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April 5, 2023

Why We Experience Loneliness—& How to Heal.

 

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I believe that our natural, primordial state is that of unity, love, and oneness. And a big part of our personal and spiritual journeys is remembering this. 

When we were in the womb, we felt safe, connected, and supported. We felt a sense of wholeness. And we spend our whole lives yearning to feel this again. 

When we experience deep-seated feelings of loneliness, I believe this comes first and foremost because of our disconnection from the Self. 

But what creates this disconnection? Trauma does. 

Trauma is any deeply disturbing event that disrupts the nervous system’s ability to cope. 

According to Gabor Maté, “The essence of trauma is a disconnect from the self. Therefore the essence of healing is not just uncovering one’s past, but reconnecting with oneself in the present.”

When we experience trauma we:

  1. Disconnect from our bodies as a way to cope with the pain, fear, and difficult emotions (aka dissociation).
  2. Disconnect from the present moment: our thoughts consume us and we get caught in loops of obsessive fear-based thinking and negative self-talk (aka chronic stress or anxiety).
  3. Disconnect from our hearts: we struggle to trust ourselves and our intuition because we have been heavily invalidated in the past (aka self-doubt).
  4. Disconnect from our authentic selves: we become what we think we have to be in order to survive or be loved (aka people pleasing or codependency) hence we don’t know who we are or what our needs are. 

These are just some of the ways this disconnection from Self manifests. 

Tell me, when we don’t belong in our bodies, in our hearts, or the present moment, when no place feels like home, when we feel like we can’t trust anyone…would that not create the felt experience that we are totally alone? 

Absolutely.

And this is also where addiction and unhealthy coping mechanisms are birthed.

So what is the solution? 

To start reconnecting with the Self and heal our (attachment) trauma. 

I mention attachment trauma specifically because this is usually the first type of trauma we experience and it directly informs how we relate to ourselves, the world, and those around us. Loneliness is a relational emotion. 

Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment (avoidant or anxious attachment) are more likely to experience loneliness, particularly in adulthood. This may be due to a number of factors, such as difficulty forming close relationships, fear of rejection or abandonment, and negative self-beliefs.

Experiencing rejection, abandonment, or neglect growing up also contributes to us making the conclusion that we are “all alone” or “not worthy of love or belonging.”

Feelings of loneliness are more noticeable or present for individuals with anxious attachment tendencies, as there is a strong yearning for love, connection, and intimacy. For the avoidant individual, that need is also there, but it is often suppressed and replaced by work, achievements, or other distractions. There is less of a focus on relationships.

Consequently, if you are struggling with loneliness, the approach I use with my clients is to help them move from anxious/avoidant attachment to secure.

When we have a secure attachment style we experience presence, trust, attunement, and resonance. All these elements contribute to us feeling connected with ourselves, our emotions, and the world around us. We are able to regulate our emotions and cultivate deep meaningful relationships. We feel comfortable with intimacy but also enjoy taking time alone. We trust ourselves and our intuition. We know who we are at our core—that we are spiritual beings, interconnected with the whole fabric of the universe and with each other. When this is in place, loneliness just disappears.

How I do this practically in my programs is by focusing on:

  1. Reconnecting with Self (Body, Mind, Heart). I share some ways to do this here.
  2. Healing the inner child and attachment trauma. Click here to access a free inner child mediation to heal trauma that I prepared especially for Elephant readers.
  3. Reconnecting with our authenticity and our spiritual nature.

How did my article land for you?

If you need some personal guidance on this topic or have any questions, don’t hesitate to send me a message or leave a comment below! I will personally respond. 

~

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