These are some weird and stressful times! What better topic for our newest episode than feeling lonely. We recorded this episode about a month before the coronavirus reality started impacting our lives in the United States, but we’re hoping that it can still be helpful, especially if you’re feeling alone with fear or anxiety about our present circumstances.
All of us have some experience with feeling alone. In this modern time, we are more connected than ever, but that can also make us feel farther away. Join us as we explore the question of how to deal with loneliness, especially in these unique, global circumstances.
Annie takes the lead in episode 49 and offers this definition of loneliness: “a state of mind characterized by a dissociation between what an individual wants or expects from a relationship and what that individual experiences in that relationship.” Or, in very simple terms, it’s perceived isolation. We’ll borrow that definition from Stephanie Cacioppo’s study of loneliness.
If you’re dealing with loneliness, we want to assure you that you are so not alone in the struggle! These numbers reflect the impact of loneliness pre-quarantine, so we can only imagine that more and more people are starting to share in this difficult experience. 1 in 3 Americans is impacted by loneliness and 1 in 12 is severely impacted. And get this: loneliness is actually contagious. So we’ve got a lot of good reasons to dive into the topic and learn how to fight loneliness together.
It turns out that loneliness is a piece of biology that helps us recognize our social needs. This was a really useful signal to ourselves that we need other people. It’s our biological cue to get into connection. If we don’t tap into the great connection that exists between all of us, we can get really stuck feeling separate. This can be especially hard if we have learned how to live life without deep connections, which can manifest as a state of chronic loneliness.
Often, we don’t let people into our deepest and most painful experiences because we feel like outsiders. Perhaps we feel ashamed of our process or experience. Or maybe we just can’t connect to our true sense of belonging. No matter the reason we’re feeling cut off, healing means turning toward connection with ourselves and with others. If we want to learn how to overcome loneliness, we need to let people in.
Wondering, why do I feel so alone? There are places inside of us that feel separate, disconnected, and like they don’t belong. The lonely places can seem even bigger because we feel like we’re the only ones having this experience. So we get to ask ourselves, what unmet needs are asking for my attention?
We get it and we’re here for you! We’re so grateful to have each other and our spiritual community as our spiritual bffs. We need this loving support system and we want you to feel supported, too. We are so grateful when you reach out to us and want to urge you to reach out when you’re feeling alone. So start where it’s easy and feels warm (we hope!)
We know how scary it can feel to extend yourself to others, especially when you’re feeling cut off. But in order to heal from loneliness, we need rich, reciprocal bonds. It’s a two-way street of connection where we let people get to know us and we also show up to get to know them.
Instead of struggling through this life by ourselves, we want to share and celebrate our vital, human connections. Thank you so, so much for listening and being part of our virtual community. Please reach out and let us know what you need during these difficult times and how we can help support your spiritual journey. We are always here for you!
And as always, we can’t wait to hear what you think. Please let us know by emailing us or connecting with us on social media and commenting there. We’re all one big team. We’ve got to stick together!
So come find us in all the places: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Insight Timer, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud, Podbean, and Stitcher (or our Contact page) and share your feelings, thoughts, and anything else! Thanks for listening to our spiritual podcasts. We love ya!