Why Am I So Lonely? What Is Loneliness And How Can We Cope With It

Why Am I So Lonely

Human beings are wired for connection on every level. Physically, we crave the comfort of a warm, nurturing body from the moment we leave the womb. Mentally, we are taught and conditioned to seek opinions, advice, and guidance from others. Emotionally, we crave connection, intimacy, and the feeling of being seen and heard by others.

So what happens when we feel as though we have been stripped of connection? Loneliness sets in.

The feeling of loneliness can exist in us even when we are surrounded by people. We can be in the midst of a crowded room, we can be the life of the party, we can be on a stage in front of our peers, and yet feel incredibly lonely.

Loneliness and being alone are two different emotional states. We can feel lonely even in the confines of our intimate relationships. We can lay in the same bed as our partner and feel the weight of loneliness grip our psyche, our soul, and our hearts.

Related: The Other Side Of Lonely

So how do we deal with, work through, and cope with loneliness? We need to first acknowledge that it’s there.

We can feel lonely in a myriad of experiences. The most overtly processed experience of loneliness is the one that follows a painful breakup. Heartache is an incredibly painful emotion to endure. We have an internal narrative that may feed us lies about our self-worth. We may also have a tape of negative self-talk trying to convince us that we will never find love, that we will never be happy, and that we are inherently flawed due to not making this relationship work.

In this case of loneliness, the first step is to notice what’s there. When we bring a level of mindfulness (non-judgmental awareness) to our internal narrative, it sets in motion a process that can prevent driving ourselves into a shame spiral.

Often, post-breakup, we slide into a slew of negative self-talk. Not only are we feeling lonely, but we often shame ourselves for not being “good enough.” We must ask ourselves, “Am I perceiving this situation realistically, or am I shaming myself to find meaning behind this pain?”

Maybe we feel angry because being angry is easier than feeling the weight of the pain we are experiencing. This negative self-talk and self-directed anger compound the intensity of our loneliness.

Why Am I So Lonely? What Is Loneliness And How Can We Cope With It

We must first become aware of what we’re feeling. Then, we must accept that we’re feeling that way. Rather than radically trying to change it, we learn to accept it, embrace it, and then begin to nurture ourselves. As humans, we have a hard time with self-compassion. Loneliness requires self-compassion so that we can provide ourselves with the nurture and care that we aren’t receiving from others.

It’s important to note here that, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” This is a quote from Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and it definitely rings true. Rather than digging a hole in our loneliness and getting comfortable there, we can begin to take a realistic look at what went wrong in the relationship.

Related: How To Stop Feeling Lonely

Did we self-sabotage? Did we try to change ourselves to make it work? Are we feeling lonely because we miss the person, or because we miss the idea of being in a relationship? These are important questions to ask ourselves.

Loneliness doesn’t only stem from heartache. We can also feel lonely amongst our friends, our coworkers, or our peers. Loneliness can stem from a lack of authenticity in our relationships. If we feel as though our peers don’t truly know us, that they don’t see the “real me,” or that they misunderstand us, this may be a reflection of our own lack of authenticity.

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Hannah Rose, LCPC

Hannah Rose is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Advanced Clinical Relapse Prevention Specialist, Licensed Clinical Supervisor, and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. She has extensive experience working in the field of addiction and treating patients both individually and as couples with anxiety, depression, codependency, relationship issues, and spirituality. She utilizes a myriad of techniques from therapeutic approaches to help her patients navigate their way to inner peace while combating negative self-talk and anxiety. Hannah wholeheartedly believes in mindfulness-based stress reduction. Using an insight-oriented, psychodynamic approach, she helps her patients to navigate through their journey into wellness. She knows the non-negotiable importance of a therapeutic relationship and aims to cultivate a safe space of trust, compassion, and empathy.View Author posts