Feeling lonely on days of love

Umbrella, rain, alone, solitary, lonely, Romania

Loneliness is a feeling of isolation and disconnection that is cold and miserable, wherever you are. It can be worse at a noisy party than alone in the rain.

In these days running up to Valentine’s Day and its Romanian version Dragobete and Martisor, we are fed images of romance and love, and the whole world seems wrapped in a rosy haze of togetherness. But what about those who don’t feel the love? Who feel disconnected, isolated, and invisible?

Loneliness feels so much worse on these days when you’re supposed to be happy – especially in Romania, where the culture is so family-orientated and open-hearted. The upcoming love-fests can be agonising for those who feel …. Read more…



Attention and intention

Full of life, banish loneliness, be a good listener

Is this the face of a good listener? Would you like to have her as a friend to talk to?

One crucial thing to understand is the way we connect with others. It’s not enough to be in the same place as other people. You can be in a crowded room, a busy station, a park full of people, even in bed with your spouse… and still feel lonely. In fact, it can feel much worse – to be close to others but be shut out, shut off from them, invisible. Sometimes you feel that even if you yelled and screamed, no-one would hear you.

Sometimes even if you’re in the middle of a conversation, you can feel that your companion has drifted off, distracted by something else or just daydreaming. They’re not listening to you any more, and when you prod them, they are startled as they pull their attention back to you.

“Sorry, I was miles away…”

Not very flattering, is it? Is what you were saying so boring?

Who knows what was going on in their head. Maybe they were terribly worried and couldn’t concentrate. Maybe they saw something fascinating over your shoulder. Maybe they’re exhausted after a hellish day. Maybe they’re shallow and selfish and need a slap…

Ignore that last bit – it’s how it makes us feel but it’s almost certainly not fair.

We’ve all had it happen to us… but have you ever been guilty of it? Not listening, not keeping your attention focused on what someone is telling you?

Being a good listener is a great way to connect: here are seven points of a listener.

banish loneliness, be full of life

Are they listening? Are they people you’d want as friends for their kindness and empathy?

1. Keep eye contact as much as possible; keep your eyes on the speaker’s face, at least.

2. Listen with all your senses – more is said with body language and tone of voice than with words.

3. Don’t interrupt. Don’t argue. Ask questions to get clarity, not to interrogate.

4. Stay close but not too close – don’t invade the speaker’s personal space unless invited.

5. Let your body show your interest; lean forward just a little, don’t fidget, but nod your head to indicate you hear them and understand.

6. Listen with empathy. Don’t criticise, and don’t judge – not even in your head.

7. Be kind. The speaker will feel your kind intention.

Do you know how it feels to have a good listener to talk to? 

Are you a good listener?


Might As Well Be Me

Dion Burn writes on his blog Crystal Delusion succinctly and powerfully about his life. Almost every post is worth reposting here, but this one in particular asked to be reblogged:

“As long as I can’t live with myself, I will be lonely. My own company is more than tolerable, but impatience craves others, to either fill that gap between me or mask it like a tiger trap. The craving demands more effort than I am willing to put out for it. Or I’d rather just hang out with myself. I wouldn’t mind you coming over, but it will take an invitation to get me out. I have more fun in my own habitat. Lonely is not something I have to be anymore than unhappy. Easily said. Who doesn’t know that? Knowing is worth very little to the heart. The dumbest thing I did was to think when I was in love. Nothing could have confused me more thoroughly. I didn’t trust thought, but I had no instinct in love, so I couldn’t trust that, either. I don’t doubt that I was in love, though I’d never known love, but it was motivated by loneliness. I wanted to be not-alone before I wanted love. As long as I don’t love myself I’ll be looking for someone to do it for me. It might as well be me.”

via Might As Well Be Me.

Living emotions through drama

Working out emotions through fictional characters, Full of life, full of joy, loneliness, grief

William Hurt in ‘J’enrage de son absence’

A good review of a new French film, “J’enrage de son absence” (Maddened by his Absence) reminded me that living through painful emotions through fictional characters can help, especially if the emotions are complicated and confusing. Of course, jumping into a film about grief-stricken, lonely people when you’re feeling much the same can lead to a sense of drowning in it, so it doesn’t always work… But if, like me, you don’t quite know what you’re feeling and can’t quite sort out why and what and how and when, watching a drama play out through fictional characters can help get things a bit straighter and – bonus – make us realise again that we’re far from being alone in feeling this way.

When my sister rang to tell me she had cancer, it was just as I and a friend were going in to a cinema to watch ‘Love Actually’. Disaster. The upbeat, sweet romantic comedy was so much at odds with my feelings that it meant me crying silently through most of the film, especially at the end, with the images of happy people greeting each other at the airport. Hundreds of them, all ecstatic at seeing their families and friends. Instead of thinking positively about what I could do for Ginny, and being able to talk it through with my friend, I was stuck in the dark cinema with my imaginings and all this happy sweetness. In contrast to the feelings on screen, I was picturing the worst and starting to grieve for what was in danger of being lost. Not good.

Have you had an experience of fiction affecting your emotional state for good or ill?

External solutions to internal problems

I read lots of articles, blog posts, surveys, reports etc about loneliness every day. In every single one the potential solutions offered are external. Turn to God; join a club; take up a hobby; lose weight, buy these clothes; volunteer; get a dog; get online… Most of these help, at least temporarily; some are red herrings. But none of them do the job properly.

That’s because feelings (including feeling lonely) are an internal process which only YOU can control and change. Unless you learn to control your feelings (which are chemical reactions inside your body) even the most romantic, the most profound, satisfying relationships will only offer you happiness while they last. Even the busiest of social lives or the most consuming work will only keep the lonely feelings at bay until you come to rest or get home.

The only answer is to get inside yourself and discover the truth about connection, life, love and being human. We’re all right, you know, every one of us. At heart, deep down where it matters, we’re fine. We’re full of life, and never alone. If only we could remember where we left the key to our inner world, eh?