollary of that law is: Don’t give others what you don’t want to receive. If I punch someone, they will punch me back. If I hug someone, they will hug me back. It’s as simple as that. And that is the wisdom contained in the teaching, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Now, let’s see what happens when we apply the above principle. I feel lonely. As I sink into the sea of loneliness, I decide to reach out. For the pain I experience reminds me how others must feel. So, I resolve to help lessen the suffering of others by becoming a volunteer or a friend. Perhaps I visit seniors, the bedridden, or those in prison. Or, I may befriend a lonely classmate, coworker, or neighbor. As I do so, what do you suppose happens? Yes, others eagerly look forward to my visits. By becoming a friend, I have gained friends. By offering support, I have won support. By healing the loneliness of others, I have healed myself.

Another corollary of the law of life mentioned above is: You will receive the most when you give the most. So, give of yourself, expecting little in return. Think of others, not yourself. Don’t be needy because that will drain the energy of others and drive them away. Don’t be needy, be a friend. And build that friendship slowly. Don’t overwhelm others with your own problems. Learn to listen to others and they will listen to you. Learn to comfort others, and you will be comforted. Practice the principle of Tennessee Williams (1914 ~ 1983), who wrote, “When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.”

How can you love someone you don’t know and don’t spend time with? What is true for others also applies to yourself. How can you love yourself, if you don’t spend time alone to get to know yourself. Being alone need not be the same as being lonely. For being alone is an opportunity for reflection, self-discovery, and growth. You will never be lonely if you like the person you are with. And no matter where you go, you will always be accompanied by yourself, so get to know and like that person.

The strongest trees are those that grow alone. The greatest dreams are those conceived alone. God can speak to you only when you are alone. Your purpose and life’s meaning will be revealed to you only when you are alone. Yes, solitude is not the hovel of a recluse, but the mansion of a master. It is a place of joy. Yet, don’t retreat to it to such an extent that you neglect others and deny yourself the blessings of friendship and companionship.

There’s nothing questionable about the power of questions. If you’re feeling lonely and don’t know why, that’s because you haven’t been asking questions. Take an inventory of your behavior. Are you a show-off? Domineering? Moody? A complainer? A gossiper? Unreliable? Nosy? Short-tempered? A taker that doesn’t know how to give? Do you build walls instead of bridges? Would you want to be friends with someone like you? Questions provoke thought and point to solutions. How can you take corrective action unless you ask yourself what you are doing wrong? If you are still mired in loneliness, is that because you’re waiting to be rescued? (Don’t hold your breath because help isn’t on the way.) If you need a hand, you’ll find it at the end of your own arm. There are lots you can do such as join a support group to master people skills. Learning about self-esteem, assertiveness, and how to overcome shyness and win friends can be a great deal of fun and put an end to your loneliness for good. Don’t deprive others of the blessing of knowing you; be a friend!

Chuck Gallozzi lived, studied, and worked in Japan for 15 years, immersing himself in the wisdom of the Far East and graduating with B.A. and M.A. degrees in Asian Studies. He is a Certified NLP Practitioner, speaker, seminar leader, and coach. Corporations, church groups, teachers, counselors, and caregivers use his more than 400 articles as a resource to help others. Among his diverse accomplishments, he is also the Grand Prix Winner of a Ricoh International Photo Competition, the Canadian National Champion of a Toastmasters International Humorous Speech Contest, and the Founder and Head of the Positive Thinkers Group that has been meeting at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto since 1999. His articles are published in books, newsletters, magazines, and newspapers. He was interviewed on CBC’s “Steven and Chris Show,” appearing nationally on Canadian TV. Chuck can be contacted at chuck.gallozzi@rogers.com. View his photography at https://500px.com/chuckgallozzi. This article cannot be re-published without permission.

https://personal-development.com

Comments

  1. very enlightening, everything is true…but i think it`ll take some time for me to overcome this feeling of loneliness,of always being aloof. i don`t know yet but i think i need someone to talk to.

  2. Thanks this is me most of the time the way I feel so I appreciate this post. It makes me feel better.

  3. well written article, well explained. Your written skills are greatly appreciated. Thank you for writing this article. please continue writing.

  4. Thank you, i am staying alone in one big house these days so i am really feeling lonely but after reading this article i am feeling bit good.

  5. I have friends lots , I have a family , but nobody understands me its me that thay come when thay need help but thay can’t help me . I want love thats what I want I’m lonly that I don’t have anyone at my side and I can’t find him I now I’m young but I fell that I will be the only one in my life that will be alonly forever .

  6. I’m feeling very lonely too,and i want to hug that girl,who loves me.I don’t need just to sex from girls,i just want a true love :/
    13 yrs old,Lithuania

  7. I have friends lots , I have a family , but nobody understands me its me that thay come when thay need help but thay can’t help me . I want love thats what I want I’m lonly that I don’t have anyone at my side and I can’t find him I now I’m young but I fell that I will be the only one in my life that will be alonly forever .

  8. You are so blessed. Your words enlightened me and i felt like i talked to you. I am happy now. I am not feeling lonely i am feeling cherished and confident.
    Thank you.

  9. thank u i love this articles, it soothes me
    i live alone n faraway from my family
    i feel empty and lonely at night

  10. Drftwood seem to have spoken the story of my life. Only, I am 35 tomorrow. I don’t understand why people in general do not like me. I have spent so much of my life being kind to others with only heart ache in return. I find myself growing more shut off from the world and bitter that I have bent over backwards for others, only to find pain in return. The old adage of what you give you get in return, surely has not applied to my life. Why even try anymore? Beyond the fact that I wish for once in my life I were loved the way I have loved. Wishes are just that though. A wish. I have come to find I do enjoy my own company. Which is a wonderful saving grace. I just wish I could feel better about the world surrounding me again.

  11. thanx. its same story what i feel i think after reading this article i feel good and got what i have to do.

  12. I kept loughing myself when reading this. Thank you for such a nice artical, it is very useful !!!

  13. Thank you, for take the time cleared that up LONELYNESs.. your right .. right now I feel that way.. I been trying everything you said.. but you last part got me..

  14. The question that got to me is: Would you want to be friends with someone like you?

    I think I would.. 🙂

  15. Hello.I am a 14 year-old girl from Greece and I do not want anyone to feel alone.If you have any brothers or sisters try to talk to them about your problem and since they are your family members it is logical that they will help you.If you do not have any,go to a psycologist or talk to your parents,friends of your parents or even to good people from work,old classmates and friends…Go to the church and pray.The Lord is here for everyone.Live your life.I hope I helped you.But remember…there are people willing to help you.And If there aren’t any,I love you!Just trust people around you.

  16. this helped i need to do somthing about it i do…. need to scale the wall of anxiety
    sadness and anger

  17. thanks for these encouraging words…it really lifted my mood and i am feeling happy after being reminded that everything has pros and cons..and it depends on u..which ever u choose to live with..After all being alone doesn’t mean u should feel lonely..!!!

  18. I feel my social isolation started at an early age.For some reason people don’t like me. I come up against the same situation time and time again of regection and isolation after people know me for an extended period of time. Wish I knew what I do wrong to antagonize those that have prolonged exposure to my personality. Now at age 58 I am dealing with it again in my work place and overall social circles. People just dislike me. I think I am harmless as an idividual, work efficiently and try to scialize with others but always with the same results. If they know me for long I come up against indifference or dislike.

  19. This article is awesome. Made me realize a lot, and made me want to be a hell of a better person.

  20. Hope this article will help me out to deal with my lonliness..Its a great article,and would like to thank you for this…keep up your good work.with lov D
    daisy

  21. Hey John,

    I just want to let you know that I think that is the hardest part of your life. Believe in yourself. Always keep in mind that you gave your wife the best time of her life, and she gave it too you.

    I think, because you write that you both were so happy,she wants you to be happy, but you can’t be without her. I understand it, but I hope you will feel better in the future. Feel strong John!

  22. I just read the above not sure if its helped, its nothing new to me.
    I’ve beat shyness and lonelyness in the past, met the most beautifil person in the world, felt happy to be alive and share my life with that person, built up a relationship over a year moved in with her and lived 3 wondeful years together that I’m very grateful for.
    This year I married my soul mate, we planned to start a family, but after 20 days of marriage I came home and found her dead, natural causes nothing that was forseen, and now I feel so lonely. I’ve lost everything that mattered in my world.
    I can be sociable, I can build bridges but I cant be happy this is what lonelyness realy is knowing how good life can be and being dealt the worst hand ever.
    There was a time I’d say pull yourself together but now all I want is to be with my wife.
    I have friends, I have family, but at the end of the day I am alone and lonely.

  23. I have to say that if you are feeling longely dont read this, it just makes you feel that it all your fault because you dont think of others, i have constantly helped others but feel that being lonely people do not recognise or want to know because being moody etc is one of the frustrations of being lonely

  24. Hi Exactly as the first comment says. I read this at a somewhat vulnerable time for me and it worked wonders. I feel relieved. Thank you! May God grant you all the good things in the world! 🙂

  25. I just read your text, I don’t know how your logic will works, but I feel little confident after reading this. But I’ll sure to use your logic, lets see how this works out for me.

    I am sure I’ll get back to you…. Thanks.

  26. Tiesta, the start of a new semester can be a good time to say hi to the people around you, probably people you’ve never had a chance to meet. if you lack confidence though, you’re likely to try being “friendly” at first, and then give up trying, basically contenting yourself to be the quiet one, and that can make you difficult to approach. I don’t know, but I think if you desire contact, you shouldn’t be hiding it, and though over persistence is annoying, giving up trying after only talking to a couple people is probably much worse.

    basically, I think one of the best cures to loneliness is to pretend that you are social, because for many people it is their inward quiet nature that keeps them from making all the social connections they desire. hope this helps.

  27. Hi who ever wrote that is a truly amazing person,thanks,I have isolated myself from the world to fix myself and im ready to begin my journey threw life,isolation is not as bad as it is made out to be,I use to be around not so good people that sensed my weakness and preyed on it,now im strong and would not allow anyone to do that to me,when theres a problem theres something to be learnt not done.

  28. Teista, it’s unlikely you are repelling people, more likely you are an introvert and is simply more difficult to develop a friendship, especially with another introvert.

    Look for groups you can join- clubs, sports, spiritual/religion, community service, whatever, anything that gets you around other people more. You are just like I was in college, and joining a group helped so much and eventually led to a good friendship with someone who was as introverted as I was. Don’t let these concerns distract you from focusing on your education and personal development, the rest will come in time if you just relax and keep up the self-esteem you deserve. Search out some good books to give new perspectives on this, one I recommend is The Four Agreements.

  29. hi.i used to be a very friendly person back in my school days.but after joining college, i dint make many friends. i felt left out seeing others having a lot of fun in big groups. The so-called friends that i made were never the kinds to stick by me. i have been going on & off into frequent depression. i think i dont have what it takes to make friends.I do academically well and dont look bad.i dont know what repels people from me.i feel extremely lonely.could you please help me with some advice ?

  30. u are not alone no matter who you are and where you from. U have someone with you be sure to look around. At least now u have me!Be happy becoz our life time is short 😉

  31. Draemboat: I used to feel much like you did….social situations intimidated me greatly. Have you talked to a doctor about these feelings? There are many very effective drugs, such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. It sounds to me like you might greatly benefit from one or a combination of these. They helped me greatly and I highly recommend you at least speak to a doctor about them.

  32. Hi Draembot, social anxiety isn’t a reason to take your life. Lots of people have far worse problems and would love to trade places with you. You don’t have to conform to living your life a certain way to be happy, and life after college can be real different. Please take even more courage and know that you get get through this and make things better if you work at it.

    Check out http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/ and maybe you’ll get some ideas or contact some others there for online correspondence. Also see if there are some counseling available at your college, even if just to have someone to talk to.

  33. This article has helped a bit. Although my loneliness isn’t because I want to be lonely its because of social anxiety that I have developed in the 10th grade. Im now in my second semester in college and am an AB honor roll student but still feel lonely with no friends even though I get along with some. I hardly go out anywhere,I go to school and come back home everyday. I also go to church but now I rarely go because of my issue. Even going to the store triggers my anxiety. Iv’e never had a girlfriend although girls do check me out and have called me cute(not cocky btw) and I highly doubt I ever will have one. I recently got a 1 liter bottle of tequila(40% acohol) as a gift from a cousin and am planning on using it to give me courage to take my life away pretty soon..all in all, life goes on.Peace

  34. I’m happy that I have read this article, and it really helped me become happier. Like Lori, I am also 13 and my parents work all the time, my brother has major autism, my sister is suicidal, and everyone else seems to ignore me in my family. I literally don’t have chances to talk to anyone in my family anymore except for the occasional “hello”, and I sometimes do not even see any of my family for days. I really am glad that I can vent this somewhere, even if it is just on some message board. I need a little advice about what I should do to help me, because even though I reach out to others, they are busy doing their own thing, mostly which includes ignoring me. So could someone please respond? I just need a little help here…

  35. Lori, be sure your mom knows how you feel, and ask that she helps you with opportunities to spend time with friends of yours, or to get into activities where you can make new friends your age like sports, classes, clubs. There are also various online social sites (e.g. Facebook) and free online games (e.g. Free Realms) where you can meet others. Just be sure to never trust a stranger with personal information like your real full name, phone #, or address. My son is 13 and he does fine without any brothers or sisters, you just have to look beyond the family. And it’s ok to have alone time just to do things for yourself like reading, which ultimately help you have better relationships with others.

  36. I understand all of these meanings. All i was looking for was something to help me. i lost my brother because he went to jail. My other brother wants to finish school liviong with my aunt. The only people living in my house is me and my mom. Everyone left i just feel so lonley. this helped me a little. i just wish you would please reply and give some tips to forget about my family for a second and enjoy life as im supposed to. Im only 13 years old and im going through all of this.
    -Lori

  37. I was feeling lonely and i too don’t know dose make me feel lonely. after reading this article it impressed me from loneliness I started to do work when i am alone in my home like reading books or doing some physical activities which will move you away from your loneliness or when yyour i a bad mood. and one more thing important..when your alone give importance to the work which gives you more intrest, this habit will really work and you can get releif from your loneliness. again thans for such an article.

  38. I’m in bad shape .. My age is 70, my dearest fiend and love just broke uo with me because she feel guilty about her husband newly found illness, I understand her feeling guilty but I love her dearly. I love her very, very much.

  39. Inspirational. Thank you for the reminders and the wonderful words of wisdom.

  40. Very nicely written article with inspiring quotes and sensible suggestions. I’m glad you also added that being alone long enough to know yourself is a positive thing.

  41. i thought i “felt” lonely for the past 4-5 days… But then i realized (thanks to your article) that I didn’t “feel” lonely, but i felt unable. I realized I need to do something to feel better. I didn’t know why I felt lonely until I realized that the reason i didn’t know why is because there was no reason. I was making myself feel lonely.

    Thank you 😀

  42. Really good stuff, well written and very sensible. All I would say at the end is don’t overanalyse potential problems you have, but note the good aspects and really bring them out i.e. do not change yourself but realise that you already have what it takes to be a good buddy

  43. This was shallow in my opinion, as what if the person who is lonely also suffers from social anxiety, or panic atacks, or depression, or other physical or mental impairment, then this simplistic article is not really very helpful….

    Having said that I will also acknowledge that for quite a few, those who can act on these suggestions, in this article, are very sage suggestions….

    So mixed value…..

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