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Overcoming Loneliness by Cultivating Deeper Connections

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Between the winter blues, the pandemic that’s finally beginning to fade, and all of the other crazy things that have been going on in the world, most of us have at some point in the past few years felt this deep pit within us that seems to ache or a restlessness within our soul that seems to crave something more. Though the word forlorn is often neglected in use, the emotion itself is fitting to describe that inner sadness, loneliness, and sense of abandonment that is hidden inside of that aching or restlessness. This inner feeling can become crippling and hopeless if it’s held onto, but its message holds clear- “I am lonely.”

In this series, I want to explore that forlorn feeling and its message to us and how we can overcome it to find a sense of connection and happiness again.

The Challenge: The Struggle for Deeper Connections

When we feel lonely, we often seek out external companions, trying to fill that void within us. While it’s true, that humans thrive on social connection, it’s also true that many of us struggle to hold deep, meaningful connections to others and often can only scratch the surface. That is partially our fault though.

We worry about others’ reception of us and their thoughts if our dress, likes, or reactions deviate from expectations. We withhold our feelings to avoid conflicts, dodge deeper topics, and rarely share how we truly feel or what we are contemplating with others. Instead, we keep things light and surface level, talking about our day-to-day experience, the weather, and the latest entertainment media, without daring to go deeper.

Gaining Clarity: Unlocking Authenticity for Deeper Connections

For us to experience deeper connections, we have to be willing to be authentic and open, but we have spent so much of our lives withholding parts of ourselves for fear of judgment that the idea of being open and authentic is almost foreign to us.

Once upon a time, I thought that I was an open book and still struggled to feel connected to others- only in hindsight can I now recognize that it was merely a sliver of myself that I was willing to share and had kept myself from connecting deeper with others- no matter how much I craved it and tried to convince myself that I was willing.

I wanted deeper conversations, but I never shared how I felt, what I thought, or what I needed.
Things were kept right at the surface, and stories were told as if they were facts, instead of revealing how they shaped and impacted the individual. I hid the pain and frustrations, pretending I was okay. I feared not being enough or that my uniqueness would not find acceptance. Being different, weird, and unlike others defines me. On and on the stories I made up about myself went.

Most of us can relate to the feelings of feared rejection. The more I observe the world, the more I see just how much that fear of rejection causes us to sabotage the very thing we seek by pushing others away or keeping them at arm’s length.

The Deeper Issue:

For us to be able to fill the void that loneliness causes and form those deeper connections, we have to address the root cause of that fear of rejection. For most, the root cause often lies in an inner false belief of unworthiness, cultivated over years through misunderstandings, false judgments, and the internalization of preferences that others have imposed on us.

We all hold wounds and pain in our past from attempting to discover who we were while navigating unspoken social constructs that urged us to be less ourselves and more like someone else or some mythical standard. Whether chasing the illusion of perfection, seeking acceptance, or pursuing something else, we have all, to some degree, let these desires influence how we present ourselves to others and interact with them.

Different Perspectives:

I’ll talk more about what happens when we try to ‘fit in’ in next week’s segment, but this week, my focus is on inviting you to begin exploring that fear of rejection and how it has shaped your interactions, as well as your ideas of yourself.

As we embrace authenticity in our interactions and choices, our openness to explore connections grows. Curiosity guides us, not the worry of alignment. This increases our chances of finding those who accept our true selves. Deep connections can then form. It also reveals who values only their perception of us, not who we truly are.

I like to refer to this task as tending to our garden, where we weed out the plants that will take over and use up our resources while keeping the ones that complement our growth. As we do, we begin to create more harmony in our environment and can finally begin to thrive.

New Opportunities Presented:

The way ahead:

  1. Set aside time to begin exploring your boundaries around your personal needs and values (if you need help with that, check the boundaries topic in my blog for a deep dive and walkthrough to support you).
  2. Reflect on each of your connections with others, noting how deep it runs and how you can begin opening yourself up more to them, showing up as authentically as you can.
  3. Notice how your fears of rejection and getting hurt have previously prevented you from forming deeper bonds with others.

Going forward:

Build awareness around who enters your inner circle. Set boundaries to support authenticity. This leads to deeper connections. You’ll feel less lonely and isolated.

It’s time to begin calling in a tribe of people who will support and accept you, rather than judge you. That is just one of the many benefits of doing the deep soulful work with me in my 6 month coaching program. Schedule a call with me to learn more.

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