All this month, I am writing about how loneliness can creep into our daily experiences while we are busy handling the next task that is on our list.
Have your ever felt that you were singled out unfairly? That someone else got that promotion that you thought was yours? Or maybe you weren’t included in that conversation or asked to that event?
That feeling of being excluded while everyone else is getting the rewards or having a great time can really play havoc with our self esteem, and thereby, our self efficacy.
For example, I am not immune from feeling lonely when I lose a contract. Do you know what I mean? At first, I can chalk it up to inexperience or the client’s circumstances, but as I continue up the ladder of success, year after year, I can start to view each obstacle I face as a confirmation that I am alone in the struggle.
You get what you expect –Christine Jeffrey
When you and I experience rejection whether it’s a “no” or a “not yet,” and that happens more than once, we can start to wonder whether we are the only ones experiencing disappointment, and thereby, experiencing disconnection in this way.
Intellectually, we may be able to “talk ourselves down”, however, emotionally, it is a much harder battle to win. We can misinterpret the causes of our feelings and emotions about being alone, and when we do, the stories we tell ourselves can harm us and prevent us from moving forward. Consequently, our self esteem goes down, and with it, our self efficacy.
In loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, the authors, Cacioppio and Patrick write about how this misinterpretation can confuse us and lead us to reinforce the death spiral of beliefs that lead us to feel even more isolated:
The person who starts out with a painful, even frightening sensation of being alone may begin to see dangers everywhere on the social landscape. Filtered through the lens of lonely social cognition, other people may appear more critical, competitive, denigrating or otherwise unwelcoming. These kinds of interpretations quickly become expectations, as loneliness turns the perfectly normal fear of negative evaluation into a readiness to fend off blows .loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection (15) John T. Cacioppio and William Patrick
We can get stuck in loneliness, and when we do, we can isolate ourselves from others.
It Doesn’t Have to be That Way
There are ways that we can manage the consequences of loneliness, so that, we can reconnect to ourselves, reconnect with others and perceive events in a heathier way. Doing that reduces struggle and suffering. You and I deserve to have less struggle and less suffering in our lives.
The Inclusion Protocol
Step 1: Include yourself. Reconnect and remind yourself of just how far you’ve come. Nothing that ever happens to you can diminish you or the light within you. By reminding yourself of all of your successes, you reconnect to the parts of you that you haven’t been focusing on.
Step 2: Include ease. Make it easy. For example, who can you talk to right now? Friend, family, or wise mentor? How do you know what’s really true about what happened? What would make you feel like a million bucks right now? By simply asking yourself questions to redirect your focus on what you can do helps you to ease the feelings of loneliness.
Step 3: Include others. Set friendship goals. Do you have a schedule to follow up and connect with your friends on a consistent basis? Do you have shopping friends, foodie friends, or book club friends? If you don’t, how would you make them? Whatever you are into, having friends to share your struggles and your triumphs with makes you less likely to get stuck when loneliness strikes.
We all can have moments of loneliness, but we don’t have to stay there. Just knowing that other people have had similar experiences can help make us feel better about ourselves and our lives. So give these three steps a try and you may find that loneliness is just a cue to remind you to connect to yourself, to connect to the people, and to connect to the ideas that matter most to you.
If you feel that you want to take your habits of living to the next level, you can click here to Learn more about High Performance Coaching. The next round of coaching is open. As a gift for applying for a free strategy session, I will give you my 52 Weeks of Vision Digital Journal for FREE! – 52 prompts that help you to learn more about your strengths, more about what you want, and guidance on how you will make the vision of your extraordinary life a reality. It’s my thank you to you for being willing to take that next step.
If this style of coaching speaks to you, then I want to encourage you to apply. The transformation began in my life when I discovered how coaching could help me to create an extraordinary life.
So please apply here: https://forms.gle/uLSVrT8EbhhYAD9h8. The questionnaire, itself, is a great self discovery tool and may help you to think more clearly about who you are and how you are showing up in the world. I want the very best for you and coaching could be the next right step!
Leave a comment, ask a question, I’m here to help.
Thank you so much for reading and until next time,
Make the most out of the time you have!
Coach “You are never alone”