Updated: 6 days ago
The Cambridge Dictionary defines lonely as “unhappy because you’re not with other people”.
While that can be true, we’ve all experienced feeling alone while surrounded by people, for instance at school, college, university, hospital etc.
I’ve heard people describe feeling lonely while in a relationship.
I know of people who are often busy socialising with groups of friends who describe themselves as lonely.
Loneliness is more about a lack of connection with others which means you can be with a group of friends or family but have still a sense that you’re an outsider.
This sense of loneliness is often as a result of feeling unequal in some way to the people you’re with - a sense of being less worthy than them and we tell ourselves it’s because we’re too fat, too thin, too ugly, too tall, too short, not clever enough, too boring and so on.
If we feel less worthy or not as good as other people we’ll lack the confidence to form strong connections and relationships and can sometimes end up in relationships with people who exploit our vulnerability and make us feel even more unworthy and lonely.
The beliefs that we have about ourselves are often formed from past experiences.
If we were treated unfairly, bullied, belittled by teachers, parents or siblings or have been dumped by someone we loved we're likely to form the beliefs that we're not as good as other people, or don’t deserve to be liked, loved or cared for and these beliefs can stick with us through life.
When we've experienced unkind treatment by others it feels physically and emotionally extremely painful and we experience suffering in the form of embarrassment, humiliation, shame, anger, sadness and fear.