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PART 1 Loneliness: What is It & What Can I Do About It?
Posted: 5/12/2017 | Personal Development Comments
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Loneliness is an experience or feeling of being isolated, lonesome, or standing apart from others. The feeling of loneliness is part of being human and yet it can be so devastating at times. 

From my book, Your Ultimate Life Plan, I define it as: 

"Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling of isolation, with strong feelings of empti­ness. There might be other feelings associated with it, such as sadness about being alone. Other terms that might fit are yearning, pining, longing, jealousy, wistfulness, envy, hopelessness, and seclusion. As with all feelings, if loneliness is a set point or common feeling for you, it may have begun in your infancy. You may have been left alone and unattended consistently enough that you had trouble attaching to your primary caretaker. Loneliness can be experienced in many circumstances, usually involving a childhood wounding that makes connecting difficult. This creates social difficulties and a lack of close relationships. It&rsquos also a temporary feeling for many people going through specific life transitions, such as a breakup or divorce, or loss of any significant relationship."

Loneliness has been described as a pain that can be connected to a myriad of situations. We can feel lonely when we are alone and also when we are with others.

As with all feelings it comes in degrees. At its most extreme, it can be felt as a deep ache that seems as if it could take you over and never go away, or feeling so isolated, disconnected, or distant from others right in front of you.

When we experience loneliness, we can feel sad, bereft, hopeless, anxious about lack of connection, and when not addressed, it can lead to depression.

We can feel lonely for many reasons. Loneliness can be connected to a loss of a loved one, divorce, or loss of a job. It can also be experienced when we are with others perhaps when we feel misunderstood, don&rsquot feel we have meaningful connections, somehow feel different from a group of people, or maybe we have childhood wounding around connecting and bonding with others.

Loneliness, sometimes called a &ldquosocial pain,&rdquo can motivate us to reach out and make social connections. Depending on the situation and time in life, connecting with old friends, connecting to family, or meeting new people can seem difficult for some.

Even though we see that literature and philosophy have long explored this subject, research shows that we feel lonelier throughout all of society than ever before. That includes older people, younger people, those in marriages and those not in them, families, veterans, those with good careers, as well as those underemployed.

Although loneliness is not talked about very much, according to studies it&rsquos up from 20% in the 1980&rsquos to 40% now. Sadly, the mortality from loneliness is comparable to smoking, and twice as much as obesity. This really shows you how powerfully emotions affect our lives. Being isolated socially impairs immune function, increases inflammation, can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease.

People feel lonely for different reasons. It might help to ask yourself the following questions:

~ So why am I lonely?

~ In what ways am I uncomfortable socially?

            What thoughts and feelings come up for me in social situations?

~ In what ways do I have trouble meeting new people?

            What thoughts and feelings arise when I meet someone new?

~ In what circumstances do I feel most lonely?

            Name 5 times and places I&rsquove felt most lonely.

~ Do I lack meaningful relationships in my life?

            Name my 3 most meaningful relationships and why they are meaningful.

~ Trouble with family?

            What are three themes I can think of that surround my experience with my family?

~ Is part of my loneliness connected with getting older, death of friends, or spouse?

            Write down three thoughts about this question.

What have you done to help yourself when you feel lonely?

Please share your comments &hellip they make a difference for us all. 

Next blog we will explore more ways to work with feeling lonely and how to appreciate your solitude, and being alone. 




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