Loneliness is not about solitude. It’s about feeling a lack of connection with the world and the people around you.
And you don’t have to be alone to feel this way.
A deep sense of loneliness can happen when you’re in a crowded room or while you’re on your own and lost in your thoughts.
It becomes emotional cancer, leaving you with a longing to share your thoughts and feelings with someone you can trust. But the lonelier you feel, the more it drains you, and that’s when fear, self-doubt, and mistrust of others creep in.
But lonely people also have a uniqueness about them. There are 6 things only deeply lonely people will understand because they perceive people and everyday life differently from those whose emotional needs are met.
If you’re experiencing loneliness, you’ll know what I mean.
To grasp how chronic loneliness impacts your health and happiness, let’s explore a few things that only truly lonely people experience.
1) Feeling misunderstood
Most of us have been in situations where we felt misheard or misunderstood. If you’ve experienced this, you know how frustrating it is when you can’t get your message across, or someone makes an assumption about you.
But loneliness brings a new meaning to being misunderstood.
There’s a misconception that loneliness means you’re alone. Some believe that you’re lonely because you don’t have friends or aren’t in a relationship.
But what I’m about to tell you might shock you.
Over half of all married couples experience loneliness. One person in the relationship reaches a point where they can’t share their feelings and thoughts with their significant other. The more you keep your feelings to yourself, the more you grow apart until there’s a complete disconnect and trust is gone.
So when someone suggests that you find friends, go out more, or work on a relationship to get over your loneliness, they have no idea how you feel. They don’t understand that it’s an incredibly subjective experience, and the reasons for feeling this way differ whether you are alone or in a relationship.
If there’s anything that deeply lonely people understand more than anyone else, it’s feeling incredibly misunderstood.
2) Coping on your own
When you’re all that you’ve got, you’re forced to learn to deal with your emotions on your own.
Look at it this way. When you have friends, family, or a partner whom you share strong connections with, you can lean on these people when things get tough. In other words, you always have someone in your corner you can trust to share what you’re thinking and feeling.
Those who don’t have people they can be vulnerable with grapple with sadness, anger, and fear.
They keep their feelings and thoughts to themselves because they believe that no one will understand them. There’s nobody to see the tears and the pain that they’re holding back.
You end up building your walls and spending more time in solitude.
If you are going through deep-seated loneliness, remember that there is always someone you can talk to. Whether it be a professional or that one person you feel comfortable with, don’t suffer in silence.
3) Losing a sense of direction
Deep-seated loneliness can leave you feeling as if you’re living in an empty shell. It’s a dark place to be.
What many people don’t realize is that lonely individuals can continue to function in their jobs and have a conversation, but behind closed doors, they’re struggling with the inner turmoil of feeling a sense of loss and hopelessness.
Along with this sense of loss comes sadness and an ongoing mental battle to find solace.
That’s because lonely people often struggle with finding direction in their lives. They experience an existential crisis, unsure of the decisions they should make or how to overcome their emotional isolation.
They feel lost.
The irony is that some of the loneliest people are the most successful. Despite their achievements, they still feel like something is missing. Things or activities that previously brought them joy and motivation no longer serve the same purpose.
They are looking for something that every single one of us strives for, and that is to find true meaning and purpose in life.
4) The desire to have meaningful connections.
Many of us take our relationships for granted. We assume that the people in our lives will always be there for us, and in most instances, we don’t think twice about making new connections, whether we’re meeting someone for the first time or in a group setting.
If you experience deep loneliness, you don’t have the same types of social and emotional connections.
You generally keep to yourself and wish that you had more people you could trust and rely on.
Everyone wants to feel loved and validated, and when it’s missing, it leaves you wanting more meaningful relationships that allow you to be your authentic self. Forming an emotional connection is what motivates us and makes us feel fulfilled.
Because deeply lonely people lack true social connections, they understand what it’s like to desire a loving relationship or an unwavering friendship.
5) Feeling stuck
If every single day of your life, you could only think about the emptiness inside of you, you wouldn’t know how to move forward.
Whether in your career or relationships, you can reach a point where you don’t feel like you’re progressing. Things just seem to stay the same, even though you yearn for something new and exciting that will restore your joy and purpose.
You become overwhelmed by anxiety and sadness, making it hard to find the confidence to make difficult but positive changes.
Those who struggle with prolonged loneliness are all too familiar with feeling stuck. When you’ve spent enough time on your own and in your head, you question a lot about yourself.
Let’s take getting into a romantic relationship as an example.
Deep loneliness can make you shy and nervous when you interact with someone else. To protect yourself from rejection or being judged, you might even come across as closed-off without realizing it.
These feelings and perceptions influence your personality, and you can’t understand why you can’t make a relationship stick. It creates hopelessness and a tendency to give up quickly, leaving you stuck.
To overcome this pattern, you have to shift your way of thinking to one of optimism and resilience. Accept that failure might happen. Not every person you meet will ignite a spark or become a lasting friend. That’s okay.
Once you’re able to make small changes, you’re on your way to becoming unstuck.
6) Feeling emotionally isolated
You don’t have to be an introvert or always be on your own to feel isolated.
Lonely people know the feeling all too well. Yes, they spend a fair amount of time alone, but even in social settings where you have groups of people, they tend to hang back.
A good friend of mine, whom I had known for almost half of my life, first told me about his loneliness in passing when he joked about his only cuddle buddy being his dog.
He was married to his wife for 20 years, but despite sharing a bed, they lived completely separate lives. He explained how they went from being best friends and sharing everything to having no connection at all.
Despite not being physically alone, he felt extremely isolated.
That’s because being emotionally and socially lonely for some time leads to negative ways of thinking and feeling that drive you further into isolation.
You become filled with self-doubt and question your abilities, and it affects your self-worth. The more you doubt yourself, the more you hold back. This can apply to emotional isolation in relationships and to those who are looking for a relationship.
If you attended a party and someone asked about your friends and hobbies, you might feel too embarrassed or awkward to explain that you don’t have friends and you’re more of a homebody.
It wouldn’t feel good to show up alone at a social event, either. When you’re guarded, you might find yourself questioning others’ intentions when they talk to you.
This pattern reinforces your physical and emotional isolation.
Remember, if you don’t try to connect with other people, despite the fear of rejection or failure, it will become more challenging to overcome a deep sense of loneliness.
Loneliness is about feeling like you can’t connect with anyone. You go to work every day; you might even be married, but when you feel unheard and unseen, you question your purpose and existence.
As a deeply lonely person, there are things that only you will understand beyond measure. Feeling isolated, the desire for true human connections, and wanting more meaning out of life make you wonder whether you’ll ever be joyful again.
It’s a dark space, but it’s ultimately up to you to make hard decisions that will positively change your life.
If there’s a disconnect in your relationship, speak to a therapist or move on. If you don’t have friends and family you can trust, work on your fear of failure and rejection, and try to be open to connecting with other people.
It’s hard, but only you can make the change you desire.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.