Rather than 'talking the talk'... I wanted to 'walk the walk' as this is a topic that is close to my heart for many reasons. So, I have chosen to join the conversation this week....
Initially when news of the lockdown was announced and over the coming weeks, numerous friends contacted me to check that I was ok. At this point you could not be exposed to the news or social media for more than 1 minute without the word ‘isolation’ being used.
I have no doubts that this will have triggered many hundreds of thousands of friends, families and strangers to check in on each other. And this has been one of the great positives to come from COVID-19 and this period of physical isolation.
But the cause of loneliness goes far beyond a missing of physical contact. For me it’s about connection. Emotional, mental, spiritual. And this also includes a connection with ‘self’.
I’ve always had an interest, perhaps a passion, in self-development and now realise that for years I was disconnected with myself. I was a people pleaser and constantly put others ahead of my own needs…this came from a lack of self-worth and a need for me to belong. I sought connection and craved this from others in an attempt to fill the space where loneliness lived.
For the most part, I was happy and content! But there were undoubtedly periods of excruciating loneliness. I’m talking take your breath away, pain in the heart, can’t stop crying loneliness.
I remember one particular time when I was living in Leicester, many friends had moved away and everyone I knew had partners. Sundays were the worst. There was a societal pressure (from my perspective) that you ‘should’ be in a relationship (not to mention the pressures of latter years including having a husband / children). This magnified what might have been a fleeting emotion and led it to becoming ‘stuck’.
But loneliness isn’t only applicable for those that are single and /or living alone.
You can feel unbelievably lonely within a relationship and with loving friends and family in your life. Loneliness can visit whenever disconnection is present…. There’s no rule as to who can experience it and who can’t. Who is susceptible and who isn’t. And how it shows up for us individually. And it can be helpful to remind ourselves… that loneliness is a shared human experience.
And this is why it can be helpful to talk. Not about the mundane things (which are perhaps necessary at times!), but the more meaningful. This is not to ‘fix’ each other, as there is nothing to be fixed. But to build that sense of connection through sharing, to demonstrate care and to show others that though they may feel lonely – they are not alone x