The Cure For Loneliness
By: Nancy
August 3, 2016

There are lots of times when clients come in to my office and talk about feeling lonely. They may even be married and have lots of friends, and still they say that they are lonely. The truth is, you can absolutely feel lonely sitting smack dab in the middle of a group of people. Would you believe me if I told you that you can also feel un-lonely when you are completely by yourself?

This whole idea, then, would suggest that loneliness doesn’t depend on who is with you, or not. True story. We are all born hardwired needing connection with others, although we can grow accustomed to being alone quite a bit. Personality types also affect thresholds for needs of being around people. Extroverts refresh themselves by being with people, while introverts need time alone to refresh. Even pretty introverted folks need people once in awhile, though, and even when alone, they need to know that they are not alone on the planet. We have an innate need for connection, belonging, and community.

So what’s the deal with this loneliness question, then? How is it that I can say that someone can even be all alone and not feel lonely, while someone else can be sitting in a crowd and feel completely isolated? It all has to do with how much connection you have with yourself. Do you like yourself? Do you enjoy your own company? Do you crack yourself up? Do you listen to your own thoughts, and are you nice to yourself in your own head? Perhaps you let the mean, nasty voice in your head run amuck. If you talked to others the way you talk to yourself, would you have any friends? Maybe you have a lot of shame and are somewhat intimacy phobic. You may also have a lot of enmeshments.

Let’s talk a little more about enmeshment. The best way I can describe enmeshments is like this…”I am OK if you _______________” Fill in the blank. If my feelings of contentment and self-esteem depend on you and how you think and feel about me, then we are enmeshed. This is a precarious perch, because now how I feel depends on something you are doing or not. Now I have to control, manipulate, coerce, beg, trade, borrow, or steal to get you to do what I need you to do so I can feel OK. If you don’t, I’m in trouble. If you have this going on in your heart, and the people whom you need to think your awesome don’t comply, you feel lonely.

There is also a great need to develop a positive relationship with yourself. Most people will quickly dismiss this notion, either thinking they already do like themselves a lot, or they just aren’t aware of how wounded or mean they are to themselves subconsciously. Deep-rooted shame issues aren’t always easy to have awareness about, and they are even harder to correct and re-program.

The cure for loneliness is not having more people around. The cure for loneliness happens inside your own heart and mind, with enjoying your own company and de-enmeshing from others. Healing shame and abandonment also help you find an inner peace that melts feelings of loneliness away. This kind of work makes us less needy of others, and more secure and peaceful in our own skin. It’s not really easy work, but it is worth it.

Ready to get started? Is not feeling lonely in a crowd or all alone worth the effort? Let’s go. Thank you for reading my work!

Healing Hearts provides counseling services to the surrounding communities of Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Zionsville, Westfield, Noblesville, and Geist. E-Counseling is available for residents of Indiana. Call or text today to set up your appointment. 317-218-3038

© 2016 Nancy Eisenman, MSW, LSW