You can be in a room full of people, yet feel lonely. You can have a great support system, yet feel lonely. You can also be alone, but not feel lonely. What is this mental health game all about?
Loneliness is a feeling, a state of mind. There are many triggers of loneliness such as feeling excluded, misunderstood, not accepted, lack of intimacy, or lack of friends and family to support you during a difficult time.
Dictionary.com defines lonely as: destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, support; solitary; without company; companionless; desolate; unfrequented; bleak; standing apart; isolated. According to Chuck Gallozzi of personal-development.com, loneliness is a ‘curse’ of humanity. Gallozzi says everyone, regardless of age or ethnicity, is affected by loneliness. He points out, though, that loneliness is a feeling and doesn’t have to define who you are. Much like our arms and legs are a part of our body, our feelings are a part of our psyche—that part of us doesn’t need to define us.
Words are powerful and can be hurtful when misused. Sometimes the words we use imprison us instead of set us free. For example, Gallozzi says: “if I were to say, ‘I AM lonely.’ That is just like saying, ‘I AM white.’ or ‘I AM a male.’ 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.”
Gallozzi stresses the importance of acknowledging that loneliness is a feeling—a temporary state of mind that can change. By saying, ‘I FEEL lonely’ that allows a person to open the door of his/her “mental prison” because feelings can and do change. Some people choose to remain in that state of mind, but others choose to do something about feeling lonely.
When a person is ready to do something about his/her loneliness, Gallozzi suggests understanding a simple law of life: You have to give away what you wish to receive. Our actions are balls that bounce back to us.
The consequences of that law are:
• 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. And that is the wisdom contained in the teaching, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
• 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, be a friend. And build that friendship slowly. Learn to listen to others and they will listen to you. Learn to comfort others, and you will be comforted.
In addition to helping others, there are other ways to help you get out of your loneliness rut. You could start to journal, exercising, learning to like yourself by discovering what’s behind your low self esteem or wounded psyche, talking to a therapist, or joining a group (at church, take adult classes, or volunteer).
The main thing you need to understand about loneliness is that you aren’t alone. All of us feel lonely and that feeling will pass. You just need to work at it.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
That I will never be a size 2 or 5’ (Ha!). We all come in different shapes and sizes and I try not to get caught up in the body image issues that stem from the (air brushed) women who are on the cover of magazines. I think what’s most important is to be healthy and comfortable in one’s skin.
What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
What I appreciate in my life is my friends. I’m very lucky that I have a close network of friends who have become family.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
At my job, my position has changed drastically from when I first started, which I credit largely to being self motivated (as well as to the professional opportunities my boss and other colleagues have provided to me). Professionally, my goal is to continue to learn and build my leadership skills.
What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?
I use a lot of detail when I talk, some of it is often not necessary to what I’m talking about. J
How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my…smile.