Loneliness and shame - we live in a world of loneliness
We live in a world of loneliness. We live in shame with this. You know the story.
We live in a world where communication methods can link you 24/7 with almost anyone, anytime, on a vast number of platforms. Technology rules our lives, through convenience, efficient and seamless systems, and AI is the next step in our reality.
Social media has become as easily digested and more accessible than the age-old daily newspaper, and our opportunities to speak with humans and have human contact disappear by the day. We reach for our phones when we feel the need to connect, and get met with an instant hit of something. Connection it is not.
We lead busy lives, and the convenience of being able to do almost anything and everything online, including shopping, from the internet to your front door in what can be minutes if not next day, makes life easier for many.
But we miss out big time with this way of being.
We have connectivity but little community. Communication but little real connection.
Everybody is talking, but hardly anyone is being heard
Studies show a third of people feel very lonely in this world. We all have the capacity to feel lonely sometimes, but for many, the feeling generates a desire to connect; we reach out and make that connection.
Many of us even enjoy being alone; we crave alone-time to connect to ourselves and gain energy through rest and downtime.
But then there is chronic loneliness, and alongside that for many there is shame in feeling lonely.
We may feel the yearning to connect with another in a deeper and more meaningful way, yet feel paralysed to reach out, ashamed of our need for human connectedness.
Our society places value on ‘independence’, the martyr that can ‘do it all themselves’, and the ‘selfless person’ who takes nothing for themselves.
On the flip side, society communicates less value to those with high needs, ‘the needy’, and shames us for ‘attention seeking’.
But human connection, attention and (inter)dependence are all basic human needs, as much as water, food, and air.
What’s wrong with needing attention? Absolutely nothing! It’s a basic human need. What’s wrong with being needy? We all have needs!
We can ‘lose our minds’ and become mentally unwell when we are kept in isolation. And yet, with the way our society is structuring itself, isolation is prolific.
Connection - to be seen, heard, loved, empathised with, cared for, supported, challenged, or even just to be with another, is integral to our sense of self, our ability to feel like we even exist sometimes.
When we have relational issues, and feel unable to create meaningful interactions and relationships, usually through attachment issues through childhood and adolescence, it can be really difficult to reach out and connect when we feel lonely. Shame can shroud us, whispering lies to us like ‘no one cares’, ‘no one wants us’, ‘we don’t belong or deserve another’s attention’.
Through therapy, if you find the right therapist, not only can you experience the connection of sitting with another and be seen, heard and witnessed, but through the process of understanding and self-empathy, you CAN learn to connect in meaningful ways with others. You can learn to build a network of connection around you to ease the loneliness.
If you find a therapist who works transpersonally, you may also be able to learn how to build connection with something greater in the world, to feel part of the bigger picture and understand deeper parts of yourself such as finding purpose.
You may just be able to find what it feels like to find ‘home’ within yourself and with the love and support of another around you.
If you feel lonely right now, I urge you to tune into the desire to connect, no matter how small it is, to acknowledge but let go of the shaming words for just long enough to reach out and ask for what you need. For human contact, right now.