Yesterday I attended a very interesting and inspiring meetup called Connecting in the Lonely Century, the speaker and author of the book “The Lonely Century: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That’s Pulling Apart” was Noreena Hertz.
The talk was about the loneliness that many people are experiencing this century which has been strengthened by the pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
After this meetup, I reflected on my own experience of loneliness and was surprised by the realisation that I personally experienced more feelings of loneliness before the pandemic while still working in an office, than in the last year. How could this be?
I realised it had to do with the deeper, ongoing connection I am building with myself. This sounds counterintuitive, but by allowing myself self-nourishment on a daily basis and by taking my feelings and needs seriously as opposed to brushing them aside with statements such as, “don’t be silly, just get on with it” or “don’t dwell on it, it will only make you depressed” or “others have it much harder than me, stop complaining” , I am an ally and supporter of myself. I have become my chief champion, encouraging myself and allowing all my feelings to be, without judgement or attaching a story to them. When you take all your feelings, needs and desires seriously, listen attentively and give them space, you can find a way to satisfy and nourish them. By giving yourself encouragement and compassion, you feel supported, loved and validated and therefore less lonely!
Loneliness often occurs because we feel disconnected, misunderstood, unsupported, criticized and unloved.
When you are aware that you are being self-critical, judgemental or not taking the time to listen to your feelings and your needs, stop and ask yourself what you would do if your child or most loved pet was having the same experience. Make sure you give yourself the same time and energy as you would them.
Be your biggest fan, support and encourage yourself, acknowledge what you do well every day, listen to what you need and make it happen. Give your feelings space and attention and always treat yourself with the great respect and compassion you deserve!