Loneliness isn’t always caused by being on our own. There are several signs of loneliness that can come from feeling disconnected from ourselves.
When signs of loneliness are actually clues to disconnection
Sometimes, we try to avoid feeling lonely by spending all our time with others, but it doesn’t always help. This is because the feeling of loneliness can sometimes be caused by being disconnected from ourselves. In this case, being with people won’t ease the feeling.
In fact, when we experience this kind of loneliness, being with others can actually make it worse. This is because being with people, spending time on social media or watching TV can distract us from developing a relationship with ourselves. The answer to healing this kind of loneliness is to get to know ourselves better. Connecting with ourselves is essential if we are to have happy, fulfilling lives.
We can avoid connecting with ourselves for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, being alone can give us time to think about things we really would rather not. It forces us to think about what we are doing with our lives, whether we are happy and fulfilled and whether we feel good about ourselves. Dwelling on such issues can make us feel dissatisfied or anxious – so we find it easier to numb ourselves with TV, alcohol, parties or social media.
But getting to know ourselves can have huge benefits for our lives. If we reconnect, we can find out what we truly desire and begin to live the life of our dreams. It may be uncomfortable at first, but this work can have huge benefits. Being alone can be wonderfully freeing once we learn to adapt to it.
So how do you know if your loneliness is caused by disconnection? There are four key signs of loneliness that can help you find out.
1. You would do anything rather than be alone
If your social calendar is full to the brim and you make sure you are with other people 24/7, you might be avoiding connecting with yourself. This is especially true if you find yourself spending time with people you don’t even like that much!
Of course, we all love to have close connections to others. However, if you are afraid to be alone for even a few moments, it suggests you are avoiding spending time finding out about yourself and your inner life.
2. When you are alone, you distract yourself from your thoughts
If the moment you are alone, you switch on the TV or pick up the phone, you may be avoiding connecting with your inner self. Again we all enjoy TV and chatting to friends, however, if you scroll through the channels and end up watching something that doesn’t interest you, it indicates that you are trying to distract yourself from your own thoughts.
3. You are always connected
If you have to listen to music when commuting, or a podcast when walking the dog or the radio when doing the household chores, then you may be avoiding yourself. If you can’t even stand in a queue with pulling out your phone to distract yourself from thinking, you are probably avoiding yourself.
You might think it is just boredom, however, if you panic at the thought of not having a phone signal or being without Wi-Fi because this would mean being alone with your thoughts, then you are definitely avoiding yourself.
4. You feel panicky at the thought of being alone
In fact, if you fear being alone and get uncomfortable and panicky at the thought of it, this is a clear sign that you have lost touch with yourself.
If you are afraid to be alone with yourself and your own thoughts and have become dependent on other people to numb or avoid the pain, then you might want to think about reconnecting with yourself.
Why do we fear being alone?
When we were children, we believed we could do anything. We weren’t afraid to sing and dance in front of people. We thought all our paintings were masterpieces. And we knew what we liked and what we didn’t like and made this known to everyone around us.
Unfortunately, as we grew older, we learned to tailor our actions to please others rather than ourselves. We picked up negative messages like ‘you can’t sing’, ‘nice girls don’t get angry, ‘big boys don’t cry’ or ‘you can never make a living being an artist’.
To protect ourselves, we shut off these parts of ourselves that were criticized by parents, teachers, and society in general.
Eventually, we learned to deny that these parts of ourselves even existed. On top of that, we picked up a lot of unhealthy messages about making mistakes and not being good enough.
As a result, often when we are alone, our inner dialogue begins to repeat these negative comments and says things like ‘you are so dumb’, ‘you always do things wrong’ or, ‘you are not good enough, clever enough, talented enough’ etc.