At one point or another we've all felt lonely in life.
We all know what it feels like to be literally and physically alone but we also know what it's like to be emotionally alone - that's where you struggle to find connection to anything - to people, a job, a purpose, things that used to excite you, hobbies, entertainment, etc.
Here’s what I've realized about feeling lonely.
It's easy to fill your head, your heart and your calendar with things you’re "supposed" to like.
It’s easy to go on a date. It’s easy to go on a second date. It’s easy to go to happy hour. It’s easy to watch Netflix. It’s easy to get a dog. It’s easy to get a new outfit.
It's easy to do those things and convince yourself you have all the connection you need in life - even if that's not actually true.
As humans we're hardwired for self preservation. We'll do anything to protect ourselves physically and emotionally.
In the case of feeling lonely it's amazing how easily we re-adjust our expectations for ourselves. It’s amazing how quickly we lower the bar because we’re tired, impatient… or lonely.
I don’t really connect with those people but it’s better than being alone... so I’ll just be happy with it. I
feel alone in this relationship but he/he looks good on paper… so be it.
I feel completely creatively drained at my job but I keep getting promoted… so I’ll be happy.
Loneliness is a response to your search for connection.
You feel lonely when you haven’t found the things, the people, the job or the hobbies that TRULY make you feel connected.
Loneliness is a response to honesty. Loneliness is a response to your standards. Loneliness is a response to the expectations you have for yourself.
And even though it hurts I look at loneliness as the last remaining proof of your essence.
It’s so easy to lose yourself in life. It’s so easy to adopt other peoples’ truths and checklists.
When I feel lonely I see it as a strength.
When you feel lonely and your response is NOT to lower the bar… that means you’re not letting loneliness win.
It means you’re respecting your search for connection and you're not willing to lower your standard to find it just to get rid of that loneliness.
There's a quote I love that really brought this home for me. It’s from sociologist and author Martha Beck who says:
Loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is intact.
Yes! That is it!
Feeling lonely is a sign you’re still looking for connection. It's a sign you haven’t lowered your expectations for yourself. It's a sign you're not happy with what you're supposed to find connection with.
Why do you feel lonely?
It’s NOT because of the reasons we love to resort to and then respond to by lowering the bar.
It’s NOT because you can’t connect with others. It’s NOT because you’re weird. It’s NOT because you’re awkward. It’s NOT because of any inherent personal trait you deem is a flaw.
It’s because you’re still searching for the connection you deserve. End of story.
I hope you look to your search for connection as a sign of strength in your life.