Tag Archives: loneliness

Loneliness (Part 3)

For the last two weeks, I’ve been going over the topic of loneliness. In part 1, I talked about what loneliness is. In part 2, I went over some of our common unhealthy ways of dealing with loneliness. And finally, in part 3, I’ll be talking about how to deal with loneliness in a healthier way.

In this life, you will see that others have more of something than you do. It’s unavoidable. Get used to it. Just as there will always be someone who appears to have more money than you, there will always be someone who appears to have more people around them than you do. You might be scrolling down your social media feed and it seems like everyone else is in relationships, everyone else is having a good time with so many friends. Focusing on what you don’t have is not the way to go. That will only make you more upset and lonely. Instead, push yourself to be grateful with what you do have, even if you don’t have a single person in your life, and think positively that you will get the social connectedness you long for.

“But Dan, everyone is getting taken left and right. There’s less and less left for me.” Do not conform to this mindset of scarcity because it will only fill you up with more anxiety and loneliness. Instead, adopt a mindset of abundance. You’ve heard the term “plenty of fish in the sea,” right? That’s the way you have to look at it, for both friends and romantic partners.

Of course just thinking positively won’t get you a friend or a romantic partner. Just like making money, you still need to put yourself out there, take risks, and work on it. But it’s about thinking positively along the way.

Now let’s say you’ve built up an “empire” of social connectedness. Then, all of a sudden, you lose it all at once. This could be like you once had so many good friends in one city and then your family gets relocated to another city and you have to start back at zero. Or it could be like you once had the relationship of your dreams and then you guys break up. This could make you feel pretty darn lonely. Whether it has to do with money or social connections, it’s devastating to go from having everything to having nothing. But you have to move on and build it up again. Stop wasting time thinking about the good old days and what you had before. That’s a huge distraction. Instead, believe that you will build an even greater “empire.” And no matter how many times that “empire” may come crashing down, keep your head up and keep on building.

Getting excluded, misunderstood, and treated differently can also cause loneliness. Instead of jumping from community to community or person to person until you finally feel like you fit in and belong, deal with your inner acceptance issues first. Accept yourself and believe your differences make you beautiful.

Something doesn’t always have to happen in order for you to feel lonely. Sometimes you can just randomly feel lonely. And that’s ok. But remember, don’t look for a quick-fix solutions externally. Let yourself temporarily feel the difficult emotion and think positively all the way through.

The best cure for loneliness, though, is intimacy. It won’t matter how many people you have in your life if you have this kind of oneness with somebody or a higher being. When there’s intimacy, the other person really knows you, you don’t have to pretend to be someone else. Intimacy is a huge topic and I have way too much to say on it. So, in a separate series, I’ll cover the topic of intimacy.

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Loneliness (Part 2)

One of the most common traps many of us get into is looking for external solutions to fix our internal problems. So what’s the most common external solution people use to remove their inner loneliness? PEOPLE. People use people all the time to control their loneliness.

But like so many other external solutions, the fix is only temporary. Loneliness will come back. And if all you know is to latch onto people to take away your difficult feelings, that can turn into dependence on people. And you just cannot have healthy synergic social connections when your relationships are all based on dependence.

Some people choose to depend on a community of people. Dependence on this option could look like someone who just can’t stand being by himself and he just has to be out with friends all the time. Some people choose to depend on a romantic partner. Dependence on this option could look like someone who jumps from one relationship to another with hardly any break in between.

If you are desperate for people to be in your life in order to cover up your loneliness, that can cause even more problems. Here are some of the common problems that arise from desperation in this area. Just to get people, you are more likely to:

  • Overprioritize approval from others that you
  • Lie, make up stories, and pretend to be someone you are not, overexaggerate your successes
  • You are more likely to be perfectionistic about how pleasant you are around others
  • You are more likely to get very disappointed at others for their failure to readily be there for you
  • You are more likely to take advantage of very giving and caring people by unloading your sob stories with absolutely no intention to move forward from them
  • You are more likely to lack healthy boundaries with people and, because of that
  • You are more likely to overextend yourself for others while neglecting your own needs
  • You are more likely to look for community in all the wrong places
  • And hold onto unhealthy relationships

One of my favourite movies that depicts a lot of these problems with loneliness is “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

But not everyone uses people to remove their loneliness. Some people use substances to numb themselves, some people use work or entertainment to distract themselves, some people go to sleep and hope they wake up not feeling it anymore, and some people use unhealthy psychological strategies in their head to help them cope with their loneliness. Even though you’re not using people in these examples, I still would not recommend responding in these ways because they all have to do with running away from your difficult feelings.

If you’ve already developed a habit of running away from your loneliness, I know it’s going to be very hard to all of a sudden not do these things, but for your own mental health and emotional freedom, you have to let go of these temporary quick-fix solutions.

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Loneliness

One of the things I struggled most with in the past is loneliness. If you haven’t heard my story yet, you can watch my “Draw My Life” video here. I did all the wrong things when it came to dealing with loneliness. But through it all, I am now able to share my experience so that you guys don’t have to go through the same thing, making the same mistakes.

Just as it is a normal part of life to experience both happiness and sadness, it is a normal part of life, as social beings, to experience both a sense of social connectedness and a sense of social disconnectedness or loneliness. And if you are a highly sensitive person, you are going to feel these emotions much more intensely than the average person does. But no matter how intensely you feel these emotions, it does not mean that something is wrong with you. It means your emotions are working well.

But so many of us look at loneliness as a “bad” problem, a problem that should not exist at all. When we look at it like this, it only seems to make sense to remove this emotion right away. And that is what so many people do. That is what I used to do. When you remove it right away, although you return to a more comfortable emotional state more immediately, you will be denying yourself a greater long-term reward. That greater long-term reward is tolerance. This kind of strength can only be built up from continual exposure to a temporary pain that you’ll live through. Yes, you will live through the emotional experience of loneliness.

We all could use some extra strength some time in our lives, especially when we run into some very isolating events. My hope is to equip you guys with that extra strength. But before we do that, we have cut out some of our bad habits that hold us back from achieving that goal. So in my next post, I will go over some of the common unhealthy ways many of us deal with loneliness.

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Understanding Elliot Rodger

Exploring the emotions of loneliness, rejection, low self-esteem, perfectionism, “nice guys finish last,” anger, resentment and hate through Elliot Rodger.

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The Loneliness of the Gifted and Genius

NOTE: I use the words “gifted” and “genius” in the place of “extremely sensitive” and “so extremely sensitive that there are not too many of them in this world.” I believe these definitions work better than the results of IQ tests because there is much more to these people than their intellectual overexcitability.

“It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.”
– Albert Einstein

Being born into the one percent of the population that is extremely sensitive not only comes with many great advantages, but also many challenging difficulties.

One of the most challenging difficulties experienced by gifted individuals and geniuses is loneliness.

A Beautiful Mind

[ Russell Crowe as John Forbes Nash in “A Beautiful Mind” ]

Psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski identified five areas of “overexcitabilities” in gifted individuals. We experience both the “bright side” and the “dark side” of these overexcitabilities:

Overexcitability

Bright Side

Dark Side

Psychomotor • Extremely active
• Surplus of energy
• Workaholism
• Defining ourselves by what we DO, not by who we are
• Difficulty sitting still, relaxing, sleeping
Sensual • Heightened awareness of all five senses • Constant physical discomfort
• Seeing, hearing disturbing things (not seen, heard by others)
Intellectual • Extremely smart
• Love of knowledge and learning
• Thoughts, logic, reasoning that hardly anyone understands
• Workaholic mind
• Existential depression
Imaginational • Extremely imaginative
• Vivid dreams
• Imagining disturbing events (not imagined by others)
• Fear of the unknown
Emotional • Great depth of emotions
• Concern for others, empathy
• Intense emotions that hardly anyone understands
• Depression
• Fear of our own intense emotions

Just like everyone else, we go through hard times. Just like everyone else, we experience painful thoughts and feelings. And just like everyone else, we would like to have someone who would listen to us, understand us, validate our experiences, and care for the things we care about.

Sadly, while the rest of the world gets this kind of understanding and care from their loved ones, many gifted people and geniuses are famished in this area. When we struggle with our “dark side,” the rest of the world tells us that we are wrong to see, think, and feel what we see, think, and feel. The rest of the world tells us that we are being too extreme, too dramatic, and too crazy. The rest of the world sees us as being disordered and labels us with ADHD, OCD, OCPD, schizophrenia, etc. By the way, before you go on accepting any diagnosis, be sure to read this first. The rest of the world leaves us to “professionals” who put us on medication that kills our “bright side” along with our “dark side” so that we become more “normal,” more like everyone else. In order to avoid the pain that comes with being misunderstood and outcasted by others, so many of us have trained ourselves to be “normal” on the outside while still experiencing our unsharable intense thoughts and feelings inside. We are accepted by others on the condition that we continue to pretend to be people we are not.

This loneliness is the root cause of the painful depression experienced by many gifted individuals and geniuses. Well-meaning friends and family members who think they understand this kind of depression then advise us to just be more optimistic – but how does a roof over my head or my many talents address the issue of how incredibly lonely I feel?

Many gifted individuals and geniuses then choose to distract themselves from their loneliness with an obsessive, all-consuming pursuit of excellence. But no matter how big of a dent we create in the universe, no matter how excellently we perform, our loneliness still exists and it kills us inside. Those of us who are not distracted enough are at a very high risk of committing suicide.

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO HELP YOUR GIFTED/GENIUS FRIEND FEEL LESS LONELY (OTHERS):
Resist judging your friend’s experience. Rather than thinking that your friend is wrong or crazy, be open to the idea that your friend is just “different.” Even if you cannot relate to your friend’s experience, still try to show that you care. If you do not have the right words (if you are less sensitive than your gifted/genius friend, you probably do not have the right words), use physical touch. A caring hug can make your friend feel much less lonely.

HOW TO ADDRESS YOUR LONELINESS (GIFTED INDIVIDUALS/GENIUSES):
First of all, acknowledge your loneliness and recognize the pointlessness of living an exhausting life of moving from one distraction to another. Put an end to your distractions and forms of false intimacy. Face your loneliness once and for all. Stop agreeing with the thoughts in your head about how no one understands you. Work hard at reversing those thoughts. If no one around you is able to give you the sense of intimacy that you long for because of their lack of sensitivity toward your differences, find a professional therapist who is trained to give you that sense of intimacy through the patient-therapist relationship. For me, what eliminated my loneliness was choosing to believe in an omniscient God who not only knows all the things that I think and feel, but also cares about all the things that I think and feel.

This message was approved and shared by American Mensa (the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world)

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